Harlow

United States

A human that does stuff with words among other humans who do other stuff with words

DEEP THOUGHT WINNERS: Zalma and MarSan!!

Message to Readers

I tried to mix a narrative about my connection with people through music and some older WtW pieces of mine to form a story about my love of music.

Islands

September 9, 2019

Music is an island I've found in the turbulent seas of adolescence. It speaks to me in a language of rhythm and melodies that can't be specified. As I listen to the light guitar or dreamy synth or clashing electric bass of a good, solid song, I slowly feel a little bit better; I no longer ache. The weight of conformity, the brevity of each day, the pain of battling my turmoil all lessen as I melt away into the sands of musical islands. 
    Blasting the cacophonous sounds of the Front Bottoms, as I usually would on any given Saturday, I enter the cool, moist air of the Guitar Center, my eyes devouring the sights of sleek, slender guitars on all sides. I creep into the warmer, wetter air of the acoustic room and lift gently a guitar no bigger than I. As I slip my fingers into the position of the few chords I recognize, a sense of tranquility overtakes me. My chest, usually tight with foreboding, loosens and I allow myself to breathe. Slowly, at first, I strum each string to savor the sweet sounds that so delicately bring me back to a soft serenity I haven't felt in years. A worker guides me to the register with the biggest smile I've ever seen on an adult. 
I could crumble
under the weight
of math and gossip and girls and life,
but I haven’t. 
Not yet. 
I fight through each day with
the uncertainty of tomorrow
weighing me down. 
Tomorrow isn’t a promise, but I try. 
I’ve got my music
tomorrow
and that’s what keeps me going.
 
    I sit intently, listening quietly to the faint scratching of my record player working to play the last track of Bob Marley's album and rereading my poem. I take in each keystroke and syllable, rolling the sounds slowly over my tongue and digest the words I had planned meticulously for hours. As Marley's exotic vocals fill the spaces between my thoughts, I think of tomorrow as my computer shuts off and I finally sleep. 
Strumming, humming, buzzing, tapping. I can't stop playing for anything.
And playing heals me. I'm not worthless or useless. I'm just me.
And I only want to be me so I don't stop playing.

    I reread the words on my screen over and over, futilely trying to lessen a pain that wouldn't leave for some time. Encased in a pale grey text bubble, I think of all the times over the years those same words had been said to me. I had always thought it'd be easier to deal with behind a screen, as though I were somehow protected by the useless piece of glass and metal the now burned my trembling hand. I tramp silently to my guitar case that leans lackadaisically against my worn oak bookshelf and gingerly remove the cool wooden mass that lays waiting within. I place my fingers along the fretboard and lightly finger every single string as a single tear rolls down my cheek. I read the screen a final time and yell a blood-curdling scream. I can read the word if I close my eyes too long. I stare straight ahead. 
Rock
is the biggest finger to society. 
That’s exactly
why I love it. 

    I sit idly at the end of the lunch table, watching my new peers laugh and yell and chatter aimlessly. Bits and pieces of gossip and sports standings and video game releases bore me as I keep twirling the oddly moist school spaghetti on a plastic fork. A girl, her short, dark hair glistening in the fluorescent light takes the seat across from me, nearly startling me from my chair. She nods towards my shirt and smiles, passing me a single sheet of paper across the table. I read the single link on the paper along with the phone number. "Sarah," she says, extending a hand for me to shake, "Figured I'd talk to the new girl with such great taste in music." I smile across at her gently and scribble out a note for her. She reads it and smiles. "Teenagers seems like your kind of song. You seem like a "Screw the Man" kind of girl. Nice to meet you, Harlow."  
I exhaled slowly as the eighth graders and the bus driver and the idling engine gave away to my savior, my solace, my lifeline, my music. Yes.
    I don't know what it was about this morning, but it seemed as if the world was speeding by me and I was stuck in place; perhaps because I hadn't slept well last night since I was engrossed in the book Sarah insisted I read. To her credit, it is an awesome book and I will gladly buy my copy eventually. Sarah and I have become fast friends since that first note-passing months ago, strangely inseparable considering our short history. I listen to our newest playlist, consisting of cavetown and the Front Bottoms, much to her dismay. I vowed when we made the mix to turn her to their side. I remember the way she chuckled at the notion fondly. Music has certainly helped me here. 

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