Long Cold Winter: Chapter Nineteen

“Egypt tells me you are getting your Master’s in English and Music.” Matt looked over at Amanda.

Of course, Egypt had told him no such thing, but he’d surmised by the keyboard case and stand that she’s carried in and the armload of classics she had went to get after they’d met. Still, he had become very good at bluffing in order to learn about others. Egypt flashed him the why the hell’d you say that for? look but did not give her friend any sign that he’d lied. Instead, she went on eating as if nothing had been said out of place.

Amanda was taken by surprise and looked over at her friend, then back at Matt. “Why, yes.”

He smiled. His ruse had worked. “Teacher? Or planning on some heavy writing and recording?”

She smiled pleasantly. “I plan on a little of both.”

He pushed a little more. “Do you teach now? And if so, what classes?”

She giggled. “I teach Classic Lit as well as Writing Comp and Creative Writing. I also teach private vocal and piano lessons.”

He nodded, genuinely interested. “Do you teach your music students how to compose?”

She nodded. “Yes. It’s the only way they will understand fully the mathematics and science of the art. It is also the only way they will learn to truly appreciate it and love it.”

He felt as if he had found a kindred spirit. “What has Egypt told you about me?”

She shrugged. “Only that you are a legend in music and taught her how to play piano and how to read music. I did a little research and was able to find copies of all your early jazz. Not easy, considering the year it was put out and the fact it was independently released. It comes at quite a premium if you can find it in any form. I suppose only diehard fans would buy it for their collections.”

Suddenly, he was at a loss for words. She had actually searched for music he thought was no longer available! A rare woman indeed!

Egypt cleared her throat. “Mandy, you might want to enjoy the moo goo gai pan before it gets cold.” Matt flashed her a bewildered look. “you two can finish getting to know each other after dinner.” she looked up at him. “Got anything for dessert?”

He nodded and began to rise. “Sure. I’ll go get it.”

He left, heading for the kitchen. Both women watched him go. Egypt smiled. He liked Amanda.

She looked over at her friend. “So? What do you think?”

Amanda smiled. “I like him. Maybe well enough to date. We’ll have to see where things go. and you were right. He is an awful flirt.”

Matt could hear the young women giggling from where he stood in front of the refrigerator. He knew he had some homemade cheesecake here somewhere. He was having a hard time refraining from smiling himself. His precious daughter had brought home a friend he could relate to. Someone just as interested in music as he was.

He found the cheesecake and headed back into the dining room after stopping long enough to pick up a spatula. And a stack of saucers. As well as a fork for himself.

He winked at Amanda as he sat the cheesecake down and got ready to divide it. “Big piece or small?”

She smiled big. “I’ll take a big piece, please.”

He looked over at Egypt. “And you?”

She cocked her head sideways in mock reproach. “You know me, Dad.”

He smirked. “Two big pieces it is.” He began plating it up. the first piece, a nice sized wedge, he handed to Amanda. the second, also a nice sized wedge, he gave to Egypt. “Guests first, family second.”

They watched him plate up his own piece, then set the cheesecake in the center of the table. He sat back down with his cheesecake. The three of them began devouring their cheesecake. Matt got up after he was done and began to get ready to pick up. Egypt stopped him. “You and Amanda go and get acquainted. I will pick up.”

He shrugged, then ushered Amanda to the living room. Egypt remained in the dining room. She wanted them to get to know each other. she wanted her dad to have someone in his life. Someone to give him purpose. Amanda would do just that.

Besides. the two of them had the same love for music and the written word. Both would be able to add something to the other’s life that neither had. She knew it.

Matt sat in his favorite chair near his fireplace after he had seated Amanda in the one facing it. He was eager to learn more about this young lady. Though the age difference was greater than he’d wanted, maybe he could handle having a younger woman around. Many of his friends had married women quite a bit younger than themselves. Perhaps it was time he joined them and found out what the excitement was all about.

He broke the silence. “So tell me. Were you interested enough in my jazz to get any of it?”

She smiled. “I only bought one. Who taught you to play such smooth jazz?”

He shrugged. “I had more than one teacher. Each contributed what they knew while they were still sober enough to do so. I met a few jazz greats in the late sixties who helped me hone my skill and my love for it while I was still a studio musician. I played quite a few sessions with Miles, Nat, and a few others. I couldn’t stand Sinatra. Martin was good, so was Sammy. You’ll find my piano on a lot of their later albums, though I may no longer be listed.”

She looked him in the eye. “Oh, you are still listed. Everywhere. In every style. Every genre. You got around. How old were you when you started in the studio?”

He got that far away look in his eyes. “I was ten. Well, actually, I was five. But I wasn’t a regular. I didn’t start doing it regularly until I was ten.”

Egypt listened to them talk throughout the evening. She knew she had done a good thing by bringing Amanda here. She only hoped that something more than a friendship and mutual admiration would grow from this. Her dad needed it. They all needed it.