I don't expect Chopin on a Saturday evening. The pianist is at an old upright in the corner, its insides exposed. People sit at tables, arguing, ordering beer, flirting. He's playing one of the études while glasses clink and chairs scrape. He's smiling, curled over the keyboard and watching music roll from his fingers.
Between songs, he leans to the left for a kiss from the woman sitting at the nearest table. She reaches out a hand to play her fingers over his shoulder, whispering into his ear.
He slides easily into Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, lounge-worthy and loose, tinkling through the café.
In the BART station a bluegrass band is playing. A mob of a band, boys and girls in dreadlocks and bad beards, overalls and ragged layers of clothing. Three guitars, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and three skinny guys hanging at the sides, shuffle-dancing and singing. I don't know the songs but they light me up anyway; I let my train go to listen a little longer.
They rearrange for the next song: "fiddle in the middle," says the monstrous boy with the mandolin.
A woman is walking her bicycle through the station. She's crying, walking her bicycle. I watch her hop on and ride into the night, crying.
The café pianist plays Pennies From Heaven, and I look out at the sky, feeling riches tumble all around my shoulders.