My ruminations on LSD and being one with the universe were a better prelude to going back to Ziggy’s apartment than I realized. He had something in mind that I hadn’t thought of.
“Sit,” he said, plopping two pillows on the floor in front of the TV, one for each of us. He had changed into leggings and a loose shirt and he sat knees akimbo, tucking one foot under himself more than the other.
The TV wasn’t relevant to what we were doing. The stereo equipment on the shelf under it was, though. Ziggy put a light pair of Walkman headphones on my ears and then another set on his own head. I recalled using one of those pairs as a microphone once upon a time, for recording a demo. He slipped a cassette into the player and pressed play.
“What are we going to–” I stopped speaking as a low note played on a flute seemed to flow from one of my ears right through my skull to the other.
The playing then went up and down, noodling around, but never quite resolving into what I would call a melody. There was no other instrumentation, just this solo flute, recorded impeccably, so that you could hear every tiny nuance in the intonation and playing. When the flute player took a deep breath, I couldn’t help but do the same. It was instinctive. I let the air out slowly and it felt as if the notes were passing through my lungs like a wind out of primeval times.
Ziggy began to hum, his knees almost touching mine but not quite. The note he chose was the tonic, the note that the flute teased and approached but never quite came to rest on. On the next breath I found myself humming it with him.
Some uncountable number of “om”s later, a percussion track slowly came into the mix, like a troupe of drummers gradually approaching the temple, making their way bit by bit, their advance tempered by their trancelike swaying.
Maybe that was me swaying. I don’t know if I’ve ever entered a trance that easily. Since I didn’t know it was going to happen, I guess my brain didn’t try to resist.
The flute continued. Ziggy picked a different note, a higher one, while I stayed on the root. Then at some point the flute faded out and some kind of Middle Eastern bowed string instrument came in, working its way up and down in a similar fashion.
My own hum felt like it was coming from the center of my skull instead of my throat. My eyes were open but I wasn’t really seeing Ziggy in front of me or the room around us. His eyes were closed but his mouth was open, his “om” having changed to an “ah.”
The percussion built up and built up in layers until it reached a peak and then began to recede. The flute had returned at some point without me being conscious of it until I realized it, too, was fading. Our voices had stopped without me realizing that, either.
It all faded to silence. Ziggy opened his eyes and let out a breath. Without taking his eyes off me, he reached to the side to stop the tape.
I put a hand on my chest.
He put his hand on top of mine, feeling me breathe. “How do you feel?”
“Like I’m breathing easily for the first time in months.”
He just nodded.
“How long was that?”
He popped the tape out and looked at it. “About twenty minutes.”
“Felt like an hour…” I could see it was a homemade tape with a handwritten label. “Is that… where did it come from?”
“Someone made it for me,” he said as he put it back in and hit fast-forward. “I mean, well, Jordan made it for me.”
The loss still felt so fresh. Jordan had been gone for three months already but the pain felt new. The thought that we couldn’t just head over to Limelight at midnight and expect to find him there, or call him up to hang out at the loft over the weekend… hurt.
But I couldn’t deny I felt less stressed out. “So was that… meditation?”
“Did you hit a kind of zoned out trance state where time seemed to compress or expand?”
“How did you know that would work?”
Ziggy unbent his legs and rubbed his knees. “I didn’t know if it would, but I figured it was worth a try.” He leaned forward and kissed me.
“And now bed?”
“If you want,” he said, slipping a hand around mine. “Sleep? Or just bed.”
“Bed,” I said, pulling him toward me and slipping a hand under his loose shirt. His back was smooth and taut. I straightened my own legs as I pulled him on top of me. The taste of his tongue was sharp, organic, real.
Despite what I’d said, no bed was necessary.
(Maybe I shoulda used the name of the band instead of the song here? -d)