The Ringtone

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Beethoven’s Fur Elise is the most atrocious sound I have ever heard.
The mechanical melody going up
Down
Up
Down
Up
Down
Like a robot with no chance of gaining a soul.
It is nasal-y and without emotion.
It is predictable and annoying
It makes my ears bleed and my brain turn to mush
And I have to hear it everywhere I go.
I hear Beethoven’s Fur Elise
In our beat up car, sprinkled with crushed goldfish from that time my sister spilled
At our round wooden table, where my mother has so selflessly worked to prepare an enjoyable meal
At my choir performances, normally in the middle a little to the right
At soccer gamesAt family gatheringsAtplaysAttempleAtpartiesAtgraduations.
Always weaving it’s way through the air straight from my father’s cell phone.
The Fur Elise is always followed by furrowed brows, fake greetings, and the shuffling of my father’s feet Away from all of us.
The Fur Elise plays ten times a day, always with 40 minute breaks between in which my father plays Sardines with my sisters and I,
Though, it seems his hideouts are always impossible to find.
The Fur Elise always seems to accompany trips to CVS to obtain Ambien, bottles being drained before the song picks up once more.
Perhaps ten times the dosage is held in my father’s rough palm before he rubs his head and only slips one down his throat, waiting for the Fur Elise to start up again.
Most weeks, I don’t even have to listen to the Fur Elise on full volume, just faintly; so faint perhaps our dog strains to hear the dregs of it, the drone coming on a dying wind from New York City.
The weeks when we have to strain to hear traces of our father are the worst.
Without the blaring Fur Elise dictating our every movement, the household goes haywire.
To mask the silence left by the dimmed Fur Elise yelling must ensue
Anger bubbling up to the surface, ready to explode, just in time for my father to return,
the
Up,
Down,
Up,
Down,
replacing the yelling.
I don’t hear the monotonous rhythms anymore.
I hear my worried mother taking the dog out at 11:00 at night
Missed performances and field hockey games.
Silence in the car.
Bottles of pills in my father’s briefcase.
Empty chairs at dinner.
Yes, The Fur Elise is the most atrocious sound I have ever heard.





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