A ring of chairs: plastic, metal, Adirondack. Faces peeking out through the darkness. An old face. A young face. A face you see often. A face you haven’t seen for years. You’ll strum the rusty strings of a borrowed guitar.
Each song will awaken a memory. A stubbed toe. A backyard football game. A friend’s treehouse. A bookstore. A car crash.
You’ll pull a fresh beer from the cooler and continue leading the choir. Beatles. Van Morrison. An Irish folk song from centuries ago. Afro-Man. Tupac. Wait, what? It doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the drunken symphony.
Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.” Of course! But the spontaneous round singing that will erupt toward the end of the oft-sung song? An unexpected harmonic delight.
Some will belt the chorus, some will call out, “Hey, little sister, don’t shed no tears,” while others will reassure the group with, “Everything is gonna be all right.” It will all blend together seamlessly. A perfectly knitted moment.
Midnight will roll lazily by. The campfire embers will hiss with fatigue. You’ll hand the guitar back to its owner.
“Back in a sec,” you’ll say to the choir.
But then you’ll secretly make your way up to the house, hand-in-hand with a familiar face.