10.1.2015 Journal Prompt

Image from Treme
Image from Treme

October 1, 2015: The first time I…

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11 thoughts on “10.1.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. You can learn things from watching people, things ‘bout yourself and ‘bout the one’s you love. Like the first time I saw this couple in the street and they was apart and together both at the same time. He was sitting at a keyboard and he didn’t look up, not once, all intense in his concentration, and the music entered him and he was the music; and she was stood a little way off playing a violin, and she was there and not there; and you could not know, not never, who was leading and who being lead.

    And they fitted, you know. ‘Bout as neatly as anything ever fits. And the music was the thing and everything else in tripping step, and something wonderful coming out of that togetherness, so wonderful it stopped me in the street and held me even though I had someplace other to be. And time stretched or snapped or shrank to a point so small that it didn’t matter none. And it was the music that bound ’em together. I waited till they’d finished. The silence then was as sharp as pins or the points of knives. She quietly packed her violin into its case and he folded up his keyboard and put it under his arm. They split the money they’d made, pennies thrown into a old hat they’d set on the ground. Then he kissed her cheek and they parted – not a single word ‘tween ’em so I thought they might be deaf or mute.

    I seen ’em after that, not regular, not so as I’d know when they’d be there – catching ’em by chance, on the same corner of the street when I’m passing, same keyboard and same violin, and they’re always so perfectly fitted together and yet a little distance between ’em also. And their music is like sex or love, and it rises and falls and folds into itself. And I’m breathless watching them, every time, and carried up into the clouds, up and up; and then dropped again when it’s done and they’re silently counting out the money and he kisses her cheek and they part.

    And I got to thinking ‘bout how things are ‘tween me and May and how it’s something the same as ’em two street musicians, and sometimes there’s a music between us, making us dance, or want to dance, at least. And moving together, as one, and holding my breath and her breasts in my hands, and May saying she loves me, and she takes me to her and into her, then rising and falling, and she says not to stop and not ever to stop. And I don’t want to stop, not never, wanting to soar and soar, May beside me and under me and in me – like music.

    But then there’s something that I can’t control and it is in her, too, in May, and I suck in air, snatching for sudden and quickening breath, and I come inside her all in a rush that is beyond words and she comes, too, and then the two of us falling and falling.

    After it is done, we draw apart, and she is on her side of the bed and I am on my side. And there’s a small distance between us and no words in the moments after, and time returns to its measured step and step, and slowly sleep overcomes us – and sleep is like a parting, I think. And I never know when we be that way again, so perfectly fitted and together, just like I don’t know if the street musicians will be there the next day when I pass; and sometimes I want ’em to be there, and sometimes I don’t, and that means something, I think, something ’bout love and sex and ’bout me and May and ’bout everything.

    1. Dave

      I really like the way you start this, and the way it ends. Nicely wrapped up. The couple on the street brings you around to “me and May.” Also the way the couple relate resonates with my experience of music, which I placed in the centre of what follows of what I wrote. Like getting up in the clouds as you suggest, trance like. And then together, then apart. Really a fun read. Thanks

      1. Dave and Lindsay, I really want to thank you both for sharing your work and entering into a community of writers here, thoughtful and respectful of each other and what you make. Makes me happy to be a small part of it.

      2. Dear Patty – you are not a ‘small’ part of this! You are the biggest part. Without you and your prompts none of this would exist! Thank you. I have reached my target this week (1000 pieces) and am slowing down for a bit – other projects need attention! I will still be around becuse these prompts are so… well. enticing.

      3. Dave

        Definite agreement with Lindsay. We would not be here without your Prompts. How you find them day after day is a mystery to me but I enjoy them all.
        Congratulations to Lindsay for reaching 1,000. Now some new goals/projects no doubt.

  2. Dave

    Watching them now I can scarcely remember getting here. Marcy and her buddy Joe. The sound from them lifts me to where I can’t see the sadness surrounding me on the street. I know that Marcy learned slow. It was her idea to get the violin in the first place. An’ I thought being her dad, of course nothing was too good for her. The first lessons were at the school and someone we knew at church found an old child violin in their closet. Those were the easy years. We would just get her to her class after school and the teacher did the rest. She was happy: she and her little friends got to play in school with a music teacher. She never complained about her having to take time to learn. She would come home all excited and want to show us some stuff. Maybe she takes after me, my playing the blues guitar and all after work. But this seemed to be her own thing and there was no stopping her.

    Momma of course was thrilled to hear her first solo at home. “She’s our baby” and “you are going to be great.” Then came the playing in the school gym in front of the school assembly. Sure there were other kids playing their pieces. The most polished were the older kids with their long piano solos and string quartets. But the one that stood out for us the most was the little girl we took home that night proud that “I didn’t make one mistake.”

    Don’t know much about teaching. I learned myself the guitar from strumming when I was a kid. Work in a steel mill and we don’t have much time to teach in there. Just stay away from the fire or you’ll lose your eyebrows. Watch when it rolls off the cauldron and gets milled according to specs. Do what the boss tells you, get there on time, put in your hours, work is done. But this violin thing is different. Marcy acts as if is with her all the time, like playing in the back of her head, a piece of energy that won’t let go. Once she got that kid’s violin she never could stop. When I’m playing my guitar with my friends at Eddie’s Tavern I know when to quit. But she just keeps on humming tunes, sometimes waving her fingers in the air real serious, not seeing anyone else in the room with the sounds running through her head.

    It went on of course. By the time she got to middle school it began to cost some serious money. I coulda bought a good used car for what the violin cost that she uses now. Momma would not hear of going cheaper, and so I put in for a few more hours on my shift and we got it for her birthday. Marcy smiled a smile I haven’t seen much before or since: a kind of glow that covered her from head to foot. I saw that glow again today, watching her play with her buddy Joe. They don’t seem to even connect like you an’ me, not sharing or talking, just playing with that special glow that takes over her.

    There were lessons, with the new violin. More classes. More performances. By the time she got out of high school she was performing for church, for weddings, for the high school gigs like we saw years ago. Driving her home she would just sit in the back seat of the car with her quiet smile. We could tell she was rehearsing it one more time in her mind.

    We in the family don’t know where this is going. She’s talking college now and some schools have been calling her asking her to come out. Never thought it would come to this. But standing near her on the street corner today I can still remember the first time I took my little girl to school with her new violin. I still feel lifted up by what she puts out. I can’t explain it so good, but there it is. Those sounds running through her head have spoken through her fingers moving up and down the strings. And I feel like there is nothin’ else around us that matters.

  3. Some lovely stuff here, Dave, really lovely. A neat picture of a solid family and an emerging talent. Really enjoyed this. One small quibble: the opening line with that ‘scarcely remember’ – seems to me he remembers better than ‘scarcely would suggest. Love that third pargaraph.

    1. Dave

      Thanks Lindsay for your review. The “small quibble” is right on without question. I started writing the piece one way and it led me in a different direction. Then I forgot to loop back and re-check where I started. Oh well. I have been experimenting with different ways to start a story and this seems to work based on your review. I will push on and continue this method of getting to a story and see where we go. Thanks again for taking the time to read this. Yes it catches me still even when I read it over several days later. Not sure what that is but seems right.

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