Musical Family Ties

I read over the sheet music Jake had finally finished composing. He sat next to me and plucked away at the guitar, reciting the chords by memory with his eyes closed and lost in the music. I hummed the lyrics to myself along with the melody but winced and shook my head at the chorus. Jake opened his eyes and peered up at me, eagerly.

“So? What do you think?” he asked.

I pursed my lips, my eyes still fixed on the papers. “Um, it's great. But-”

Jake interrupted with a groan. “But. But! There's always a but!”

“What?! I just don't think it sounds right in this key!” I retorted, irritation suddenly boiling in my stomach.

“Okay- next time you can spend two weeks putting together a new song and I won't do CRAP!” he fired back in my face.

Fed up, I angrily tossed the sheet music on the couch and stormed out of the room. I could hear Jake cussing under his breath behind me. I trampled up the stairs and slammed my bedroom door, hoping it was loud enough for him to hear. Throwing myself on my bed, I could feel my face getting hot with fury. I struggled to remember why I'd even chose to musically team up with my brother in the first place. He let the whole “I'm seven minutes older” thing get to his head a lot.

I closed my eyes and a specific memory came into my mind...

I had my face buried in a pillow on the couch I was lying across. I wept over the text message on the phone I'd thrown to the floor: “We should see other people”. I was shocked and frustrated at the same time, showing through my tears.

Jake was sitting next to the couch, just staring at me. He ran his hand through his dirty-blonde hair a few times, in deep thought. Then he lifted his guitar and began to play a steady rhythm. I lifted my head and sniffed loudly., taking in the sweet tune. I wiped my eyes and Jake, still playing, nodded at me.

Right then, I poured out my heart in song. I sang every emotion inside of me, every feeling I felt at that moment. Jake had his eyes closed and he listened me vent through our music.

I stopped singing and Jake wrapped up a few measures later. The giant cloud that had been hovering my head minutes ago had vanished. I felt suddenly lighter and whole again.

Jake put down the guitar and pulled himself up onto the couch next to me. He sighed heavily and pulled me close into his chest, allowing the remainder of my tears to soak up into his cotton shirt. I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep, but not before I saw him reach down and delete the break-up message...

I sat up in my bed and stared at my closed bedroom door. Before I had time to slide off my bed, the door creaked open slightly and Jake slipped halfway through. I looked up at him remorsefully. His own face was apologetic and sincere, and he held the crumpled sheet music in his hand. “...I can change the tune an octave higher...”

I smiled softly. “That's okay. I like it the way it is.”





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