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Haunted Corners

Legends Corner

USA | Monday, 25 May 2015 | Views [1186] | Comments [1] | Scholarship Entry

We had one meal that day. After 15 hours for this overnight mission, we sat by the river and split a pizza between the two of us, staring at strangers getting drunk or high from a cough syrup shaped bottle. I could hear the music pouring from the doorways on Broadway — thick and sweet and potent. We picked up the pace and headed for a door.
We thought it was Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. A legendary spot in Nashville, we wanted to experience something or anything there — excitement, inspiration, bigger shots. The stories of the greats coming off the Grand Ole Opry oak floor and crawling into Tootsie’s for an encore performance and encore drinks captivated us. (And when we did visit, I swore the smell of beer and rebellion would haunt those walls and me forever.) But Tootsie's isn’t the stage for this story. We had mistakenly walked into Legends Corner. By most standards, it’s a trap complete with the begging neon signage. On that night, the only empty bar stool felt more like home.
I watched as couples claimed the floor as their own stage. If the high-class were swaying with the blue-collar, no one knew. The band played with stadium talent and delivered with the intimacy of backyard barbecue session. Like the southern version of Springsteen pulled up a chair and asked what song y’all wanted to hear while passing the corn. For a song or a night, there was a sense of belonging to this raw world.
We had dusted off the grit of the city while discovering honky-tonk glamor. It was real here — talent, stories, people, hustle. It was an office where those labeled “emotional” were rewarded, where tears were strength and rejection just as common as the whiskey. Here you could count on the crowd’s review in crumpled bills at the bottom of the tip bucket.
Time passed, drinks came and went down and I drifted in and out of lyrics and thoughts when the music abruptly stopped. Every head turned as the rocker cowboy announced he “don’t want to sing that no more”. I caught myself thinking: I’ve never been this happy. Like a wave of emotion that comes when you’re blindsided by a surprise party and every loved one is welcoming you home, it was wild and overwhelming. It was the first time I’d known this happiness or perhaps the first time I recognized it as a real thing.
Blame it on the beer or lack of food, but there’s nothing quite like a night that creeps up on you. Even if that it comes in a neon-signed tourist trap, I’d wander through that door again.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship




  m.ful Jun 26, 2015 12:22 AM

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