Her arrival surprised the composer, who had been expecting a melody only, not a whole woman with long drapes of birch colored hair streaming down her slightly stooped shoulders. "Are those wings?" he asked.
She blinked, staring at the motion of his lips. Then she parted hers and mouthed a pattern that was close to identical. Open, close, tongue brushing teeth, open again, close, open, close. No sound came. She did not appear to expect any.
"No," he said, rounding the O.
She imitated the motion. Still no sound.
"You cannot speak," he observed. "Can you hear? You are beautiful."'
He led her to the couch. Some of the hair slipped and he saw for certain why she was stooped. "They are wings," he said. "Are you an angel?"
She blinked, then got up and walked over to the piano. Some of the sheets of paper were filled with notes. She smiled, as if something about the melody delighted her. Then she found the pen and wrote, I DO NOT KNOW in large block letters. I DO NOT REMEMBER.
The composer's mind was conflicted. An excited you can write! battled with a protest that he used the music sheets for other types of writing. Trembling fingers, he found a notebook and passed it to her. He retrieved the sheets of paper, past her scribbling, he saw how the rest of the melody would go. The notes just seemed to fall into place and he wrote them down quite fast, lest he forget them, caught up as he was in the unexpected phenomenon of the winged woman.
"Why did you come?" he mused, more to himself.
I WAS DRAWN HERE, she wrote. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT MYSELF.
"Do you have a name?" he asked.
I DO NOT THINK SO, she replied.
"Do you need anything?"
A GLASS OF WATER.
The composer poured her a glass of water and went back to the business of music, which seemed to flow a lot easier in her presence than it did before.
She stayed and hours drifted into days, weeks, months and finally years. The composer wrote many songs, some of which he recorded himself, while licensing others to fellow musicians.
He became famous and aclaimed. The woman sometimes felt she could almost, but not quite remember a life before him, but she felt no need to return to it. Only two aspects blemished their happiness. The first was that no one seemed to notice the woman beside the composer. In the beginning, he tried to argue the reality of her presence, but he soon grew weary of persisting in a debate he never won anyway.
The second grief was hers. Although she fully comprehended him and could communicate fluently through writing, she never learnt to speak or hear anything. It was apparent to her, that their was some important factor in the composer's life that she could not take a part in. Sometimes, she would pore over his work with the intensity of an obsessive and would almost imagine that she could hear the melodies. She would press compact disks to her cheek bones or rub earphones against her lips or ear lobes, but nothing ever came out of these objects.
At the end of his life, as he lay dying, the composer said, "If one wish remains to me, it is this. That somehow you will now be able to share in my gift."
His body stilled and cooled and his spirit returned to the Source of all life. With tears in her eyes, she fingered one of those useless musical devices again. Something assaulted her mind with sharp pinpricks that went chi-chi-chi. There was a loud CRASH! that made her duck for cover and a SCREEEEEEEEEEEE! that grated her inside in a way that was very hard to deal with.
She sat up. Her ears worked. Suddenly these assaults on her nervous system became a joy as she realized that the composer's dying wish (and hers) had been granted.
"Are you the nearest of kin?" asked a nurse, and the words echoed in her ears before blossoming to comprehension in her mind.
"Yes... yes, I think so," her voice sounded odd to her own ears, although she experienced no difficulty producing those first words. That, too, surprised her.
She could not wait to be alone, to enjoy that which had been denied her throughout the composer's life. She stumbled outside and it took several moments before she worked out the reason for her lack of co-ordination. The wings were gone. Music flooded her being, intoxicated her, each note all but leaving her devastated. Was this the music of her beloved companion the composer? Why did it hurt so much? Was this what beauty does?
She kept walking into people, something that had never happened to her before. Each fresh note made her stagger, seemed to rip a hook into her soul, twisting the barb. Each note removed another layer of protection, until she felt naked in a hurricane of sound only. It hurt, and yet the beauty was not lost on her.
She wanted to write YES!!!! I HEAR IT NOW! I UNDERSTAND YOUR GENIUS! but there was no one at her back, no notepad and no composer. At that moment, she realized how truly alone she was within this storm of music.
She removed the earphones and pondered the device. For the first time she remembered the composer's wry smile and his kind blue-green eyes. She missed them. Balm for a wound was good, but being whole was better. Her hands squeezed the music player so hard it cracked. The noise around her became muted. She could not stop squeezing and each subsequent crack was softer than the last.
A vaguely remembered sentence surfaced briefly in her consciousness. You cannot go back.
And then, We are all on a path through life.
The shards of plastic and fibreglass were slowly turning to dust between her palms. She scattered them. Do we not all create out own path? The wind blew them into a line. Bits of copper glinted briefly...
If you want to make it
to this crazy world of mine
The secret's in the shine,
the magic's in the shine...
She began to follow the dust of the shattered music player. She could no longer hear her footsteps, but a path was being created.
After a while, her shoulder blades itched.
Blotches and shadows of people past through her, but she could no longer feel them. Sometimes their lips formed O's or their tongues brushed their teeth, but no sound accompanied the motions. She had become a ghost to their world.
She crossed a bridge that looked like a piano...
Soon her feet no longer touched the ground... She was flying home to wry smiles and kind blue-green eyes.
The secret's in the shine....
(t.y.m. - but this one hurt a lot to write, somehow.... i'm still recovering from it, emotionally)