Alisha Todding was holding her ears so tight she could not squeeze any tighter. Her eyes were shut until they puffed up and tears poured out. I could see her from my spot on the stage and I felt so sorry for her.
I, the great Alfredo Marquez, was doing my best to sing in this abysmal concert. All around me the voices were too flat or too sharp and everyone was cringing in the audience. I had to apologize to the young lady holding her ears so tightly and I sought her out after the show.
"My dear, I saw you holding your ears, I am so sorry you did not like the concert." During my polite delivery I noticed that she was not all there. I think that is the most polite way to say she was developmentally delayed. She looked like she didn't want to hear any noise at all even now that the concert was over. Her caregiver was with her and tried to hurry her along with the rest of the group.
"Mister", she said, "You weren't bad but the rest of 'em were." She smiled at him and he stopped the caregiver for a moment and found out where her group was from and vowed to look her up in the near future to show her some really good music. They waved good bye and in the distance he heard her say,
"I'll see you again on one condition. It is that you grow a beard." With that she was gone with her group and he was absorbed into the night and his world seemed a little more interesting now.
"Grow a beard," he thought. "Ok, that is just what I will do." It grew quickly and within two weeks he found himself at the group home where Alisha Todding lived. The caregiver recognized him when she opened the door and took him in the backyard where Alisha was sitting alone under the trees. It was dusk on a balmy summer evening.
"Hello again, my wonderful new friend, I have come to sing a special new song for you." Alisha looked up and smiled. She stood up and stroked the new beard.
"I like it. Sing and let's dance. Perhaps we will fall in love." With the jasmine scent in the air and the soft grass under their feet they began a friendship that was to last a lifetime.
Alfredo had many loves in his life but none so loyal and sensual as Alisha. No matter what waves crashed over them in life they never lost touch and they brought each other tremendous pleasure. She learned from him how to sing and he learned from her how to let it grow.