Soothing Sounds of the Subway

Its quarter past ten in the night on Thursday, I’m on the leaving Eaton Centre heading back to my aunt’s condo in Scarborough. My hands are filled; American Eagles Outfitters, Aeropostale, Sephora, Forever 21, Starbucks, La Senza, bags are everywhere. Sure these aren’t necessities but they are items that I planned to buy on my trip here and the majority are not made in sweatshops in the East. I felt the weight of the bags in my hands and mused on the fact that belongings don’t make us happy. Sure upon receiving them we tend to me overcome with euphoria but it’s not happiness; it’s short-lived.  Since I’m now following the path that I always encouraged others to walk I am a lot more at peace with myself and decisions. Sure my new belongings and gifts to my family were wonderful but they were not responsible for the smile on my face. The peace and reassurance of my life did. Into the subway I went after compressing the numerous bags, lightening my load and managing not to get lost.

Clearly rush hour extended way past 8pm here, the subway was crowded. From somewhere yonder came a comforting sound, not the usual subway station intercom music but smooth strumming that brought a pleasant smile to my face. As I walked closer to my stop it got louder, I got happier. As I turned the corner I saw him. He was average height white guy, possibly around my dad’s age or a bit older with long wavy hair that placed him way back in time. He strummed with a content look on his face while his guitar case lay open at his feet collecting change. I slowed my subway sprint to a stroll to take in the tune. I told him good night and great music, I walked on then down the escalator.

Brian Moore  Guitarist of the subway
Brian Moore
Guitarist of the subway

In those moments I laughed at the irony of my possession and what brought a fire of happiness into me.  It was the strumming that captivated me. Meanwhile the next train to leave the station for my stop was filling up quickly and people swarmed around me. Coming on the bone chilling breeze through the unheated station was that sweet, sweet strumming. Did I get onto the train and join the sea of private lives and blank expressions? No. I skipped that train and stayed there mesmerised by the wonders of a single man, his instrument and the overwhelming joy that I received. Surely this would be worth it. Another train came, I did not get onto it either, partially because I didn’t want to and also because I could not. Have you ever tried walking away from a breathing sunset or turning away from the sparkle in a child’s eye? There are some things that can’t be done and we should give into these.

I wanted to leave some money for him but I had no change and, with that melodious sound drifting down the staircase, neither was I in a hurry. I paid for water in the Afghan subway store and gave him the change in the guitar case. He had just about finished a song and stopped playing. When he saw the money he questioned it, then was thankful and gave me a CD with his songs. I’m really glad that he did that because otherwise I would have no clue about his name or where to find his music. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him the name of the first song that I heard, hopefully I will find it.

Money has its purpose which it readily fulfils but sometimes we base so much of our lives on gaining it and the ways that it facilitates us that we forget to separate ourselves from it. Sure we don’t wear money, we are separate in that sense, yet we identify ourselves in alignment to our monetary successes. If only it was possible that we would let loose of that final tie, the beauty of this would become that much clearer in our eyes.  I didn’t go shopping to make myself happy but there are numerous ads around us depicting girls leaving malls grinning and laughing, evidently happy with numerous large brand name shopping bags. We, mainly girls, are taught that shopping heals. I’m sharing this because after a long day and a few hundred dollars later it was a free experience that fuelled a wonderful feeling of happiness.

(Okay so technically it is not free since I paid $40 Canadian for a week pass. Nonetheless it comes really close to free because if we divide forty by seven then by eight you would get how much that single trip cost. So I paid $0.78 and two days later I’m still smiling.)

The guy’s name is Brian Moore and he has a CD as well as a profile on He isn’t signed and he claims to be a regular in the Toronto Subway Station. I definitely look forward to seeing him in such a wonderful capacity again. Thank God for the gifts of talent and willingness of such talented individuals to share. You should check out his work here, I like the tracks ‘Thank You’ and ‘Circle of Light.’ I still can’t find the one that I love as yet though.
Rushell Rousseau
Living the Great Perhaps


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