New York City, early nineties. I was going to school, and listening to a lot of bands. I was almost a grown-up. And we were all going to be rocks stars when we grew up. Right? Or actors. Or artists. Astronauts. Soccer stars…And when you’re becoming something you aren’t yet, people watch you try, and give you all their advice. Relax. Watch the ball. Study. Your voice is flat. Practice, practice, practice. Be more like (insert name of famous person here): this person who’s already good enough…We were walking up First Ave., or Second, or Avenue A: one of those big, wide streets where the traffic is loud and people walk in close huddles, or loose formations that require projecting your voice over the constant noise. If you listened closely to people as they passed, you could catch a moment, something unexpected. And sometimes that moment was yours. We were walking, in something between a huddle and a loose formation, my friend Johana towering over me in her platform boots, her rainbow-colored hair, her black eyeliner around wide-set eyes. I was probably dressed in black, too. A couple of almost-grown-ups who didn’t care what you thought. Much. I was talking about a song. Nirvana: Something in the Way. She didn’t know it, so I sang a couple of lines, as a man in a crisp suit passed us. She waited for me to finish: my shy little breathy voice, “something in the way, mmm hmmm”. She didn’t say any of the things people say. There were no pointers, just a gentle reproach. She said, “You never sing for me.” And the businessman smiled.