The Rain Always Brings Something New

Streets glazed with the remnants of a storm surrounded the park hosting cafes, tourists, beggars and everything in between.

I timidly stepped toward a rugged man beneath a tree. I caught a glimpse of his quaint performance before an unexpected rain forced him to take an intermission, and I was eager for a front row seat to his next song.

The Closed Instrument Case

When I shuffled closer, I realized his things were packed and it seemed his show had ended for the day.

I promptly explained to the man that I had come to listen to him play. His piercing blue eyes lit up immediately and without question, he threw open the latches to his instrument’s case.

Out came a banjo that beamed with as much pride for its musician, as its musician did for his instrument.

Stephen introduced himself, gave me a business card and taught me about his banjo through broken English. He radiated with a pride similar to that of a father with his son. He was as excited to talk to me as I was to hear him play.

When his short lesson was over, beneath an umbrella of leaves and dainty pink flowers, Stephen’s hands crafted a melody so sweet, time seemed to stand still, if only for a minute.

As he played, the bustling square grew strangely dim to me, as if Stephen’s corner in the park had transformed into the grandest stage in the world, and I was the only audience member.

He didn’t sing, and I didn’t say a word. We both marveled the product of his God-given talent.

The song Stephen played was seemingly routine for him, but it met my ears like Christmas-day magic. I felt my eyes fill with tears like a rainstorm on a sunny day; I never wanted to forget this moment.

Strings bent beneath his fingers in perfect harmony and his smile grew larger and larger as his notes evaporated into the air.

Travel Introduces New Friends

There are some people you meet and immediately feel as if you have known them your entire life. Stephen, with his well-worn leather hat and coarse silver beard, was one of those people.

He shared his passion so openly with me, a visitor to his city who couldn’t speak but two words of his native language, and for that I am so grateful.

My interaction with Stephen was brief, maybe only five minutes. He and his banjo made the world seem a little smaller and made Hungary feel a bit closer to home.