Brennan LaBrie

Brennan LaBrie is a senior Global Studies Major with an emphasis in International Affairs, along with minors in French, Environmental Studies, and Communication. He is the News Editor at The Mast and Video Lead for PLU MediaLab. When not writing, he can be found running or playing his violin.

The Serenade

The howling wind broke the stillness of the night. My brother Bodie and I had stepped into the breezeway of the Northwest Maritime Center to escape the gale as we waited for a ride home. The sun had dropped behind the mountains only an hour before, and I realized that, for the first time in months, I felt cold. Summer had lasted well into September, but it was unquestionably over now.

The wind died down for a moment, and in that pause a few guitar chords rang through the breezeway. The sound drew Bodie and me out onto the street, and we looked around for the source.

It took us a moment to spot him. A man, dressed in all black, strolled down the empty sidewalk into town, playing a strapless guitar with vigor, and singing even louder. His powerful voice echoed off the weathered brick and wooden buildings, the music rising and falling with each gust of wind. It seemed as if he hoped to compensate for the quietness of the seaside town by filling the streets with his song.

The lights of the spice shop flickered off as he passed it. Across the street from him, a woman dragged metal tables from the sidewalk back into the ice cream shop. A block further down Water Street, a man left his shift at the Cornish pasty shop, lit a cigarette, and, with a quick glance, crossed the empty street. His path crossed the bard’s in the circle of a streetlamp, and the men gave each other a nod before going their separate ways.

The passing serenade caught the attention of the occasional couple leaving the thin wooden doors of the town’s few pubs. Bodie told me that the bard seemed to be drawing people out of the pubs and back to their cars, like a pied piper reminding the quiet little seaport town that, at 8:30 p.m., it was time to turn in.

The bard came to the only stoplight in all downtown, and, seeing no cars in either direction, cut across the intersection, continuing his path and his song. He looked into each window display he passed–the Turkish rug gallery, the olive oil tasting room–and when he passed the glow from Waterfront Pizza, the town’s most popular pizza joint, he was motioned in.

The music stilled, and he held the guitar close to his side as he stepped from the chilly night into the warmth of a room heated by a giant pizza oven.

Perhaps the bard continued his serenade after some respite and a slice of pizza. But Bodie and I couldn’t stay to find out; we had a ride waiting for us across town. The streets felt extra empty on our walk back to the Maritime Center. We were left with only the sound of the wind and pieces of conversations from others also headed home for the night.