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Ridiculously self- pressured, hopelessly (and unsuccessfully) in love for three years, and scared to write the things that matter. And that’s me on a good day . Good luck.

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“Here’s some advice- stay alive.” Haymitch Abernathy
“I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if ... But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”- Marilyn Monroe
“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”- Coco Chanel

The Piper of Canterbend

January 28, 2021


Two sharp notes, and then a flat. After Music Theory, I only heard the squeals of indignation my flute had made today, causing the entire room of students to shudder, and Mrs. Barnet to break down in sobs. To be more factually accurate, I was the one crying. Inwardly. The rest of the class unwittingly clapped after I finished Mozart’s iconic Flute Concerto No.1 in G Major, and Mrs. Barnet was among those woefully misled listeners.
Two sharp notes, and then a flat. I repeated this to myself as if in a daze, terrified that if I forgot this, if I forgave this, my time at Canterbend’s was over. There were not many schools that would accept students whose one desire in their lives was to play music for a living, and Canterbend’s the only one  on that very short list that would even consider accepting me. A 3.2 student who had always been more interested in sneaking off to the Choir Room than studying, I knew how important chances were. My only chance to do well here relied on the will of my instructor, Professor Gans, and after this school, the only other place for me was community college. Even then, community colleges would be hesitant to accept someone with my track record, and I could not go back home. Home meant yelling instead of piano keys, with bills the only topic of discussion. There was not much worse inspiration for a musician than the sound of angry voices and the dripping of a leaky faucet to take away even the faintest attempt at sleep. 
With my options limited, staying on Professor Gans’ good side was a must. I had managed to stay off his radar for most of the quarter, my only interaction with him being the scholarship grant meeting where he discussed possible donors for me, as long as I “attempted to fulfill my henceforth vastly unseen talent at Canterbend’s.” Whenever he mentioned this, he scowled, a look almost as frightening as the one he had bestowed upon my now ex- classmate Denise when she waltzed into his lecture hall twelve minutes late. After proceeding to curse at her in rapid- fire French, he told her to play the lute, an instrument unknown to her except for a couple of lessons she had attempted as a child. When she failed to play the desired melody, Professor Gans pointed to the door. As one of the most selective music schools in the country, Canterbend’s expects students to play all classical instruments to some degree of mastery. Failure to do so can lead to immediate dismissal, as seen in the case of Denise. Her seat was promptly filled by a wiry Italian girl, who had arrived at Professor Gans’ class at least twenty minutes earlier. Clearly, she had heard the horror stories about this sharp- tongued, strict, verging on cruel instructor from her fellow dorm students and had wisely decided not to take any chances.
Today, my meeting with Professor Gans was entirely by chance. I had decided to forgo my rudimentary physics class in pursuit of artistic simulation in the form of an excursion to the Opéra de Lille. I was so close to escaping the building through a quick stroll through the gardens and out the cast- iron gate, with the mantra “N'oubliez pas d'écouter,” or “Remember to listen” engraved upon it, when I hear a distinct cough behind me. 
Turning, I caught sight of him, in his scholarly black robes, perfectly creased leather boots, and deep frown, so out of place in the stunningly colorful and cheerful beds of flowers. I sighed, and proceeded to follow him back into the stone structure of the school. He began to lecture me about the virtues of science and the connection it has to music, the selfishness of my being, etc. I was already forgetful of my vow to remain at Canterbend’s through the careful art of not causing trouble. Finally, I heard Professor Gans’s voice stop, and I turned, half expecting him to be filling out a detention slip or calling my parents. But, strangely enough, he had done neither of these two viable options that teachers usually employed when dealing with the infamous “Smart- Aleck Alexandra.” Instead, he began to cry. Heaving sobs, so heart-wrenching that I expected him to turn into a pile of mushy, sentimental porridge. I hovered over him, my heels clicking on the floors as I hurried to where he lay, slumped over a desk. I continued to ask if he was alright, if he would like me to call a dean?
But he eventually stopped, looked up at me through tear- filled eyes and apologized. I, taken aback by this new development, mumbled that it was alright and hurried to leave, taking my school bag with me. As I began to leave the room, Professor Gans began to play his pipe. A white pipe made out of whalebone, it was rumored to be a gift from an Inuit he had saved while working on a commercial fishing boat. He never played it, always kept it in his front pocket, and I was entranced by the sound it made. The notes were the epitome of perfection, the tune melodious and beautiful in its simple cries, like the calls of the purest dove. 
I was so mesmerized with the music, I had not noticed the change in Professor Gans. His clothes seemed to be shrinking, as his head grew ever larger and his body began to develop cracks. Finally, the pressure appeared to be too much, and he exploded, leaving heaping carcasses of human flesh littered about the room. Yet the music continued, as breathtaking as it was before, only now punctuated with sharp wails. These interruptions were woven into the song, like cries of pain from millions of people, words finally beginning to be heard throughout the song. 
“Watch out, before he takes you too!”
“It is a monster, a musical madman!”
“You will be next.
This final statement was deeper than the others, and the most clear. As quickly as it had begun, the song ceased to exist, and standing before me was a beast. Made of pure light, looking directly at it hurt my eyes, but I forced myself to look anyways. It had wings of gold and a halo around its “head,” which looked more like a small sun than any head I had ever seen. And then I knew. I knew that I had to join him. A voice in my head told me that I was part of this, that I had wasted my talent long enough.
“You are one of the select few. Your music could one day envy mine,” the Light spoke, softly but with enormous power “I am an Angel, sent for you. Your talents are undeserving for the lowly ears and hearts of the animals here below. Today is a New day. Let us start afresh with a New world.”
I believed him.
The world began to crumple, as the bark of trees was brutally torn to shreds. Slowly, the clouds turned to rock, and fell into the mantle of the Earth, allowing fire to consume everything within its reach, whether it be rock, grass, or animal. Nothing was safe from this vengeance that had begun. And sitting in the middle of the chaos, casually watching it unfold as if sitting down for a mid morning tea, was a bird. A tiny dove, no bigger than a spool of thread, it made no move to escape. I wanted to catch it, tell it to fly before it, like us two-legged monstrosities were scorched, directly into the infernos of Hell. 
But before I could move, the bird flew away, as if it knew that I was watching it. It’s amber eyes looked hesitantly back upon me, and I gave a slight wave of my hand, to let it know everything would be alright. I had brought this world wreckage upon myself. And now it was time to pay the piper. 


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  • January 28, 2021 - 12:22pm (Now Viewing)

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