Lining the Seams


Lining the Seams

Music lined the seams of him, though they frayed increasingly. Scales no longer enough, he had to move right out into Debussy.  Even if the fingering was off, the waterfall of it seemed to darn the breaking cross-threads.

How does a waterfall darn? Hard to say, only that what hurt him fell away.

Take Mozart. Life with Mozart could not feel unfair.  Let it end, he thought, as but a poppy in potters’ field–the poppy would be  incandescent, its centering eye as velvet as a doe’s.

He bought a small harmonica that he could whip out when waiting for the train.

He could not in truth well play the harmonica, and he could hardly play it at all on the subway platform.  The collection of coins was not his intent, and, with his limp, he hated to draw attention to himself.  But, soon, all it took to bring relief was a couple of blows; even a note would serve as the bridge to a sonata, hunker a composer about his back.  (In the subway, it was usually Beethoven– Beethoven a natural hunkerer, and, perhaps, he thought, less bothered by the noise.)

Then life changed, as it does, or rather his apartment building changed–new neighbors.  They had stout poles–broomsticks, he guessed.  They banged upon their ceilings, his floors; they banged upon their floors, his ceilings–they were friends of each other, or had become friends; each couple as glossy as glass, each stare a swish shutting of glass door.

The disturbances should have been minor. (Certainly, he had been stared at often enough in his life.)

But his spine shuddered at the broomstick bangs; his legs.

Of course, he told himself, it was his nerves.

City ordinances, he told himself, allowed you to play music at reasonable volumes until 10 pm.

Soon, even at 7:00, he could only run his fingers silently over the keys.

He contented himself with the harmonica; he paced the closet; it was more of a two-step.

They did not, it turned out, like two-steps.

He played the harmonica then into his pillow. Its small square air holes may have checkered the fabric with a blue print of its own, but he was too close to really see it.



A bit of a story for Real Toads Open Link Night hosted by the wonderful Kerry O’ Connor.  

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6 Comments on “Lining the Seams”

  1. So wonderfully tragic, somehow I do love silence, but it can also mimic death… so living with noise, or music is the best. But we do wash and clean out everything, every stain should be removed…. every tone subdued… and there we are a whiter shade of pale.

  2. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Your narratives always inspire a bit of soul-searching, Karin.

  3. “Music lined the seams of him, though they frayed increasingly.” beautiful. And the softly quiet playing into his pillow … Very tender

  4. lynn__ Says:

    Poignant prose, K…creates silent lump in my throat.

  5. M Says:

    so terribly sad and lonely – as though you fleshed out a character you saw on the train ~

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