Have you ever made love to a drum? I have and it created the greatest sound in the world. This week I watched “Get On the Bus” alone, which offered a very intimate experience. The experience was so intimate that when I saw Jeremiah playing the drum, my heart skipped joyfully to his playing and heard the stories he was playing. Besides this moment, there were two scenes with the drum I enjoyed.
First came when Xavier without his camera asked Jeremiah how does he play the drum and seeks his wisdom to learn. When Xavier first tries to play the drum, it sounds dull, as though he hurts and is very tense. Jeremiah laughs and tells him “Don’t Beat the drum. Make love to it.” At first Xavier is taken aback by this, and laughs. But Jeremiah insists that Xavier loosens up his hands and plays slower. Xavier takes the advice and immediately sounds better and almost similar to Jeremiah. Xavier’s face turns to joy as he knows he has completed a difficult task. I too had that same jubilant moment when I first learned to play the drum. It is freeing and makes the player feel connected to something so simple but makes intricate sounds. The vibration of the drum echos through the bus, but most importantly the bodies of the player and the listeners.
The second and final time we see Xavier play the drum is after Jeremiah’s death. The drum is passed down to Xavier after George agrees Jeremiah’s final worldly possession belongs to youngest yet most open minded of them all. Rather than sulk in sadness, Xavier begins to beat the drum as the bus makes it way back to Los Angeles. He plays it as strong and as precise as Jeremiah taught him. Jeremiah speaks his final pray at the same time, adding to how connected all the men are, but particularly between Xavier and Jeremiah. It gives strength to each man as they collectively evaluate how they will stand together as one. They embrace a brotherhood despite differences in politics, sexuality, living conditions, and actions for survival. All have become united under the heart beat of Jeremiah and the love indicated by the sound of the drum.