He carries his guitar on his shoulder with an incredible lightness, as if it weighed less than a feather. On his other shoulder rests a backpack filled with cables, pedals and other tools he needs to work his magic, tools that I will never understand, full of stories that speak a language I don't know.

As he plugs in and sets up, people in the pub chat, drink, laugh. No one takes any notice of him...yet. He's alone up there, but he doesn't seem to mind. Even if the world fell to pieces around him at this very moment, he'd still stand there, tuning in, fine-polishing the sounds, making sure everything is just perfect. I take a sip of my wine, a little bit jealous: his true love is in his arms, and I am down here, blending in, just one of the many girls in lace dresses.

He picks on the strings lightly, as if trying them out, even if by now they're more natural to him than the air he breathes.

To quote Juliette, Aleksandr Petrovsky's ex-wife in the final episodes of Sex and the City, "nothing else exists when art does."

When he starts playing, the chatter dies down. People look up from their drinks. For a moment, they forget their worries and their joys and just relax into the sound that fills up the atmosphere. For a few short minutes, he steals their night and brings just a brief whisper of something real into their wine-fueled evening. He's playing for them and at the same time, he's playing for just me.

People come up to me and compliment him, as if I had anything to do with his talent. I smile and say, "I know." There's nothing else I can say, nothing else to offer them. I'm not the one making the magic happen. I'm just a spectator, like them. Only tonight, I'm smiling a little bit brighter. My heart is racing a little bit faster.  I glance down at the engagement ring on my finger and can't help but feel glad that they came up to me, that they know I'm with him. Because tonight all I can feel is proud.

Proud of how he never gives up, even if everything lines up against him.
Proud of how he lives his passion every single day, without backing down for one second.
Proud of how every time he's on that stage, or any other stage, he shines brighter than I thought was possible.
Proud of how he proves negative people wrong by unashamedly excelling, constantly, in his art.
Proud of how humble he is, has always been and will always be.
Proud of being the one he sits down next to when he leaves the stage.
Proud of being the second most important lady in his life.

As he steps down, I resist the urge to hug him and just give his hand a quick squeeze instead, feeling the little hard spots on his fingers from chord practice. We've been to hell and back together and we still have a long way to go. But wherever life takes us, I know I'll stay right where I am: by his side. And I'll always be proud of him.


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