Prompt: Choose a song and write a short piece in response to the music
I walk back along these streets remembering what once was. In the empty and broken store windows I can still see the lights dancing across the darkened snowy streets as the shopkeepers bob back and forth helping the last minute shoppers. I see the children running breathless, laughing, their cheeks burning brightly, their eyes glistening with joy. The songs rise up through the air, heavenly, light and ethereal. I follow the road, long and winding, to the warmth of mother’s baking. I hear a song from within. It is familiar, yet I cannot recognize it. I follow the stairs up into the house, curious, and see her. A little girl. She’s only eight years old, but she glides across the floor with the grace of a seasoned ballerina. Her eyes are closed as she revels in the luxury of the moment. She is only eight years old, but she knows true happiness. I smiled mesmerized by the beauty of her form. She dances on and does not notice me watching. Like an automaton she goes through the motions perfectly as though she cannot stop. Like she cannot feel. I reach out for her, to touch her and she ripples away. The music continues though no one is seated at the piano. The music continues though she is gone. I dare myself to venture over. I am curious what keeps it going. I see the keys press themselves downward and spring back up to the staccato of the piece. I sit down and place my hands upon the piano, joining in with the invisible musician. He doesn’t seem to notice, but has now materialized. He is young. Too young to know how to play so well. He has the skill of a concert pianist, but can’t be more than twelve.
I am amazed for in my life I have never met such talent and yet, here they were, living in my home. I reached out for him too, just to make sure he was real and he too rippled away.
Alone and in silence, I follow my nose. It leads me to my father’s library. A fresh batch of blueberry scones sits untouched on the desk. A fresh pot of tea softly releasing its steam. I am aware of my hunger, but I am afraid to eat. I am afraid that they will vanish like the little girl and boy. Then I see him. Illuminated by a candle, bent, in concentration over a manuscript. He is carefully copying out the Bible, illuminating the first letter of each page. He looks sad. I reach out for him too. I want to comfort him, but cannot. At my touch he diminishes to nothing and I am left alone again.
I sigh and walk up the stairs too my room. It is exactly as I had left it. Only everything had changed. The toys were scattered on the floor, the fish bowl smashed, my pillow soaked with my tears. There were angry letters on my desk, clothes dangling from the furniture and hate written into the walls. I had put them there all these things were mine. Once. Now they looked worn. Old. Like too long had passed. Had I been gone so long? Had I been forgotten?
Their bodies were arranged like a grotesque dreamer’s artwork. A body draped across a chair, another like a rag doll cast across the bed. One hanging on the door frame and one locked in a box. The dancing sister? The musical brother? The pious father? The loving mother? Was this my family? But where was I? Had I been gone too long? Had they forgotten me?
Then I heard their laughter. Their voices, are they calling for me? Illuminated in the single ray of sunlight in the boarded up windows. I reach for them, full of regret.
I won’t be able to touch them. I have been gone too long. Too far. They have forgotten me.
But they are safe now. They are safe.