Chapter 14: Life of the party

As the big day began, the most unexpected sound filled the mansion. Almost of all the employees, including Chelsea, stopped what they were doing and followed their ears to the main lobby. Dressed comfortably but exquisitely as always, Joshua Isaiah played a delightful song on the piano he hadn’t played in several years. He had written a more exciting version with a mix of instruments, but this was simpler. He could feel his heart fly with every note he played. Patty and Delilah arrived at the mansion moments later to join the crowd that gathered around him. The smile didn’t leave his face as he played. He always held the melody close to his heart since he played it to inspire hope within his weary soul. He finished and looked at the crowd. He laughed, “What? What’s everyone staring out?”

            Chelsea approached him, almost unable to speak. She just said, “It’s your birthday. I didn’t think you would be so cheerful. It doesn’t seem like you.”

            “I feel 100% better after being stuck in bed for so long. I have a lot of hope that today will be one of many that will change my life. It will lead me to my muse and I will love her like I loved no other.” He got up, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start getting ready for the crowds.” Before retiring upstairs to get ready, however, he left his chefs a few hors d’oeuvre recipes for this big bash. The doors would be open to the public, but he had a guest list several pages long of past musicians he had collaborated with.

            The musicians started pouring in around one in the afternoon. During this time, Isaiah got ready. He took a nice long shower, used a special combination of shampoo and conditioner Chelsea made for him. On the bed lay an elegant suit he commissioned Patty to stitch together for such a special occasion.

            Isaiah didn’t come down until the public doors opened around six. An article was placed in the paper at his request, explaining the situation. “Joshua Isaiah Prince invites everyone of the female persuasion, age 21 and over, to the celebration of his 50th birthday. Come listen to the finest local talents and get an exclusive preview of Isaiah’s newest album. Prepare to be partying until the sun comes up.” He requested that the main lobby would be cleared of all guests until he arrived. Before gracing the public with his presence, he closed the master bedroom doors, and lit a solo stick of incense. He prayed silently for all to go well. He recalled his dream from memory and had written a song about it. He looked over the lyrics in his notebook. “Perhaps one day, the public will see this beautiful piece.” He took one last whiff before extinguishing the incense stick. He placed the notebook in the bedside drawer alongside his Bible and opened the doors.

            Without a word to his name, Isaiah strode down the steps towards the grand piano. Noise echoed from every room, but he paid no attention. Just from the energy alone, he knew there were more people here than he had stood amongst in a very long time. People kept going about their business. He took a seat on the piano bench and started playing the pleasant tune from that morning. Before taking off that morning, he hooked a microphone up to the piano so he could be heard. He turned on the mic and started singing improv. He never wrote words to this song and didn’t plan to. He didn’t care. He felt his heart soar with so much joy from an unknown source. He just fed off the energy around him and played from the depths of his soul.

            Everyone suddenly stopped talking and doing what they were doing. People came in droves just to hear him play. His smile became a grin of satisfaction. It felt so right to play in front of an audience again. He thought to himself, ‘I’ve missed this so much. It was a matter of time before I longed to play like this again.’ He continued playing for several minutes and everyone just listened to him in silence. As he came to the end of one song, he grinned, “Most people haven’t heard me play piano quite like this. I’m a guitar player and that’s just the way it is. Sometimes, there are some things that only a piano can accomplish.” He started playing another song, but early on, he made an announcement. “Chelsea, could you tell the kitchen folks to start bringing in the champagne?”

            “Right away, sir,” she said from the middle of the crowd and retreated to the kitchen. Without another word, Isaiah played one of his newer songs. He kept alert for his muse within the audience as he played the tune she inspired. As he scanned the room, he sung despite the fact he couldn’t find her. Halfway through, he improvised on piano while scanning his audience. He hid his disappointment well. He turned on the charm and sung softly, “I know you hear me like a whisper in your ear.” He didn’t sing the last line, but kept playing. He ended with a flicker of higher keys. He shut his eyes and prayed silently, ‘Please don’t let me be disappointed.’ He took his hands off the keys and the applause erupted through the crowd.

            By this time, the whole crowd had champagne glasses. Chelsea handed him the last glass. He whispered to her, “Thank you.” He took a hold of the mic, “Thank you for coming out tonight. I’d like to make a toast. Here’s to love and living another half a century.”

            Unexpectedly, each member of the Cinnamon Edge came through the crowd, one at a time to speak on Isaiah’s behalf. They were discrete, not revealing too much, but all the responses were basically the same. They all toasted to knowing him and the incredible artist he has become. He felt blessed to have so many people backing him up. He spoke into the mic, “Everyone, continue your chatter. If you care to join me in the ballroom in a few minutes, I have a few acts prepared for tonight’s entertainment.”

            The Cinnamon Edge followed Isaiah to the ballroom located in the far back end of the mansion. He started setting up, “Before we start anything, I just want to thank everyone for coming out tonight.” He caught up personally with each member of the band as they went through sound check. When it was Maria’s turn, he gave her hand a kiss and told her to bring in some more musicians. He continued his conversation with each of them, while trying to keep a brave face. He hadn’t seen a trace of his muse as of yet. Thankfully, nobody asked. He just kept busy, making sure that everything worked as it should. The crowd started pouring in the ballroom, armed with hors d’oeuvres.

            For the first few songs, he recruited some of his brass instrumentalists to play hits from one of his recent albums. He used this opportunity to sample all their talents at once to see who could help him with the title track. The crowd danced to the music and he didn’t mind. This night was about him. For once in his life, he wanted to be the life of the party. Once he started, he couldn’t stop. He played through the one song for a long time. He asked for a solo from each musician onstage. In turn, Isaiah danced to the music, going where his body wanted to go. The current song segued into the title track of the same album. Unable to contain himself any longer, he gingerly hopped off stage and danced through the crowds of people. He started bringing the non-musicians onstage to dance with him.

            He brought 10 girls onstage and jumped back up. “You guys know the words?” All of them nodded eagerly. He kept dancing and clapping. “When I tell you to, I want you to start singing. Then you can start leading the audience to sing along. Let’s get this party to explode!” Isaiah kept alert for his muse’s whereabouts, but once the party started ‘exploding,’ he forgot all about his search. He was enjoying himself way too much. In a moment of arrogance, he laughed to himself, ‘If any reporters saw this, they’d know that Joshua Isaiah Prince has still got it goin’ on.”

            After going for several hours and a couple of rounds of back-up dancers later, he decided to take it down a notch. He handed the spotlight over to his back-up bands and told them to do whatever they pleased. He approached the mic one last time, “That’s it for me tonight, y’all. I’m going to hand it the torch off to the Cinnamon Edge to take requests. You’re free to leave whenever you please.” He watched the crowd dissipate. As he jumped offstage and followed the crowd out, he saw them partaking in more hors d’oeuvres. None of them touched his grand piano, so he was grateful for their courtesy. He walked amongst the crowds, who kept talking as he passed through. He exchanged a few glances, laughs and smiles.

            Spontaneously as he played onstage, he joined in a few conversations about day to day events with the non-musicians. Everyone was so kind and pleasant to him. They didn’t even treat him like a celebrity as his supporters treated him. They didn’t even care about his age. They only came for a good time and some good music. That was the way he liked it. Some of those of college age astonished him with their thoughts on politics. He urged them all to do their best to make a difference in the world. He thanked each group for their time and moved onto the next. People left throughout the night, but conversation filled the many halls of the mansion for hours to come.

            Surprisingly, the excitement started taking its toll on Isaiah. Exhaustion slowly got to him and he had to lay down somewhere. He spread himself across a couch in some random room, not caring much about anything. His supporters started to find him and ask for autographs. Not seeming to care, he just signed away napkins, photographs, albums and all kinds of things. He couldn’t wait for the party to end so he could recharge his batteries.

 

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