It was time to just walk away. The conversation was going nowhere, but downhill. Louder, meaner, more futile. She was butting her head against a brick wall, and he wasn’t about to give an inch.
Grabbing her backpack, she didn’t wait for a break in his tirade, she simply got off the couch and headed out the front door, his pronouncements of her failings echoing in her head.
She could never live up to his expectations. No one could, except maybe his golden boy. The son who did no wrong, the son who died too young. Sometimes she felt like he had the best of it. He would never disappoint, would never fall off the pedestal their father had placed him on, above everyone else.
As angry as she was at her father, she wasn’t about to tell him that his prefect child was anything but. The accident that took his life wasn’t caused by wet roads, but white powder, lots of it.
The old man had expected her to slip into the role her brother left open… college grad, business professional, a father’s pride and joy. Instead, she wanted to make music. No formal schooling, just writing songs and playing in smokey dives. Places his friends would never go. There would be no plush theater chairs, no orchestras, no glowing reviews in the entertainment pages.
He told her she was throwing her life away, that she needed to prepare for her future. She knew that translated into him wanting her to plan for his future. He wanted a successful offspring to take care of him in his old age. Singing for tips wasn’t going to pay for his beer and Cheetos.
Making her way to a favorite spot by the river, she sat under the drooping boughs of a willow tree, hidden from view in the lush green cave of its foliage. Here she took out her notepad and pen.
There were so many emotions swirling around her, but they couldn’t find their way out of her finger tips. She was good, the other musicians told her she was, but he would never know. He would never step foot in any of the venues where she performed, and she knew he’d never sit still for a private session. He didn’t care.
These were the times when she missed her mom the most. When she was still around she was always humming wordless tunes, making up silly songs for lullabies. Maybe that’s why he was so set against her music, because it reminded him of her.
He was driving away his daughter as surely as he did his wife.
When the words wouldn’t come, she just sat and listened to what was happening around her. She could hear the rustling of the leaves, the lapping water along the river banks, geese honking, bees and dragonflies buzzing. There was a cicada chirping close by, birds singing in the trees, thunder rumbling far across the foothills. She could smell the rain coming.
This was her muse, this was what she tried to capture in her music. Life all around her, the songs that floated on the breeze, that flowed with the river. This is what she wanted to share with him.
Digging her digital recorder out of her pack, she laid out on her stomach, placing the tiny case just outside the willow’s shadow and waited. Hoping she was catching all the sounds she would need, she lay in the cool grass until the blinking red light told her she would capture no more.
It took her a week, spending her last dollar for studio time, but when she had a final cut she was happy with, she planned how to get him to pay attention.
After dinner that night, she offered him what he wanted. He would listen to one song, one single song. If he didn’t like it, then she would give up her dream and sign up for community college the next day.
He sat motionless throughout the performance, simply let the tears flow. When she reached out to turn off the disc player, he stilled her hand, whispering one word, ‘again.’
My challenge was given to The Drama Mama at My Write Side: “All the world’s a stage”
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