The Musician

November 20, 2010
The scruffy man strummed a dark tune on his guitar. A boy sat at his feet in awe as he watched the man thank a passersby for dropping a crumpled bill in his open case. The man’s sweet voice lifted high above the trees as the boy sat silent. Watching. The man seemed annoyed at the boy’s presence but his persistence was inspiring.“What you doing here kid?” the man asked between a song.

“How do you do that?” the boy asked staring at his instrument

“Lots of practice. Don’t you got school or something?” he said clearly aggravated.

“It’s Saturday. How come you can sit here all day?” the boy asked coming to sit by the man.

“It’s a long story.” He said as he began another song. The boy sat quietly as the man continued on.

“How’d you learn that?” the boy asked at the man’s break. The man ignored the boy as he strummed his instrument.

“I taught myself” he said turning away from the boy.

“You think you can teach me?” the boy questioned jumping to his feet with excitement.

“Listen kid.” The man said breaking off mid-chord “This musician bit isn’t easy. Specally here. To many people not enough record deals. Do yourself a favor and beat it.” The man’s harsh words were a slap to the face but he dutifully left the man singing in the park. The boy continued home.

“Hey daddy!” he shouted as he slammed the door of their high rise loft shut. He searched the rooms until finding his father slumped over a large wooden desk.

“Hey bud,” his dad said not looking up from a pile of papers. “how was the party?”

“Good.” The boy said shrugging off his coat and flopping it on a nearby chair.

“Did you say thank you to Mikes mom for driving you home?” he questioned

“Sure did. Hey dad?” the boy’s father grunted a response “Can you get me a guitar?”

“Sure bud I’ve gotta finish this soon. I’ll see ya in the morning ok champ?”

“K Night dad.” The boy said with a smile.

The boy ran a finger over the scratchy strings of his dull wooded guitar. His father was already gone for the evening. He pressed the strings with flat fingers and began to simulate the Man in the park’s strumming. His finger’s ached with desire as he taught himself songs. The boy grew with hope in his eyes. He became skilled at the instrument his father carelessly bought him. Before long he had a collection of six-stringed instruments filling his room. School was never important to him. Only the music. He and his friends formed a band that had tearfully broken up before they had ever gotten a gig. The boy’s father became annoyed with his son’s obsession to the art. But he was going to get a record deal any time now. The boy told his father before being pushed to the street with a backpack and acoustic. The boy wandered for years from one city to the next. Hopeful of a big break.

One October’s day the boy was soulfully strumming at a busy sidewalk. His heart ached with desire for someone to recognize his talent but few stopped to listen, let alone drop a few dollars into his open case. A girl walked to him dropping a bill in his case. He thanked her with a nod as she stepped back. She stared blissfully at him as he continued on with complicated strumming. He expected her to leave after a few moments but she didn’t. She continued on watching. He continued on playing.

“How do you do that?” She asked between a song

“Pratice.” He smiled

“Why are you out here?” She questioned “You could have a CD or something” she said with excited eyes

“It’s a long story” he said strumming another song.

“You should teach me! I want to be as good as you!” She said slightly embarrassed by her outburst.

“Listen kid.” He said cutting off his tune “Being a musician is hard. Most of us end up like me. Flat broke and playing in parks for their next meal. Do yourself and favor and get a real job when you’re old.” With that he turned back to the ignoring audience. The girl frowned with frustration and walked steadily down town.

“I’ll take that one.” She said pointing to a dulled wood acoustic hanging on the pegboard. The sales man smile and passed her the instrument. She ran a delicate finger over the six-string’s sturdy frame. And so turned the cycle.

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