Musical Memories

March 7, 2013
The young man, barely in adulthood, began his journey down the long country road. The thin morning mist was swiftly floating above the ground as the golden dawn sun sent shimmering rays down through the fog. He inhaled sharply, taking in the sweet smell of dew and early morning rain. He gazed up at the sky. The thin, wispy clouds were stretched across the blue summer sky like cobwebs in an attic. He shielded his eyes from the hot summer sun. Enjoying the view, he continued on while a cool breeze swept across his face, cooling him from the heat. He stopped and let the wind blow through his hair. He grasped the paper in his right hand. Scrawled on the paper were words, written neatly in cursive. A rose was clutched in his other hand. Along the road were wooden fence posts. Barbed wire was strung here and there latched to every other post as if it were just décor.
The open fields turned to a thick forest of towering trees as he wandered off the road onto a dirt path. The path looked as if were from a movie. The tall, slender blades of grass brushed against the man`s ankle as he trekked onward. The leaves shook in the summer breeze causing the rays of sunlight to scatter around like flies. The trail was flattened, but still rutted with the occasional unruly tree roots, which he dodged on agile feet every now and then. He had most likely engraved every root and dip in his subconscious due to the massive amount of times he had walked the trail. His short, dark brown hair was damp with sweat as he kept his pace. His Henley shirt was unbuttoned at the top and his jeans, stained from earlier hard work, were held up by his belt. Avoiding a root, he looked around and drew in a deep breath. The thick forest had a different scent than the open air that he was just on. The smell of fresh dirt and wet grass filled his nostrils. He felt his heart fall into his stomach. He always felt that feeling when the end of the trail was in eyesight. The memories flashed in his mind like lightning. Pain, tears, regret, every feeling a person tried to avoid began to boil in his chest and fizzed in his mind.
He clutched the rose tighter in his hand as he drew nearer to the end of the trail. The memories hit him like a tsunami. Part of him wanted to forget about her, the other part wanted him to remember. In his hand was a love letter, a letter for her, a letter whose words she`d never read. Then there was the rose, he thought. A rose whose color would never reflect in her eyes, whose sweet smell would never linger in her nostrils. He didn’t want to cry, but her memory forced him to. His eyes began to water, as the world before him became like a liquid blur. He stumbled onward through the wooded path until his feet were in the open again. The sudden sunlight and his tears burned his eyes as he slumped his way up the steep hill. Shortly, he made it to the top. The white oak stretched out its limbs like a stringy skeleton. Its leaves shook in the wind like thousands of green dog tongues in a moving vehicle. The man looked up at the sky. He knew there had to be a god up there somewhere, even though everything seemed so unbalanced. Does everything truly happen for a reason? He frequently pondered on the question, but couldn’t fathom the answer. The sun gleamed down, warming him from the cool breeze that was recklessly shaking the leaves of the oak tree. His feet began to move over the slick, dew covered grass. His mind always went numb at this part of his journey. It seemed as if his soul was carrying him to his destination rather than his mind.
As the shadow of the oak grew closer to his feet, his breathing became shallower. He was now under the shade of the tall oak tree. He placed his hand over his eyes, shielding the suns bright rays of light. He could see the whole town of Caridee Springs. Why it was Caridee Springs, he didn’t know. There weren’t any springs in that part of North Carolina. Caridee wasn’t anything but a small southern town surrounded by trees, creeks, and dirt roads. He turned his attention to the small headstone on the opposite side of the tree. His breath hitched in his throat as the tears began to fall, merciless in his wake. The gray stone was engraved with her name, her innocent name. He buried his face in his hands, dropping the note and rose on the ground. He fell to his knees onto the wet grass. He gathered himself and sat down, cross-legged in front of the grave. He heard the leaves ruffling above him and saw the scattered light shimmering through the trees. He pulled out his phone and sat it upon his thigh. The music escaped the speakers, filling the summer air with both a melody of sadness, and happiness. The words echoed in his mind as he sang softly along to himself, “Every now and then, softest breath upon my skin…”
The music crooned out into the open air. The bittersweet feeling it caused was inevitably present. The man’s heartstrings were being tugged, causing countless tears to fall, tears of extreme bliss, those happy memories shared, mixed with tears of anguish, of those hoped for. He knew he had to let her go sometime, but it was too soon, way too soon. He listened to the soft music and imagined her there now, dancing in the sun, her yellow sundress billowing like curtains as she twirled around. He smiled at the thought, even as he was stricken with pain. He would never see her dance in a yellow sundress, or twirl like a ballerina. She was gone, forever. She wasn’t going to return from a short trip, she was truly gone. The thought lingered in his mind as the mixed emotions magnified. Each tear drop that fell was a memory, some bitter, some enjoyable, some even comical, but teardrops were just like music. Each song contained a memory like a test tube, just waiting to be released. As the music continued, the man was being drawn into a memory, one he wanted to remember forever, but also to forget. The tree became faded, as did the grave. He was being abducted from reality, and sent to a world of memories, memories that each song held within its lyrics, its rhythm. He was pulled back to the beginning of it all, just as the song had begun to invade, the perfect summer morning.

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