black velvet.


the place wasn't that crowded, which i liked. i sat down with my friends in the corner. we were gonna do karaoke, a nice change from doing karaoke at home. i always joke about how i'm asian, and so i would do karaoke everyday if i could. i don't think my friends like karaoke as much as i do. they didn't care about keeping score in singstar, the way my cousins did. they don't normally like to do songs they don't know. they like to do songs they know.

the bar crowd was almost all white, which i expected, since we were in west seattle. there was one asian man who sat at a table by himself. i thought that this is what my uncles would be doing, if they ever ended up in west seattle. they would go to bars by themselves, and they would sit and drink, maybe sing a song or two later into the night. that's what this man did. he sat and he drank, and later in the night, he sang a slow, sad song, a song nobody knew.

there was a woman who sang "black velvet." my friends sang along to it. "what's this song?" i asked. "'black velvet,'" my friend answered. she looked at me. "you gotta be poor to know this one." the singer really belted it out. she was a white girl, and from the way she sang it, i thought maybe my friend was right. maybe you did have to grow up poor to know "black velvet." the singer sat on a chair turned around, and then she got up and started singing it like she knew what black velvet was all about.

i put in a request for my friend to sing "bust-a-move." the d.j. said someone had already sung it, or else somebody was about to sing it. he showed me the yellow slip with a name on it. lindsey. "can he sing it with her?" i asked. "you'd have to ask her," he said. "where is she?" i asked. "i don't know," he said. i sat down. "you can't sing it," i told my friend. "someone else is gonna sing it." "what? that's bullshit!" he said. "yeah, pick another song," i said. "i don't want to pick another song," he said.

my friend and i sang "screaming infidelities." after the first verse, a woman came up to us. "can i sing along with you guys? i really love this song," she said. we said, "sure." i tried to be real sad and emo about it, but nobody seemed to be paying attention. they were just sitting at their tables, drinking and getting drunk. nothing mattered at the yen wor room. at the final verse, during the screaming part, i screamed it. i held nothing back. my cousins would've been cracking up, but nobody else seemed to mind. i wished my cousins were there then.

my friend gave me a thumbs-down when i returned to the table. i thought that maybe he was still upset about not being able to sing "bust-a-move." i went to use the bathroom, and when i returned, someone was singing a song about being a transvestite. "what's this?" i asked. "don't you know rocky horror picture show?" he asked me, irritated. "oh yeah," i said. i admitted to never having seen rocky horror picture show. i remembered reading about charlie and his friends seeing rocky horror in the book the perks of being a wallflower.

i always wanted friends like the ones charlie had in that book. i'm still waiting for a ride in the backseat of someone else's car, waiting to hear a heart-wrenching song i've never heard before.

i am still wanting to know what it is to feel "infinite."

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