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Last Song for Valentine Part 2-4: New York is Full of Lonely People

Jakob Baekgaard By

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Cooper-Moore had seen that homeless guy and he had heard him. More importantly, he had given language to loneliness and recognized the music in the homeless man's voice. The soulful cry for understanding. "I hear you." Three simple words involving a sender, a message and a receiver. By recognizing loneliness, its spell had been broken. Crazy babble became communication.

Cooper-Moore had done it, but it was hard. It was easy to ignore each other and so hard to reach out. Because every time you reached out, you ran the risk of getting hurt. But some people had no choice. They were naked in their sorrow and pain and could not pretend to be happy or carefree. They moved through the world with despair so intimidating it had to be ignored. Those who needed love the most were the ones least likely to get it. The so-called insane, ugly, poor and imperfect.

As the old man's figure gradually became a shadow, Cory thought of the cries of the many lonely souls in the city. You could be lonely in many ways. The loneliness of not being understood. The loneliness of being left out and left behind. Existential loneliness. The loneliness of losing another person. The loneliness of losing yourself. He remembered his bewilderment when Valentine told him she was lonely. He had always considered himself the clumsy one in social situations while Valentine seemed to brighten up in a big crowd. At parties, she beamed and moved easily from conversation to conversation while he would hide in a corner and think of something to say.

She had said it to him one night. "Cory, do you know how lonely I feel?" He was dumbstruck. "But you are always with people and you smile all the time." "You know, Cory, you can be lonely in a crowd and you can hide your tears behind a smile." As she said this, she smiled in a way that broke his heart, but he could not think of anything to say. There was just silence, and eventually Valentine changed the topic. When he thought of it, it was around this time when she started drifting away. She wouldn't answer his calls, she was always busy, and so their friendship withered.

On his part, he couldn't let go. He kept sending her his music and told her about his projects, but it was like shouting into an empty universe. There was no response and yet he kept sending his little messages, hoping they would arrive somehow.

He closed his eyes and heard Lester blow again among restless percussion and windchimes. The walking bass strolling across the city and then the theme. Lester's theme, a lucid melody emerging between silence, swing and chaos. Saying I feel something. I'm here. Listen to me.

Note: Cooper Moore's story is told in William Parker's book of interviews, Conversations, RogueArt, 2011. The quotes are taken from the interview in the book.

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