A few nights ago I was at a restaurant with a friend. The counter tops were white, the floor made of a smooth wood. My friend waited for me at a table while I leaned on the counter, trying to get some menus.
That’s when Tom Hanks approached me with one of his trademark smiles breaking across his face.
“Kristin! How are you?” he greeted, embracing me in an American hug.
“Great. How are you doing Tom?” I responded, hugging him back.
“Fine, fine,” he nodded.
“Oh my God!” My friend remarked in the background. “Hi Mr. Hanks. I just loved you in Captain Phillips,” she gushed. “And I’m so excited to see your new film!”
“I’m sure he’s never heard that before,” I chided, giving my friend a casual smile.
Tom shrugged off her compliment and then squared up to me with his shoulders as if about to deliver a mini, fatherly lecture.
“I really miss your playing, Kristin. You were so good! You’ve got to get out that saxophone and start playing again,” he stated emphatically.
“Ah. Well. Yeah,” I fumbled. Up until this point, I had been solid, no star-struck jitters bungling my speech or coloring my cheeks; no need to point out to Tom that we actually don’t know one another as far as I knew. My mind wasn’t bothering to analyze the illogical nature of our interaction. I mean, I didn’t want to insult the guy. And honestly, where had he heard me play? It’s been over a decade since I played with any regularity out in public with bands like Antara & Delilah, Ska’s The Limit, Jah-B-One, The River Project, The Hi-Hats. Just like my playing, besides Jah-B-One, none of these former bands still exist.
When I woke up from the dream, I had to laugh. Tom Hanks a fan of my playing from over a decade ago? I know how he got into my head–the poster of Inferno that has been at tram stops and all over the city announcing his latest Da Vinci Code-related film.
But Tom’s dream-message had some staying power.
“You’re not going to play that now, are you?” my husband asked as I opened up the dust-covered case of my alto sax one morning.
“Yeah. I am. But don’t worry. It probably won’t be for more than a few minutes, considering I have zero embouchure.” Not to mention old reeds and other problems associated with being out of practice. I started playing and surprisingly, the saxophone made some rather pleasant sounds. It also made a few squeaks.
My son came into the room and climbed onto the couch behind me, watching intently.
“Can you play Star Wars?” he asked. I started thinking of the theme song, and before long, I was playing a rather shoddy, but nonetheless passable version of it.
“What else can you play?” he asked excitedly. By the time my four minutes of playing were over, my son had already decided that I should order music of all the songs he likes, so I can play them properly for him. He also wanted to try to play the sax himself.
It’s been three days since the dream and those four minutes of playing, but the sax is still in the living room, rather than the upstairs closet. And it’s calling me back.
Thanks Tom Hanks!