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Far Away

The words flow and the music enters our body with an overwhelming sense of determination. Singing turns to music. And music turns to something greater than the common denominator. The notes are sent on a mission to target the very essence of cold heartedness that we store for rainy days. Music is more than just what is heard. It’s more than just a sheet of paper with dots and lines. It’s a language that speaks to hearts and conquers minds.

Music is the sound of the jet engines in the background that are headed into the unknown world of war. The soldier drains out the sound of the world and its demands and he focuses on the sound of the letter being carefully torn open and the paper being carefully unfolded and the quiet releasing of the contents.

It is here that the music stops. Nothing is heard. The world has just taken on the view of a deaf man. All that is seen is the tears leaking from his eyes. His right arm moves up as his hand scratches some of the sand out of his shaved hair. Through his uniform you can see his chest heave up and down as if a great moment has arrived in his life. Music is the quietness of life as he reads a letter that his little sister wrote to him. Although there is nothing in the air, a heaviness still remains as we view the image of a grown man crying, his tears turning the dust on his face into streaks of mud, his blistered hands clenching a piece a paper that reads, “I love you, Colby.”

The soldier is woken out of his reverie by the tap on the shoulder. He crumbles up the paper, tosses it on his pillow, and reaches for his gun. Music is the unacceptable. Music is duty.

Music was the sound of my prayers and of my shaking. Every meal was filled more with silence than with conversation. My heart remained unforgiving to God and, at the same time, all-dependant on him for granting my miracle. Music wasn’t the sound of my sleepless nights, but of my nights of sleep, where nightmares awaited me in my bed and tragedies wedged themselves into my future and into his. Music is the sound of the fear in my heart. Every call and every knock was startling. Every action was viewed through the eyes of a traumatized victim.

It is here that the music stops, again. I heard nothing. I felt like a deaf man. I could barely see through the tears leaking from my eyes. My right arm moved up as my hand scratched some of the grass out of my tangled pony tail. Through my white collared uniform shirt I could see my chest heave up and down as if a great moment had arrived in my life. Music, then, was the quietness of life as I read a letter that my big brother wrote to me. Although there was nothing in the air, a heaviness still remained as I looked in the mirror and viewed the image of a little girl crying, her tears turning the dust on her face into streaks of mud, her fragile hands clenching a piece a paper that reads, “I love you, sis.”

I was woken out of my reverie by a tap on the shoulder. I crumbled up the paper, tossed it on my pillow, and reached for my backpack. Music is the unacceptable. Music is duty.





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