Reading Music

In the seat next to me a man is composing music.

He is using an elegant ink pen with a long thin neck. From its nib, lines and curves flow rapidly onto the page with a pleasing scratch, the marks joining gracefully to form notes and phrases.

I read the music in the same way I would a foreign language, methodically matching each symbol to a letter; the nuances, the beauty, lost in the effort of translation.

He sees the marks and his mind conjures the flowery trill of a flute, the grand swell of the violins, a pic pic of a piccolo. 

His eyes are closed and the pen hand dances briefly in the air, fingering the notes before returning to the paper, capturing the sound of an entire orchestra in a plump semibreve. 

I read in black and white but he writes a symphony in glorious, sonic colour.

[Written on the Northern Line]