I saw it, the door, to the club. I can see the light above the door, "Jazz Paradise" that's what the neon lamps said. I stepped in, and a guy wearing a suit with a bow tie greeted me. "Mrs. McKinsey.", he said.
"Huh, how does he know my name?", that's what I thought. But I replied him elegantly, "Yes?" "There is a table reserved for you already, Ma'am.", and then he pointed to the table.
"Ohh, ok, thank you," I walked to the table, didn't realize that there was a man sitting in that reserved table. "Good evening, Julie." he greeted me with a charming smile. He wears a fitted dark brown suit, and a red tie. His hair was combed perfectly.
But I still haven't seen him before, looks like he has the same age as me though, 26 years old or around it. I replied him carefully, "Ohh good evening, hello, umm, sorry, I'm not trying to be rude, but, have we met before?"
"Hmm, lately? No, but we've met a lot when we were so much younger than now." he answered, I saw his eyebrows rise like I supposed to know him. I paused, trying to remember, but then I said, "Umm, sorry, but when exactly?"
"Hmm, do you remember when our moms introduce us in the elementary school?" he asked me that question. My brain, trying to remember it again, "Uhh, sorry but I can't remember that long."
"Okay, how about when I cheated on the exam with you in the junior high school?", he threw another question at me. I tried to remember really hard, and then I said," Haha, a lot of people were cheating with me on the exam during school days, so I can't remember it, any other clues?"
"How about when we joined the marching band in the high school?", he asked me with a hope in his eyes that I will recall him right now. But, I still don't, I tried to reply with, "I did met a lot of people back then, I remember that I only hung out with some of the members though, sorry, but I still can't, how about.."
I haven't finished my sentence and he asked me this question ,"Well, how about when I played jazz music on your piano everytime I visited your house during our college years?" "Holy sh*t, Eddie!!!" I shouted really loud, and other guests in the club started looking at me.
Ed chuckled, open his hands to both sides, and giving that "finally" look. "Dude, it has been like a century since I met you!!", I told him that. "Yes, yes, me too.", he answered.
"How long has it been since our last meeting?" I asked him. "Hmm, I'm not quite sure, what do you remember the last time about me?", he was thinking about it and asked me back.
I was thinking, searching for my past, starting to look for his face. And then I remembered, our first meeting. "Julie, shake his hands.", my mom told me to greet the boy in front of me.
"Edison, nice to meet you.", the boy reached me to shake my hands. "Umm, Julie." I was so shy back then, so I didn't talk much.
Mrs. Wright, Edison's mom, told my mom, "Ohh, look, I can see that they're gonna get along well in the school." My mom smiled and letting me being carried to the class by Ed.
I didn't remember much about that moment, but I still remember him in front of me riding the seesaw together, him folding those origami papers and gave it to me, and him playing "the floor is lava" with the other boys.
My memories came to the junior high school times, me and him, playing video games in his house, sometimes with other friends, and sometimes only the two of us. "Ahh, how can you be so good at this!!", he shouted while still keeping his focus on the screen.
"Practice makes perfect, Ed, practice, haha.", I answered while laughed at my victory. "Hey hey Julie, how about the exam tomorrow? You told your mom that you came to my house to study together, right?", Ed started worrying about that.
"Haha, is that your excuse to stop losing to me in this game? Hahaha, nonoo, just kidding, bruhh, we can study after this, or, if we don't have time, maybe we can think of another solution." I answered him confidently.
Another flashback was coming through my head. Ed was standing beside me, holding his xylophone, wearing his marching band costume. While me, holding a trumpet and wearing the similar costume.
"Are you nervous, Julie?", he asked me suddenly. "Umm, no, no...nope, no, I'm not nervous, nope, no Ed...I'm not, nope...", I tried hard to hide my nervousness and I definitely know that I have failed miserably.
"Haha, it's okay to be nervous, Julie, don't try to hide it, it means you have a goal, the expectation that you will make those people shocked in awe, try to change that nervousness into confidence,
like, you know, when you're really confident about tomorrow's exam even though we've been playing video games all day long.", he put his typical laughs in the end of the sentence.
"Okay, okay, bad example, especially because we cheated on the exam, but I kinda get it when you talk about that 'having a goal' thing, haha.", I smiled, even though I still haven't had the full confidence, his speech makes me better.
"Yeah, yeah, I mean...", he looked at the guy that carried a big bass drum in front of him and snatched him, and showing his face to me while saying," I mean, look at my friend here, he doesn't even know how to carry this bass drum before, but now he's like the maestro of all beats."
"Dude, I only have to hit this only drum at the right moment, pretty sure everyone can do it, haha." he said to Eddie while tapping on Eddie's shoulder, and then continued by five seconds of long silence, looking each other, the three of us.
Then, Eddie spoke,"Oh right, you still don't know each other, let me introduce my good friend here, Hunter, he usually practice with me in the same group, that group of...you know, hitting the instrument, stuff."
"Percussion, bro, haha, oh yeah, nice to meet you, you can call me Hunter.", after he answered Ed, he shook my hand and gave me a polite smile. "Hi, I'm Julie, nice to meet you too." I answered him back politely with my smile.
"Come on, everyone, let's gather in the formation!!", a shout from far away was heard by us, and we started separating and go into the formation.
Another memory splashed into my mind, when I saw him, back in the day, playing the piano, the intro of 'Easy Living' by Billie Holiday. I took my clarinet and start playing it.
I tried to follow his lead, but I can't keep up, instead, I said ,"How can you be so good at this, man?" "Practice makes perfect, Julie, practice." he said to me.
I threw a light punch to his arm, realizing that I've told the same thing to him before. We've been in the jazz club since the beginning of college, who knows that playing in a marching band could lead us to this.
After playing several simpler jazz songs and jamming a little bit, we decided to have a lunch on the diner near my house. It was called Dipper's Diner, we always went there every time Ed came to visit my house. We sit on the table and ordered our meal.
"So, umm, any good news lately, Julie?", he asked me. "Not so much, I've been busy studying lately." I answered while looking back through the college years. "Ohh, I see, well, I actually want to talk to you about some..." I cut his sentence, once I remembered about something.
"Ooo, ooo, I remember something, do you remember Hunter?" I asked. "Ohh, umm, yeah, what about him?" he asked me back. "He just asked me out on a date!! I didn't see it coming, haha.", I felt really happy that day.
"Ohh, I see, hahaha.", he answered me with a light smile. Before I continued, the meal came, we ate, and sometimes I told Ed about Hunter in the middle of having the lunch. Ed nods and smiles while listening to me.
At the end of lunch, Ed told me that he forgot that he had to finish the report that the due date is tomorrow. I said goodbye to him, waving at him when he was leaving. He waves back at me, smiling, and went back home.
I can't think of another memory after that, it has been like 3 or 4 years since that meeting. And then, I looked at the same place again, the Dipper's Diner. I went in and see Ed waiting for me at the table.
"Hey Ed!! Long time no see, have you received my invitation?" I asked Ed while I sat in front of him. "Oh yeah, congrats on you and Hunter.", he told me softly with a light smile. "Listen, I actually want to ask a favor." I put a more serious look.
"Umm, what favor?" he asked me back. "I have never met a jazz piano player as good as you are, how about you playing in my wedding? You can be more famous, haha?" I asked with joyful eyes.
He thought about, eyes looking up, thinking, after about 10 seconds of silence, he answered,"Sure, anything for you, Julie."
Then, a flashback about my wedding, seeing Ed playing the piano while I'm dancing with Hunter.
And then back to the club. "I think that's the last time I met you." I answered him. But before he reply, suddenly another flash in my mind.
'25 Year-Old Man Commited Suicide by Taking Pills.' the headline of the newspaper that I read that time.
"Oh my God, Ed! I remembered that you...I saw it on the papers! But you survived!", I am shocked and start thinking about that news.
But he replied me,"I didn't."
"Wait, what? Don't mess with me Ed, then how can we sit in this club talking to each other?" I believed that the just messed around with me.
He leans forward, holding both of his hands together, and said calmly, "We do talking to each other in this club, but that's because we're both already dead."
Then, I didn't hear anything anymore in the club, only silence.