Two seconds. I dare you.
That’s how long it will take before a smile spreads across your face so big, you feel like you’re kissing your high school sweetheart at junior prom all over again. It’s how long until you realize Albion is not dead.
They play in a restored theater. It was paid for with grant money and heralded as the comeback of the city. But everyone knew it wasn’t. It was a shell, and the fear in the back of everyone’s mind was that unless they filled it, it would remain just that.
But tonight as that smile spreads on your face, you know that Albion is not dead because Albion still has soul. The house knows it. They’re an unusual bunch. You see two of your college friends across the aisle, and also the the photographer who’s at all of the city council meetings and wears the same sweaters as your grandma. There’s a man with curled hair and a mustache that keeps walking in and out of the show from the bar across the street- you know this because you just saw him there before you arrived. They all tap their toes as they eat home-cooked BBQ. It’s electric.
The birdman on the harmonica knows it. He flaps his arms as he bashfully digs into his instrument. The man on bass knows it. He’s humble about it though, and only takes one solo. The guitarist and the drummer both know it, and are content letting their instruments do the comping for them. The beer-loving Methodist pastor on the keys knows it, it’s religion after all. But the man who knows it the most is the guitarist you’ve nicknamed Old Blue. He wears a company polo and stands slightly off center. He’s good and he knows it, but doesn’t need anyone to tell him.
To me, he is Albion, those huddled masses that have never been and never will be tired or poor, because the flame is alive in him. You know this, because as the set finishes and the crowd cheers he just smiles to himself and laughs. His friend in the audience stands and shouts and the man in blue just shakes his head, laughs, and says, “You see what you made me do?”
Albion is going to be just fine.