People often camped out in the tunnel between the two stations, often panhandler but occasionally musicians. Sandy’s ears had been trained by years of darkness and frequent trips to Carnegie to pick up on the players’ skill level in a heartbeat. The tunnel’s acoustics required careful placing and phrasing to make the music fill the space and not get drowned out by crowd noises or its own echo. Even the tap of Sandy’s cane could affect the entire venue.

Most of the time, sadly, the music wasn’t terribly good. The panhandler players tended to set up near the middle of the tunnel, where there was a lot of foot traffic but an overhead alcove ruined the acoustics. Many played out of tune instruments, which was understandable given their circumstances; what was less forgivable was the lack of skill too many of the players demonstrated. It was clear the Sandy that they’d come into the instruments without an idea of how to play them, and while aimless saxophone noodling was enough to part a few islanders from their quarters he held to a higher standard. Only the players that knew what they were doing had a go at his wallet.

Today, though…the violinist was divine. They were located in the acoustic sweet spot, allowing rich, resonant music to flow over the passersby (who, from the sound of it, ignored this rare privilege). The player had been essaying Bach at first, but then broke into a much more contemporary, lilting melody as Sandy approached. It wasn’t a classical piece, or even a contemporary piece…no, it was an original. An original he’d heard once before.

“Jessie…is that you?” he cried.