Musical Showdown

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It was showdown night.

The past fifteen minutes had rolled out to their plan, and she had these begged for five minutes to make her stand. Who cared that the court was partial… that no one was going to hear her defense? This was her space… and she had to speak…

She had only been singing… she didn’t have a great voice and for that reason, she kept it low. But she couldn’t completely stop herself. She tried. She tried to stop her feet automatically tapping to the songs that played on tv, or floated in from a neighbour’s house. They all hated when she drummed her fingers… said it was always out of tune.. or too loud.. They had a point, because just as she started swaying to the music someone would shout at her. Out of Tune. And loud enough for the neighbor to hear the argument and turn down his music.

She just decided that she should keep it away from others to hear… so she decided to stop singing…

Then one day the people in the house below moved out. She spent the day glued to her window peeking down at all the activity… the little kids running back in every second to dig out things they had hidden in crevices and cupboards over the years, and take them along to their new home. She wondered if that meant there would no longer be music. It was the eldest daughter who played the most music, of all her neighbours. And her choice wasn’t bad. She sighed. Music just kept slipping away from her. But then, she could take a cue, she had to learn to stop singing.

She accepted it.

And her day started changing. She would no longer dance on her toes while reading for her next school test… She would no longer hum as she baked… She would no longer smile as tunes ran in her mind, and she would no longer squeeze her eyes bracing the crescendo…

She might just have gotten used to it… a life without music… Everyone else seemed happier. Her parents didn’t send her in when they all gathered for tv time anymore… People didn’t mind when she went onto the internet, but then those were the hardest times, she had to sit very stern to stop her idle hands drumming or her feet lightly tapping away… She remembered to keep her lips pursed tight. If she sang… she would have a bad telling and a worse night.

But it wasn’t going to be so easy.

A new tenant came. A boy. Seemed like he was going to college, anyway, he moved in alone in the house below. She saw him shift in his stuff and didn’t give him a second thought. She couldn’t even dare looking at boys, when just music caused such outbreak in her family…

But he wasn’t just a boy. To her horror. He was a musician.

Today, late in the evening, just as her father came in from work and her mother shut everything to go see to him, she quietly slipped into her room and went to read. That’s what kept everyone happy.

And then… a melody took form… she thought she had heard something but she was still fighting fancies so she ignored it… but it grew stronger… and louder.. her mother picked it in the living room too, wondering if another family outcry was soon to unfold..

The girl was scared. She drew the curtains. She shut the balcony door tight. She started talking loudly, reciting her chapters to herself, speaking anything to try and block out the sound. It was  a sin to love music. It was a sin because it shook the scheme of her house, as her father had based it over years of rule.

The boy kept at it. She kept getting more scared. She started crying. If someone heard it they would be mad. After that, even if she didn’t sing at all, she was in trouble. She had become the embodiment of that defiled philandering her father despised, and thus so did her mother. No one could think different.

She tried. It was getting harder each second. He was getting more soulful. He was getting stronger. He was letting out trough music. A musician at that stage is invincible, she knew.

She gave up. She threw open the window and bent down and looked at him. He was playing the guitar. He was plucking the strings with the easiest of movements. He was trifling with them. He was running his fingers free, and his eyes shut, he was playing old melodies that found place in all hearts, but her father’s.

Her father. Now she heard him. He was right outside her door, his step was heavy, he was furious. It was too late. She was too late. He had reached. She couldn’t do anything now. Now, the music would be pushed away through the window, and his screaming would take foreground. His screaming… would ride over any other sound… and music will drift away… like always.

She cast her eyes down. The boy… what would he think…

And he started speaking… shouting…

Did she know she was really irritating him? Well she was…

She was the shame he had had to put up with…

Disgraceful child!

He had been cursed he knew…


She, will soon be kicked out of the house, if she kept at this useless stuff!


She wished he just would. Kick her out. She knew if she asked for it, he would only scream more and her mother would be heartbroken.

Fifteen minutes. She now shut the window and locked it tight. She pulled the curtains. The music wasn’t playing any more. He heard.

Fifteen minutes. All it took for her to lose a possible friend, and a love.

He had won again. He had everyone just where he wanted them… under his thumb. He had control, he had absolute obedience. And now he was happy. His daughter may not be, but then, she was a shame wasn’t she. Music. The very idea!

She accepted. She accepted days without music over hours of screaming any day. But she begged for her five minutes. Just five minutes when she could tell the whole world, that she did NOT agree with him. She WILL not. Never. She will accept the decree, but she will not justify it. And in her five minutes, she wrote…

Late in the night, she thought she heard a tune brew up again from down below… but she just turned and went to sleep, her tears drying…

And next day, at the same time as last evening, when the same tune rose again, she decided to take one small peek at the boy and then she would pull on mufflers and earbuds.

She looked down… and saw him staring at her window.


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