#2 from flash fiction novel, Come As You Are
Girls with Guitars
Here. At last, your seventeenth birthday and the package your father offers with tears in his eyes brings tears to yours before you even unwrap it. Your classmates were Jonseing for new cars, but you had your bike and no need of a car that required gas and insurance and repairs. You wanted your dream.
You were born to music. Your mother played all of her favorite songs from Vivaldi to Guns N’ Roses while you rested attentively in your amnio acoustic sac. Your father sang Sweet Home Alabama and then regaled you with Jimi Hendrix stylings on his Stratocaster knock-off.
Your playpen sat near the piano where you learned Für Elise by watching spellbound as your mother’s fingers swept over the keys. At five, you stunned when you sat on the bench and replicated what you had seen. Your parents wanted to enroll you in lessons, but you wouldn’t have it. You wanted to play the red and white smooth guitar, although the fingers of your left hand couldn’t embrace the neck. So a smaller guitar was bought for you and you learned to play. When the outside wasn’t calling you with its symphony of birds and wind and rain and thunder, you practiced your guitar.
By ten, your fingers astounded, flying over the strings with amazing precision. Your ear was so well trained you could hear a song and almost perfectly recreate it. At the center of your world was music and you heard music in all of the world, natural and man-made: the rhythm of the metro slicing across rails; the percussion of traffic on the highway; the lilting harmony of the house finch; the bass of the neighbor dog’s incessant barking; and the trickling piccolo of the creek stumbling over stones.
And now, here, in your hands is a gift so precious your emotions cannot balance. Your bottom lip trembles as you take the package and carefully unwrap. A Fender Stratocaster. While not a car, this still must have cost your cash-strapped parents dearly and you don’t think you can ever convey your appreciation. But the moment your fingers caress the strings and the music you had been creating on a lesser guitar opens full throttle on this celebration of guitars, your parents exchange a glance because they hear incantations upon the stratosphere.
Their investment is sound.