A Child and the Musician- Part 2
The concert was fabulous that evening, but the boy could not hear it from his perch. He cried alone as the final torch was put out and the stage was silent again.
The following afternoon, the boy returned to the empty room behind the stage. He went out through the hall onto the stage. There, as before, sat the lone musician with his instrument.
They played again that day and then the next and the next after. Each night the boy returned to his solitary seat beyond the theatre walls, and each night the lights would extinguish without a sound.
The boy had improved a good deal in the following weeks as their meetings became routine.
When the boy would leave, the musician would write more songs. No longer were they songs filled with the melancholy of loneliness. He wrote of lovely things and the satisfaction of companionship.
The afternoons would long be spent playing and laughing and then the boy would leave through his secret entrance.
One day, after playing, the boy asked the musician to follow him. They sneaked out of the theatre and the boy led the man to his spot on the rocks overlooking the theatre.
“Do you ever listen to the other musicians?” the boy sat on a large boulder and grabbed up a handful of pebbles. He began to throw them out over the cliffs and into the sea below.
“As a child, my friend and I would go to the shows and listen to the music. He played the guitar so I did too. Then one winter, his family moved away from our city and I stopped listening to the music of others. I began to play to myself through the night: sad, somber melodies.”
The man picked out some larger pebbles and began to throw them as well.
“I suppose that I was playing for him. We played together before, so I had hoped that if I continued to play, he might play with me once again.”
“Four years ago I saw a sign on the theatre as I passed by. My friend had come back to our hometown and would be playing that evening! I laughed when I saw the sign and purchased my entrance to the show, but his music was different than when we had played together. When I finally found him after the performance, I realized that he had changed and I no longer knew him. We talked for a few minutes, but we had nothing to say. He was married and I was alone.
“Next morning, my friend had left for the South. I packed my guitar and took the road north. I have been playing my songs ever since then.”
Both had stopped throwing the pebbles and the boy sat looking at the broken man.
The waves below continued their endless assault on the rocks and the gulls throated their contentment from above. The boy and the man stood still and watched the sun go down.
The show that evening was different. The audience felt the new energy as the musician echoed out his emotions through the shiny strings.
Each week there were more and more people packed into the theatre, and soon there was neither room to sit nor stand. Other acts would come and play, but none were so attended as the musician’s.
Each afternoon after playing their instruments, the boy and the musician would climb to the rocky perch and watch as the sun would set behind the vast waters.
This went on for weeks and months. The boy would share his hidden spots with the musician, and the man would share his music with the boy.
Then one day, as the two sat in a tree eating fresh-picked apples, the musician pulled a worn, leather-bound book from his pack.
“It is my music,” he stroked the cover with his thumb and looked up at the boy’s dirty face. “I have run out of pages in this book. Keep it for me.” He handed it to the boy and they both climbed down from the tree.
After the show that night, the boy curled up in his cave and dreamed of the stage. It was a silent dream.
(to be continued)