Gary badgered me for months to join his jazz ensemble full-time. You know you wanna do it, he told me. Damn right I do, I said. But I didn’t want to relinquish my cozy, tenured position at the university. Risk it for a life in the music business? Did that make sense?
Then Paul emailed me. I hadn’t heard from him since medical school. He told me he had a private practice now and an apartment above his office in Moorestown, and he invited me over.
There were pictures of Constanza all over the walls of his place. Paul had dated her back in college, and they’d backpacked together across Latin America in the summers. She planned to open a traveling clinic in Peru to help the campesinos and wanted Paul to join her. Paul loved the idea, and he loved Constanza even more, but his father had built his medical practice over the years so that Paul could take it over one day. Paul decided he couldn’t hurt his father by refusing, so he hurt Constanza instead. She started the clinic without him and married a local doctor.
“Those were the best days of my life,” said Paul, gesturing at the photographs with his beer. “I can’t forget them.”
“You’re doing alright now,” I told him.
“Sure,” he said.
And that’s how I entered the music business.
David Bassano is a History professor at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. He is a human rights activist, an author of academic and literary works, and an avid hiker and cyclist. Trevelyan’s Wager, published by Harvard Square Editions, is his first novel. You may learn more about him and his work at: https://www.facebook.com/davidbassanoauthor/