Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1948930-Requiem
by BDukes
Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #1948930
Music and memories conjure power for an old man.
The speaker belched to life as he plugged it into the outlet. Across the room in his recliner, Stuart twitched at the sudden noise. He offered an abashed smile.

“Sorry,” the old man said, voice trembling with anxiety.

“No problem,” said the musician. He grabbed the neck of his guitar and walked across the room toward Stuart. His face was ageless, with smooth features and silver eyes that might have seen centuries. A tribal tattoo wound from the left side of his jaw and plunged beneath his collar. He offered Stuart a meaningful stare and grinned. “Jitters happen sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Stuart replied with a breathless laugh. “Still makes me feel a fool.”

The musician shrugged. He plugged in the guitar and played a few chords. The sound flowed rich and vibrant in the small quarters. Stuart closed his eyes and smiled at the sound.

“You play beautifully. I’m so glad we arranged this.” Stuart’s eyes were moist, and his wrinkled face glowed with youthful warmth.

The musician nodded as his dexterous fingers danced along the strings, exuding more sweet melodies. After a bit of playing, he strummed a soft tune that reminded Stuart of Muzak. The musician rested his considering eyes upon Stuart. “What song would you like me to make for you? I need to know what you are looking for.”

Stuart scratched at his wispy white beard. “Memories. Fond memories of love. I’ve lived a long time. That’s what I would want to remember.”

The tune shifted, becoming more intense and purposeful. Stuart grimaced, clutching his chest. The musician continued at this, and he glanced up toward Stuart’s strained expression.

“Memories can hurt,” the musician explained.

“Memories of love, I said,” Stuart hissed. “It shouldn’t sound so…painful.”

“Love is full of regret,” the musician countered. “It is an emotion few of us can handle.” But the tune softened.

“Thank you.”

The musician nodded. “Is that all? Only the happy memories?”

Stuart nodded. “Yes. Yes, that is what I want. Just the happy memories.”

The musician shrugged. “Then your song will be made, but it will be a lie. No one can look back on their life and erase the bad. In many ways, the pain and regret are what brought you this far. To cast it aside like trash is to do the same to yourself.” His fingers kept playing the same soft music. “Even the song will sound incomplete.”

Stuart pouted. “I asked for a song, not a lecture.”

“A song should be genuine,” the musician objected. His fingers massaged the strings, and even Stuart could feel something lacking in the tune. He rubbed his temples with his knotted fingers and sighed.

“Make it true, then,” Stuart grumbled.

The musician’s mouth twisted into a curious smile. And his fingers blurred.

The song breathed to life. The tune vibrated in the air, visibility joining audibility. Stuart’s face trembled, becoming a motley of emotions. Laughter and tears, joy and pain, agony and ecstasy: they joined hands in the recesses of his mind. Memories long forgotten stood alongside his most cherished moments. The musician stood, hands like lightning. The music flooded from the speaker.

Stuart’s eyes opened, brimming with tears. He looked upon the musician and whispered, “Thank you.”

The musician played on for a moment longer. After a time he stopped, and slowly he began gathering up his equipment. The silence that followed the symphony echoed its majesty.

Before leaving, the musician stood before Stuart, and using two fingers, closed the old man’s eyes. “I’m glad you liked it,” he whispered, before walking out the door.
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