Towards the end of my life I relinquished my fear of what people would think of me and began doing pretty much as I liked. As a wheel comes full circle, I became as curious and willful as a two-year-old.
Of course it didn't happen overnight. Rather, as is the way with such things, it was a slow progression. Yet I can pinpoint the moment when it started, for like so many of life's doorways it hinged on a chance encounter.
It was a Monday morning and I was one of that brigade known as 'city gents' marching to work along the subway at Bank Underground Station when my attention was arrested by the sound of a violin, or indeed I should say fiddle as the tune was obviously a traditional Irish air. Far removed from my usual taste it nevertheless struck a chord presumably in my brain though it seemed to me, at the time, to resound somewhere in my belly.
I had but seconds to observe the source of my fascination before being swept along by my fellow commuters. This momentary sighting revealed a shabbily dressed man of roughly my own age with thick, graying hair and at least two days' growth upon his chin. An insignificant figure, why then did I crane my neck for a second look?
It was his expression. His upturned face had upon it a rapturous smile such as one rarely encounters in this part of town or indeed anywhere, for that matter, on a Monday morning. He took as much notice of the passers-by as they did of him. To all intents and purposes he was beneath the city streets begging a living, but he had about him an aura of such happiness, you would think he was high on a mountaintop playing in celebration of life itself.
So began my captivation.