Gioco Sopra, Musicista

May 26, 2009
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"John, stop it," Sarah cried. She stood in there in the doorway, casting a long shadow in the room. Lying on the ground was a violin, neglected through time. The bow, leaning against the far wall, seemed to be crying—separated for so long from its partner.

Slowly, she walked to him, and placed the groceries on the ground. The air inside was warm, suffocating. So she opened a window, just slightly. Putting her arms around him, she softly said, "Why are you on the ground, John?"


"Let me finish…finish, finish my song," he whispered. He was clutching his head with his two hands. Kneeling on the ground, he was hunched over scattered pages of sheet music. A pen was sleeping on the ground, untouched for days. Sweat dripped down his forehead, and his eyes were bloodshot—red, with craze. He didn’t seem to really hear her—or see her. Instead, he seemed to be speaking to himself.

Sarah gave a small sob, and started to rock. The wind was blowing, and had slowly opened the window wider. The sounds outside were starting to enter, slowly.

"Do you remember your concert? When you played that Nocturne? You were so handsome—there on stage, there seemed to be nothing more perfect than you."

She stopped, and wiped his forehead with her dress. Kissing him on the cheek, she gave him a slight squeeze. Momentarily, he stopped shaking, as if returning from some nightmare of his imagination. Cars outside honked, and tires screeched to a stop. People shouted, crying and shouting with joy—oblivious to the happenings above them. John clutched his head harder, trying to cover his ears.

But it still pierced through—his efforts all in vain.

"You’ve been writing this song months. Almost a year. I don’t understand what you’ve written, and somehow I feel you don’t understand it either. Can you please stop? Please give it a rest?"

She seemed to be pleading now. Desperate, her face was contorting in emotion. Tears began to drip down her face, she sobbed into his shoulder.

"You need to stop. To come out. To give this all a rest. You barely eat; you’re growing so pale. You can’t keep this up, you have to stop."

"I…I’m writing. A song. It’s my heart’s song; it’s so hard to com-comprehend."

John turned his head, slightly, breathing in a staggered pattern. His eyes were empty, unable to reflect the person only inches away. His gaze was empty. He didn’t see her—he saw something else. And in his fear of this phantom, his eye twitched, as if appalled by what he saw.

Sarah noticed. She could see his fear. His lack of understanding. Sarah saw, that John did not see her. Did not recognize her.

"Remember who I am? You seem to have forgotten me over these months. I don’t think I can keep this up. John you need to stop this—you need to remember yourself, me, and us! Jo--!"

Sarah fell to the ground, as John sprang up. His eyes were cold now, empty and alone.

"Sto-stop talking. I can’t thi-think, just be quiet. My head hurts; this sound won’t stop. You’re—it’s—deafening me. Be qui-"

He stumbled then, losing balance just standing. Sarah grabbed him.

"John! Are you ok-"

The crazed look returned to John. Once again, his eyes were red—bloodshot. His hands had found her throat, to silence what might be making this noise. This noise that was deafening—this noise that was driving him mad.

"Stop this so-sound. You’re ruining my song; you’re ruining my song."

He squeezed. And she gasped for breath. She cried, and those tears fell onto his cold hands. Unrelenting, he continued to squeeze. She sobbed, and squirmed. He squeezed. She tried to speak. He squeezed.

Slowly, she raised her arm, and touched his cheek. Just one last time.

At her touch, John’s eyes widened. He looked from side to side, then down at his hands. They were still wet; her tears had soaked them. Looking down, he saw that she had stopped moving. Kneeling down, he touched her face—it was still warm. But there was no breath—and in her eyes, no life.

He picked up the violin, which had been the silent witness to it all. He swung it, madly, knocking down the groceries—then into the ground, shattering it to many pieces. Picking up a sharpened piece, he took it, and ran it down his arm. From his wrist to his elbow, a long wide cut appeared. It bled.

But he felt no pain.

Stumbling to the wall, he picked up the bow—the bow that cried even more now, for its partner was gone. Shattered was the violin—but now red, no longer brown. He took the bow, and to the bow’s horror, began to go across his cut arm; back and forth, back and forth. Like a violin’s strings, the muscles in his arm played—played for him, and only him.

The cars outside had stopped—the people had stopped talking. There was no shouting, and the world was still—silent, an ocean of an audience, for a young man’s last performance. Everything outside held its breath, waiting for the violinist to end the silence.

John played. And the music was beautiful. There it was, the song he was looking for—a silence that calmed his soul. It was gone finally, that deafening sound. Here was the first movement, a section of silence.

The bow ran up and down his arm, going from a yellow, to an orange. As he played faster and faster, the bow shone red, and the silence in John’s mind began to change. Finally, notes were beginning to sink through the muted silence. A melody began to pierce through the darkness of his mind.

Through the open window, a song drifted out. It was muted at first; sad and low. But as John played, he smiled, and that changed it all. The song changed too—it too up to higher spirits. The notes soared, the tone was mesmerizing—harmony that was heard only once in a lifetime.

As the bow moved, it seemed to become a part of him—an extension of his arm. Blood, coming out as he played those red strings, splattered the ground and the walls. A pattern seemed to appear, as more and more dots littered the room. The musician thus became an artist, and with art, all is beautiful. Like a painter, he paused for a second, to survey his work. Blood dripped from the cut, but he did not mind. The scene was lovely, at least in his mind. This was the second movement—love. For the music he played was love, and the scene around him was love. To his mind, this would never leave him. The room would never change—so that was love. It was forever.

The silence was now deafening. Sound and silence had traded places; the loved now hated. So he hastened to play again.

His third movement was melancholy. It was an echo of the second—it showed loss, and the feelings of loneliness. It was the last movement, because it showed death. It told a story—in fact, it told his story.

A couple’s love, their happiness. Their best times all summarized. Then the falling out—the separation. The loss of interest, the things that tore them apart. Finally, there was the end. And the end is forever—so in the end, their love was saved.

On he played, till his playing arm too was painted red. The bow was taunt, and played with vigor—for it enjoyed its first usage in months. Through it all, he smiled—and felt no pain at all. He played his heart out, and let his soul shine through.

The world had no yet made a single whisper; their breath still held, waiting for this magnificent song to end. People did not talk, and cars did not honk. No tires screeched. There were not shouts of joy, or cries of any nature. This was an audience, enchanted by someone’s music. Expression—in its purest form.

The bow slowed—and the music began to slow too. The notes were so clear in the air; the clarity, stunning. Like that, he finished the song, and dropped the bow. His song was over; just like his time was. With his eyes closed, John was still smiling.

The world then began to move. The car honked yet again, the tires were screeching. People shouted in joy, and cried in disbelief. But John still smiled. His audience was applauding; clapping each in their own way. And the applause for him, for his song, was deafening. John smiled.

He looked from side to side, then down at his own arms. Both were red, and one was dripping. But it didn’t matter. The walls and ground were the canvas for his bow, the world, an audience for his song. It did not matter anymore. They were still applauding for him.

Suddenly tired, he too lay down on the ground, next to Sarah. No longer did her eyes seem so cold, or lifeless. A smile seemed to tug at her lips. She stared lovingly, at him. It would not change; for that’s what love was, forever. Her eyes were like dark wells, loving pools; unblinking.

"They’re still clapping. For me, for my song. I finished; finally finished."

He touched her cheek, for one last time. It was still warm.

"Can you hear it, Sarah? My ears are ringing."





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