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The Guitar Player This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Countless pairs of eyes gaze up at him as he is introduced by the judge. He smiles from under his shock of brown hair and sits, acknowledging the polite applause. One leg rests on the stage, beginning to tap out a beat. The other is raised on the rungs of the black stool to support a battered guitar. His arms curl around the instrument and strum tentatively, tuning it. He adjusts the microphone and softly speaks into it, as if unsure of the sound.

“I wrote this myself … I hope you like it.”

And then he begins to play that beat-up guitar. All whispers fall silent, and even the teachers stop to listen. From where I kneel just behind the curtain, it seems as though the whole world has stopped, everyone in unison straining to catch the faintest note plucked from those strings.

I close my eyes to better hear, and in the darkness, I see each note appear as it is played. As the song continues, though, it gets harder and harder to imagine the notes and easier to see him coaxing a voice from the marred wood. The guitar sings with a pure, clear voice, a tune that sounds like a swing, the sky, lemonade in summer. The instrument's song carries waves of melody, a rhythm of light blue waves crashing on a shore of pure white sand, the silent moon reigning as queen.

He purses his lips in concentration as his fingers fly, brown hair falling into his eyes. The music rises and falls, happy and sad and lonely and together all rolled into these eternal seconds – the power of music. In it I hear the passing of days, the lingering of an age; Hephaestus forging the world, pausing, hearing the song, and reshaping our Earth to better receive it. I hear a year spent with notes passed, troubles shared, and happiness together. And remembering the look on the audience's faces, I know they hear it too.

He strums a final, flawless chord, and I open my eyes. The silence is deafening. He rises with a quick thank you and a small wave, and hurries offstage. Backstage, he packs away the guitar, disappointed in the common instrument it has transformed back into.

I kneel in front of him, my jeans complaining at the pose. I look him in the eye, and as his gaze meets mine, I completely forget anything I had thought of saying.

“How'd you get back here?”

“Stage door was open. That was amazing! I am so proud of you.”

He stares at me, a question in his eyes that I can't – or don't want to – answer.

I hug him tightly and try to convey all my love, all my heart, in that one simple touch. His arms wrap around me and he hugs back, and I can feel how ­nervous he was, how relieved he is that it's over.
My eyes tear as I commit this perfect moment to memory forever.

I rush off before he has a chance to respond – before he sees my tears. I swipe angrily at them with the heel of my hand and walk faster. As I depart, the belated cheers of his brand-new adoring fans draws his attention. I smile, so glad for small blessings.

I am so, so proud of you.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 10 comments. Post your own!

Kiwi (From Shelfari) said...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 11:54 am:
Really great story. Really touched my heart. Great job and keep writing!
 
singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm :
aww thanks chicka- i will ;)
 
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Malsie8 said...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm:
The desciptivness of this is amazing.  It's obvious that you did not oberlook any word that was written, yet it still seems effortless  and ebs and flows in just the right spaces throughout the piece.  Great Job!
 
singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm :
Thanks so much, Malsie! Yeah, I wrote this in one sitting- immediately after a guy i still think of as my big brother played guitar in the talent show, almost exactly one year ago. Thanks for the support ;)
 
Malsie8 replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm :
Your welcome! i was just wondering, how long since you submitted it did it take for this to get published?? i just submitted some of my first work yesturday and didn't know when to expect to hear back :O
 
singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm :
well, i wrote this about a guy in the school talent show last year, and this years talent show is a week away. answer your question? *lol*
 
Malsie8 replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm :
WOW! it took teen ink that long to accept it :O guess I have a long wait ahead of me!! ahaha thanks for the help :D
 
singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm :
no problem! happy to help- ask anything else if you need to!
 
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lilmartz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm:
I think this is really good! That one paragraph has so much description, it's great! I still feel that after reading the whole thing that there is more to the story. More to the song. More to the relationship between the guy and his guitar and the guy and the girl (you). Some insight to those things would be really great. What you have here, though, is really good! Nice job :)
 
singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 6:26 am :
thanks! i can see where it might leave you hanging, but i kind of meant for it to leave a little wondering about the guy and the girl. thanks bunches for the feedback though ;)
 
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