Music can be more than the food of love.
The room was silent. The cool grey light of a cloudy April day lay beyond the window’s glass. My keyboard had finally stared me out, and I slunk away from it, eyes cast downward, beaten by my inability to find the right beginning to Chapter 11.
On the way to the sofa my right hand grabbed the remote control, and as I descended – almost in free fall into the welcoming cushions – I pressed the right buttons.
Her voice reverberated around the room. I had turned up the volume to make it so.
I rested back on the sofa, closed my eyes, and allowed myself to blend with her sound. I could not visualise her. Indeed, I did not want to visualise her. She was just the vehicle through which the music was delivered, and though important she could have had any appearance, it was only the sound that she made that was important.
The sounds were so moving that I cried. Tears squeezing themselves from under my eyelids, sliding themselves flat through the tight gaps, percolating as globules between and around my eyelashes before trailing themselves down my cheeks. I sat quite still, allowing the emotion to happen. At my age tears find familiar paths; Life has given them flooding rights to imbrue the dried-up riverbeds hidden amid the creases of my skin.
Now a man joined in. Both their voices playing harmoniously with my soul. Their voices, conjoined by such things as quavers and semi-quavers, tumultuously bumped my emotions into reverse, and now I felt my heart opened up and expanded into some ethereal plane that reached down, down into the physical, allowing me a glimpse of something completely uplifting but at the same time absolutely untouchable.
When he sang alone, it could have been my grandfather. His strong tenor voice reminding me of that string of DNA that otherwise would have been forgotten. It was a minor miracle, this music. The tears came again, just as they had in 1965 when such music had conjured up the mood for the spectre of my Grandfather’s spirit to reconnect with me. It had burned its way into my heart then, and branded my with a wound that could be re-opened on occasions like this.
I knew this plastic man. I knew what he looked like. His photo giddily spinning around inside the CD Player. But it was my grandfather’s face that was in my mind’s eye, standing lonely in the center of a theatre stage drenching his audience in such rich sounds. Perhaps someone, somewhere, remembered being in that audience; was old enough to have either a physical recording of those sounds, or have had them zapped into the synapses of their brain?
When the room was returned to silence, I stayed with my eyes closed watching the image of my grandfather fade into the blackness. He had done it again: Had walked into my life and reminded me of his magic. I wondered if the music had the same effect on the ‘he’ and ‘she’ who were zapped into the plastic of the CD, or did they, like well practiced magicians, have something fleet of hand, fleet of vocal chords, with which to cunningly mesmerize their invisible audience?
I turned off the HiFi, and returned to my keyboard. I read the lone line at the head of the monitor:
Chapter 11 – William Strange, tenor. (1898 -1964)
I began typing…
“My grandfather had a special gift…
© Allen Ansell 2005, 2022