Fantasticoe Fall 2004

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Beautiful Music

Sarah Jarmon


 

      Anna's fingers felt raw from the vibration of the copper guitar strings. It was the fingers on her left hand that stung, the fingers that she used to hold the metal strings in place as she clumsily fumbled to make a chord. She didn't mind the pain, she relished it. With the pain came the knowledge that she was learning. What drove her crazy was the lack of speed with which she was learning to play.

      "I'm so slow!" She exclaimed unhappily. She frowned and stuck out her lower lip.

      Chad laughed kindly through the pick held between his teeth, "You've been playing for three days." He straightened up, removing the pick from his mouth. "Of course you're slow." He plucked the low e string and turned the metal knob to tune the string to perfection.

      "Are you laughing at me?" She said in mock outrage, trying not to smile and failing miserably.

      "You just need to work on moving from chord to chord. Patience young Jedi." The theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jangled out jarring Anna out of her playing.

      She looked for the source of the music and realized it was Chad's cell phone. "You've got to be kidding me! You are without a doubt the biggest dork I've ever met." She said laughing herself near to tears as Chad danced his way over to his phone, mouthing the lyrics.

      "Chad's Casa De Love." Chad answered in a deep, comically manly voice.

      Anna watched his face as he talked. He turned around and walked away from her, he only did that when his girlfriend called. Watching as he smoothed the curling edges of his Eric Clapton poster, Anna realized that his turned back meant that it must be Gina. She put her head down and concentrated intently on the guitar.

      She placed her fingers on the strings to make an E chord. After a deep breath Anna forced her throbbing fingers down. Wincing slightly she plucked each string to make sure the chord was held properly. She frowned and squeezed her ring finger even harder onto the neck of the guitar. She strummed and smiled.

      For a moment she forgot her friend that she adored on the phone with his girlfriend across the room. She forgot how badly she wanted him and how it hurt her that she couldn't have him. For a moment all she could see was the guitar, like a beautiful woman, in her lap. All she could hear was the sexy noises this woman made when she touched it's curvy, rosewood body. For a moment, that was enough.

      When Anna first met Chad she had thought that he was a nut. The guy had felt unicorn posters on his door and Kurt Cobain posters right next to the Beatles. Now, as she held his guitar, she realized how stupid she had been. Of course he was a nut; why else would she like him. She smiled painfully and shook her head. Play the guitar child, she thought, guitar, guitar, guitar.

      As if her thoughts had incensed it to life the guitar grew hot in her hands. Anna was too busy playing to pay much attention until she felt a chill deep inside her lungs. Anna looked up and watched fascinated as her breath frosted out in front of her and stayed frozen in the air.

      "What the…"

      Her jade green eyes grew wide with shock and wonder as tendrils of ice bloomed like flowers all over the room. The bed, the couch, even Chad's wavy blond hair, sparkled with ice and frost. She stared in wonder as the ice swept over the tiled floor and dusted her favorite shoes. The creases in her chocolate brown corduroys and the folds of fabric on her Hendrix tee-shirt glazed over and she gazed out at the rest of the room which had become a frozen anomaly. Ice misted over the clock and the second hand stopped.

      Aware of the world but frozen in place, Anna stood between fear and amazement at what was happening. That euphoria lasted until she became aware of the increasing heat in her hands. The guitar started to burn her and Anna's mind grew frantic. What if she dropped it? This was Chad's guitar.

      Anna prayed desperately that she wouldn't hurt Chad's beautiful, ornately carved guitar. A note sounded and for a second her mind's incoherent babbling went silent. She was unable to move her frozen finger and she knew that she hadn't hit the G chord. The quivering note turned into good natured laughter and the guitar started to melt through her stinging, frosty fingers. One panicked thought raced through Anna's terrified mind, "I broke it, I broke it, I broke it!"

      Her will overrode the cold for one second and she squeezed her icy eyelids down. One warm tear slid out and made it halfway down her cheek before turning into a perfect diamond on the corner of her mouth.

      "You poor dear, you don't look happy at all
      I'm so sorry I had to stall
      But sometimes it just takes so long
      To perfect the perfect song."

      A fiery finger touched the top of her head and at once she felt warmth spread throughout her body. Her forehead, face and neck warmed first. Then it spread down her shoulders, over her torso, and went all the way down to her toes.

      Anna's eyes flew open and she was blown away. A more beautiful and inhuman creature than she could have dreamed was sitting before her. This being was shaped like a woman with brown skin of carved wood, metallic copper hair, and wide eyes of silver that flashed when she moved.

      Anna's voice was shivery and unsteady but she held this being's gaze as she asked, "Who, what are you? What is going on?"

      "I'd give a name but you couldn't say it,
      I saw your pain like it was painted,
      The two of you seem almost fated,
      I'd give my help if you would take it."

      "But… why?" Anna asked.

      "Because I am his, and so are you,
      I've felt your touch and it feels true,
      He'd be happy being yours too."

      "If that is true what can I do?" Anna blinked, aware that she had fallen into the guitar-woman's rhyme scheme.

      The lady smiled wide, her golden lips surrounded pearly teeth that had been the neck of the guitar. Anna looked down and noticed that the woman's dress was also a pearl color. It had different colors in it that looked absolutely gorgeous in contrast to the winter white that coated the room.

      "Anna, I've seen your heart, parts gold and black,
      There isn't much that your heart lacks,
      Except the strength to brave these tracks,
      Just make a move and don't turn back."

      With that she leaned forward and breathed a heavy sigh filled with music onto Anna's now upturned face. From out of her lungs came chords written like fire on the air that surrounded Anna's head. The golden tablature wrapped itself around Anna's eyes like a blindfold, but instead of being blinded, Anna could see.

      She saw the world warming back up and Chad putting down the phone with its ridiculous ring tones and implications of attachments to people that weren't Anna. She saw herself forgetting about boundaries, walking up to him, putting her hands on those shoulders, and giving in. She saw the two of them breaking through all barriers and just kissing, holding on for dear life. She saw what it would be like to be near him without having to hold back. She saw Nintendo games and concerts and time spent playing the guitar, things she did now, only in this vision Chad wasn't off limits. She saw spending time with him without fearing that if she let go for a second she might just burst into a million little pieces and float away. She saw bliss.

      "See something you like, I thought that you would,
      The music you'd make sounds like it'd be good,
      So why would you stop? Why the restraint?
      Why would you leave when you could just stay?
      True there might be a little harm,
      But how could it be bad if you're in his arms?
      There is passion there, and things that you'll miss,
      It doesn't take much, it starts with a kiss."

      "But it's wrong." Anna said sadly, thinking of Gina. The vision dissolved. She reached up and wiped traces of gold from beneath her eyes.

      "A little wrong for a world of right,
      Is like hours of day for brief shadowy night,
      Love is never wrong until it's denied…"
      "But is it love that clouds my sight?" She questioned quietly?

      When she got no answer she glanced around. The magical creature had gone, the guitar lay on the floor at her feet. The now exhausted Anna put her head in her hands and sighed. An earth shattering TICK slapped Anna out of her reverie and she looked up sharply. The ice flew in every direction and she fainted.

      "Anna! Anna!" She opened her eyes and saw Chad looking down at her with an expression of absolute fear. His green eyes were wide and clear and she couldn't look into them any longer. One of his hands was under her neck the other was in her hair. She looked away and he hugged her to him. "Oh thank God! You were so cold; I didn't know why you were so cold…" He trailed off.

      "I --   I…Sorry." She didn't know what to say to him. She couldn't very well tell him what she had seen. Say something girl, she thought. "Low blood pressure, ya know, it's a pain in the ass. I should…go." She looked up at him and remembered the beautiful vision the woman had given her.

      His gazed traveled her face and came to a halt when it met with hers. "Are you ok?"

      "Chad, you're a good kid." She said rising slowly to her feet.

      "Oh, you." He said smiling and giving her that Beaver Cleaver shrug.

      "I should go eat some food so I don't fall down again. I'll give myself a concussion."

      "You gonna be alright."

      Anna turned to the door and blew a breath out slowly. She smiled and turned around. "I'll be fine mommy." She said with as much sarcasm as she could muster.

      "Okay, take care honey." He said in a high pitched voice.

      "Bye, Loser."

      She closed the door behind her and leaned against it. Wiping her eyes she brushed her hair back. She walked to the elevator and pressed the button. The elevator opened and Garret strode out dressed in his tennis gear.

      "Hey lady. Whoa! What do you have all over your face?"

      Anna smiled. "Hey Garrett, what do you mean, where on my face?" She looked around for a mirror.

      He slid a finger down her cheek and showed her his fingertip. "It's gold."