Another exciting edition of 5MinuteFiction and I’m breathless. Honestly, this one was tough for me and only in part because suddenly everyone needed something from me in real life. Don’t they know it’s 5MinuteFiction time???
Well, I muddled through anyway, and threw mine in there with the spectacular offerings this week. I’m so proud to be a part of this group.
Congratulations! Now read their fantastic entries below and vote in the poll on the right of the page. Poll closes at 9:30 EDT. Good luck everyone!
I lived in a strung state around you, tuned to a point of the finest tension. I know you liked to keep me that way, ready for the stroke of your voice and touch, primed for the pluck of your words.
At some point I was bound to go out of tune, though you didn’t want to acknowledge that. That destined moment happened at our tenth anniversary. Standing there amidst friends and family you ignored my warning glances, disregarded my quiet requests, left me standing alone while you twirled someone else to my favorite song.
And I snapped. Like popping strings my nerves frayed and gave way, driving me across the club. You turned a hard smile on me that sliced through the last of my control.
The pain from the slap arrived as the scarlet blossom of my slap bloomed on your cheek. My words dropped like discordant notes, interrupting the party.
And I left, stalking across the room without a backwards glance, leaving you to try to find the remnants of the strings with which you once held me captive.
Slap. Slap. Slap.
My fingers danced across the top my my father’s vinyl record collection. The waxy sleeves made their own music, their own rhythm.
It took me back to lazy Sundays together. The smell of fresh cut grass wafting through the screen windows of our house in Wisconsin. The twin sweaty glasses of lemonade on the porch, set ou by Mama, just waiting for us to settle into the rocking chairs.
“Ah…here it is,” he’d say, a small smile turning up at the corner of his lips. “This, sweetie, this is the song that made your mother fall in love with me.”
And my Mama would chuckle to herself in the kitchen, and start humming to herself. Busying herself about the kitchen and content with what the afternoon was. Simple.
He’d let me set the record on the player myself, a huge delight for a little girl of six.
“Where should we start it today, Daddy?” I asked.
“You know what I like to do? I like to put that needle anywhere.”
“I’ve heard this song a thousand times, sweetie. But every time it starts somewhere new, it’s like I’m hearing the music for the first time,” he beamed.
I smiled and set the needle down, having to stand on my tiptoes to see just where on the giant black expanse of vinyl the needle would land.
Then we’d sit on the porch. Listening to the song play through, sipping our drinks and watching pickup trucks ramble by the dirt road that ran by our house.
There it was. The record we listened to every Sunday. The song that made my Mama fall in love with my Daddy. The musical creation that played a part in my existence.
“Here, this is the one,” I said, and handed it to my brother.
A hand gently rested on my arm. It was my husband, looking as handsome as I’d ever seen him. The way a man should look on our wedding day.
“You sure you don’t want me to dance with you?”
“It’s O.K. This is the father daughter dance. And I’m going to dance with my Daddy.”
My husband kissed me on the forehead, and lead me to the dance floor, which held a single rocking chair.
I sat. The song started after the first verse. I could almost hear my Daddy sigh. “Ah…this is my favorite part.”
I closed my eyes and listened, feeling him looking down at me from somewhere up in the heavens. It was like I was hearing the music for the first time.
“Do you come to the opera often?” she asked me. Her lips were a beautiful burgundy red.
“Whenever I can,” I replied
“Have you heard the new Tenor? I’ve read he’s absolutely fabulous.”
“I can’t say I have, no, but I’m looking forward to seeing him.”
“And tell me, do you know-” She turned her head to her program and I couldn’t see what she was saying.
“I’m sorry? I didn’t catch that. You turned away.”
She looked up and quirked a smile at me, “You deaf or something?”
“Well, yes, actually, I am, but I can read lips quite well.”
I think I shocked her a little.
“And you like _opera_?”
“And musicals, yes.”
“But _why_? You can’t hear them!”
“I… watch them. I watch them singing. You can _see_ the passion of their words – the good ones. And I’ve read the Tenor is very good…” I smiled.
She shook her head in disbelief, and then narrowed her eyes.
“So, you can _see_ passion?
“Yes, In the eyes, the mouth, the way they hold their bodies…”
“Buy my a drink after the show?”
“Maybe. Ah, the curtain is rising… Shhh.”
No one else would likely call it musical, the atmosphere in my office. With the TV and the Ipod player turned off, the only regular sounds to be heard are those of the machinery. The air conditioner hums along blowing coolness into the room. The fan keeps time with a small click at every rotation, ensuring the beat stays fast and steady. The computer clicks in with a higher voice, whining at the work that must be done. The song of the room is interrupted irregularly by the clicks and clacks of the keyboard, the low throat-clearing sound of the person working and the creak of a chair tired of supporting the weight. On the screen, the page never ends, demanding to be filled with line after line of dark text on white light, adding an almost inaudible high pitch to the work and increasing the intensity. It demands attention even when the neighbors begin to pound in new fence posts or the mowers come to cut down the empty field of brambles. But when it’s good, all these noises, so irritating to some, combine to create a symphony of creation, harmonized perfectly, meshing seamlessly, everything operating to the beat of the fan as the song appears in the light and the writer remains intently focused on the words. And the piano and the guitar, sitting silently in their corners, look on with envy.
Rent was playing in town. That very night.
Adam’s toes tingled with excitement. He’d wanted to see the musical since he was in high school. Being poor and living in a one-horse town did nothing to help him in his endeavor to witness possibly one of the most brilliant stage shows to traipse across a Broadway stage since Phantom.
There was only one small problem.
Cynthia sat on the couch next to him. The silver studs lining her earlobe glinted in the flickering light from the TV. Her face, utterly lovely in every way, was contorted in a mask of annoyance.
“You want me to go watch a bunch of fairies dance and sing?” The contempt in her voice cut at his heart.
“That’s just fucked, Cyn. How the hell can you be so narrow-minded? I mean, look at you!” Adam gestured to the leather ensemble she’d chosen for their date. Yeah, like she was the epitome of normal.
“If you’re queer, just say it and get out of my house.” Cynthia refused to look his way.
“You know what, screw you. Screw this town. Screw the bigoted parents that squirted you out. A guy can enjoy musicals without suddenly falling over with the need to suck dick!”
Adam stormed out of her house. Outrage zinged every cell in his body. Oh, he’d go see Rent, alright. He would sit there, front row, and enjoy every last note of it.
Then tomorrow he would buy a train ticket out of that hellhole.