One Reply to “6.14.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. He came in every day. To the shop where she worked, where she had always worked, selling musical instruments and vinyl records in plain brown paper sleeves and second hand sheet music to old and forgotten songs. He said he was interested in buying though he didn’t say what but showed her as proof of his intentions a pocket of money, all the notes folded anyhow and in no order. He came in every day and he asked her to play something and he chose a different instrument every time.

    She sat on the carpeted floor and she played him something lilting and soft, or something loud and jazz broken, or something modern and tapping. He sat near to her, cross-legged, like a mission acolyte, and he listened, as hard as listening ever can be. And he watched her fingers and the fast and the fizz of them as they moved over the strings and he let the music she played run through him.

    Then, when she had finished and the last notes of her playing had stilled and the noise of the traffic on the street was the only sound, he thanked her and said he’d come again the next day and he hoped that he was not a trouble to her.

    She smiled and said he was not.

    He got up from the floor, quick as springing, and he left, not once looking back to see if she was following him with her eyes.

    She came to expect his coming and she looked forward to it. She arranged the instruments in the shop to see if she might in some small way influence his choice, and she made a list of the songs she could play for him, and she took some care over the choosing of those songs and some more care over the dress she wore and the way of her hair and her make-up.

    Each day was the same in its beginning. There were customers to serve and they always wanted to talk and she was distracted, watching for his arrival in the yellow space of the door. Then he was there, suddenly and the day seemed a little brighter with him in it and he said his name was Pavel and he wanted to buy something and he showed her the money in his pocket and she made some gesture of her arm towards this instrument or that.

    He seemed then to be thinking and considering and looking before he made his choice.

    Sitting so close to him on the floor of the shop, the day busy around her and never noticed, it was like they were the only two people in the world. Sometimes he closed his eyes and she felt then like there was just the music and him, as though with his eyes closed she could not be seen and so was not anything more than the music.

    She chose longer and longer songs and he did not ever grow restless or appear as though he wanted to go. But when the song ended and the air was beaten again by the sounds of cars revving their engines and newsvendors crying their sensational headlines and shirt-sellers hawking their wares, then he thanked her and said he’d come again and left.

    But one day he did not come again and she kept looking to the door, even when the hour grew late and the street was quieter and her father came through and said it was time for closing. She stepped outside and looked for him, even till the sun was down and the streetlights came on.

    And the next day she was in the shop again and again she kept her attention on the door and nodded to customers’ requests without really having heard what they’d said. Once she was asked if she might play something on the Breedlove acoustic guitar and she shook her head and said that today her fingers were sore and that she could not play.

    Maybe tomorrow, she said.

    But it was the same the next day and the day after that. Days became weeks and she stopped looking at the door and stopped expecting a man called Pavel with money in his pocket, and still she did not play. The shop was a lot quieter than before. Her father said she must play, but she looked sad and said she was sorry but that she could not. So a record was put under a needle and there was at least music.

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