The Music from the Floor Above

May 23, 2008
It was late on a Friday night when my mother and I moved in. The police sirens were loud and alarming. They reflected blue and red lights from the cop cars across the street from our ocean front yellow run down four floor walk-up on Garden Boulevard. When we first walked in I heard music from the floor above. From what I know of, no fifth floor existed. It was my second trip up the narrow, dark concrete stairs with my hands full with my surfboards, and travel bags, when the noise from the floor above got louder.
The movers came about an hour later to deliver the boxes to the dull room, bare with just a chair that had my mom’s boxes of open sour patch kids. My mother showed the movers where to place the over-sized jumbo cardboard boxes with all of our things. It really didn’t matter where they went in the room because none of the boxes were labeled. My mom continued to shuffle around boxes. Surprisingly, above the sound of all the shuffling and clattering I could hear noises from the floor above. Wandering around the apartment floor while, staring up at the ceiling above, unwittingly I collide – bam! into a heavy set mover with tribal vases from Fiji, New Guinea or somewhere. Vases flying, the heavy set mover spins, and twirls. He face plants right smack into the floor. Through the corner of my eye as I tumble to the ground, I witnessed my mother unbelievably catch one of the three obnoxiously colored foreign vases. The crashes, smashes, and thud didn’t stop the perturbing sounds from the floor above stop.
It stopped for a long time, until the middle of the night the next day. Of all the nights I had to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to surf. The floor above sounded like music and the sound of feet or bass turned the highest it could go. In the middle of the line-up my mind wasn’t where it was suppose to be. Wandering between what it was on the floor above that was making those sounds, and dodging the wave building up behind me. I couldn’t take it anymore I couldn’t concentrate. I paddled out of the water, sprinted past my mother back to our walk-up. I’m going to see what’s on the upstairs floor. I climbed to my floor and walked to the end of the hall tracking sand, and sea weed to the fire escape. I came to an old door, and I moved towards the handle, and music started back up again. I opened the dark dyed bamboo door it creaked and the music stopped. I saw a shadowed face. The shadowed person had the shape of a man. It put what seemed like a guitar on the floor, and proceeded to walk my way. It moved slow, yet swift, and almost floated across the floor as it walked. The figure stepped into the light, an older man mid sixties, extremely tan with baby blue board shorts, and a faded black CBGB’s t-shirt. His silver hair glistened in the light. His lips opened to speak, and the only thing that came out was a grumbled “Aloha.” I started to study his face as he did mine. He didn’t have too much to say. With a jagged tooth grin, He introduced himself as Uncle Jesse. At 5’8” he seemed like a quiet laid back man, and his arms were infested with freckles. I introduced myself as the girl from downstairs, the daughter of the Kona coffee shop worker who drives the station wagon with the giant tiki head statue on top. Since I was already staring inside, he laughed quietly, and let me into his room. I was in total awe already only after two steps into the door. Surfboards lined all four walls, and the fan was covered in dust. There were two windows; one had the glass busted, and the other was closed and locked. In the center of the room was a mattress with floral print sheets, a small pillow, and an amp plugged into five other small speakers. The Orange amp was plugged into an electric acoustic guitar, and lying next to that guitar were three other guitars just like it, all in different colors. In the far corner was a small table, and on top a mini fridge held a crate packed of surf wax. I could feel myself growing paler and paler. I couldn’t believe all this noise was coming from this room.
“Are you impressed?” he asked as he stepped next to me. The first thing to burst from my frantically over stimulated brain was a “Hell yes!” Jesse began to show me each of the boards, and told me the stories that went with each. They came from different countries all over the world, with some having to do with Hawaiian Gods. After two hours of talking and six cups of Kona Coffee I began to walk twards the door.

“Aloha! See you in the line-up,” weas the last thing he said. I bolted back down the fire escape to my room to meet my mom angrily awaiting my arrival. I had to explain what had happened, and I was welcomed with the I think your insane stare, and I was sent to my room where I spent the rest of my night planning for tomorrow and re-waxing my long board.
I woke up early again and trudged down the steps to the beach. When I finally got down to the sand the sun changed and shot higher and higher in the sky. Jesse was about five minutes behind me in the same outfit I had seen him in yesterday. He jumped straight into the water. We started at six, and ended at six. That was what I did for two weeks straight. Jesse and I became very close, and those two weeks the music was playing, but not as abruptly as it was before we met. That next week was not something I could image ever happening. It was early on Tuesday when Jesse did not show back up to the beach. I was left alone out there, floating for more than an hour. There weren’t any waves anyways, so I walked back down to my street and back up the stairs to my room where I found one of Jesse’s guitars, a note, and an old torn up guitar book I had seen on Jesses floor. The note read,

Girl from the floor below:
I’m sorry I had to leave; I was needed in my family’s town in Kuai. Please take my guitar, so you can play music like mine. Play it loud enough for other people to hear, do you will meet someone cool, like I did. I roll like a wave, I never stop moving, and I am never to return. See you in the next life.

-Uncle Jesse

It had been two weeks since Jesse disappeared. I was walking back up from the beach; slowly back up the narrow steps, and down the dark hallway only lit by one light at the end of the hall. I came to my room, and as I began to turn the knob music began to play. It made me jump, and my goose bumps got worse with each step I took to climb the fire escape. My walk turned to a jog, jogging to running, holding up my sweatpants which were slipping off my hips and dragging on the floor. I got to the old bamboo door and reaching for the knob, but it was locked. That was the last time I went back up the fire escape. Everyday after that, music played day and night. I was never to know who, or what was playing the music from the floor above.

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