Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Perfect Song

A band you never heard of
once accidentally wrote
the most objectively beautiful
piece of music
humans are capable of hearing.
With Todd on drums
and Mark on bass
and Joel on lead guitar
and Lisa on vocals,
playing in the garage
owned by Todd’s parents,
for just a couple of moments
they achieved perfect
chords, pitch, melody, and harmony.
They had never heard
anything like it before
and were so shocked
that they suddenly stopped,
each person staring open-mouthed
at each other,
tears shining in their eyes.
Joel wiped the back of his hand
across his nose,
surprised to find a streak
of bright red blood.

“Let’s do that again!” Mark cried.
“Wait,” Todd held up a hand.
He wanted to go into the house
to see if his mother had heard,
his mother who thought Todd
was wasting his time with music
and would never be as successful
as his brother Phil, the law student.
If his mother could just hear
the song they played,
she’d finally appreciate his talent,
finally accept him as he was.
He rushed into the kitchen
and found her lying on the floor,
clear fluid trickling
out of her left ear.
Her eyes were wide with fear,
but she had a smile
of ecstasy on her face.

Lisa, who was also a lifeguard at the Y,
performed CPR and restarted
Todd’s mother’s heart.
After she was rushed to the hospital,
the best doctors could guess
was that she had had some sort of stroke.
With intensive physical therapy,
she learned to walk and speak again,
but personality-wise,
she was never quite the same.
She was much happier, yes,
but she was convinced she was
sixteen years old again
with all her life and every possibility
in front of her.

A few months later,
after the immediate crisis had passed,
Mark, Joel, and Lisa
gently asked Todd if he wanted to play again,
if he wanted to play that song again.
“No,” Todd replied.
“It’s too dangerous.
We can never play that song again.”
They disbanded as a musical group
and, not having much else in common,
didn’t see each other much after that,
except perhaps on Thursday nights
when Vinny’s had 50-cent wing nights.
Todd sold his drum kit
and became an accountant.
He could easily fund his mother’s
continued rehabilitation,
but she once asked him,
“Don’t you find that job kind of boring?
I guess I just wouldn’t want to waste my life
doing something that dull all the time.”
And anyway that’s why you’ve never heard
of that band.

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