Hi readers, I wrote this piece in 2015 and it was one of many stories in an anthology made by young writers from all around Melbourne. The prompt was ‘The Music in Me’. Hope you enjoy!
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be in a solo concert, just like a famous musical artist. I wanted the whole world to hear me, and I wanted them to love me for my music.
Now I am thirty-two years old, and have lived with the part that completes me for all my life. One could truthfully label my presence as an anachronism. The insignificance of my being is such that I fear I have become an old and cynical wreck. Despite this, I have a sliver of hope that one day, my musical talent will be revealed to the world. They will hear the notes I emit and be overcome with emotion and glorification.
But time is running out.
Cedric Ellis was what society would label a typical teenager with big dreams. He was unemployed, but hoped to make a lot of money and support his family. What one would notice about Cedric, however, was his devotion to playing the flute. Every night, after he studied, whilst most kids would be watching sitcoms on television, Cedric would be alone in his bedroom, and for two hours, make the merriest tunes. He had so much skill and talent, and hoped to play in a concert one day.
But that was all ten years ago. Now Cedric lives alone, unemployed, and a drunk. He can’t afford the rent for his apartment, and will be kicked out soon. Surviving on booze, he has just the faintest shred of sanity left in him. His flute is packed away in a corner of his room, untouched for years. Sometimes when he is sober, he imagines his childhood dream coming to life. He imagines a phone call saying he’s been invited to perform. But that never really happens. He still has some hope.
But time is running out.
I hear him. He is yawning and getting out of his chair. Hopefully it is for a good reason. The room stinks of stale alcohol. The unclean floor embraces broken bottles, proving its durability undoubtedly. I hear his breath as he continues to approach me. I watch every movement, listen to every sound.
I picture a stage in the middle of the city. I see queues of people who want to see me in action. I hear ticket sellers making cries of order and stability. There is much noise, the sound of hundreds of thousands of people verbally previewing with their companions what they are about to witness.
Suddenly, I am brought back into reality by the sound of his vacuum cleaner. And the broken bottles all feel the wrath of the Hoover, disappearing in one swift action. And then I feel a feeling I have not felt in so many years.
I am levitated.
There is still hope.
Cedric Ellis has had it with his life. He is bored, and feels absolutely purposeless. He decides he wants to recreate his life, and he wants to lead a better one, one not overtaken by booze. He starts off very basically, cleaning the apartment and tidying the mess up. He looks at his flute; the item he practically dedicated his life to when he was a small child. Cedric slowly picks it up, marvelling its unique composition.
And slowly, with much care, he puts it to his mouth and plays. The sound that proceeds cannot be verbally described. You would have to hear it to comprehend its legitimacy. While Cedric played, a flood of memories rushed into his brain, theming his powerful love and devotion to making music.
Then he vividly imagines himself on stage to hundreds of thousands, a stage filled with just him and his flute, and he plays. He plays just as he did a moment ago, only this time to the tremendously sizeable crowd. They are enchanted by his talent.
He is brought back into reality by the swoosh of the Hoover. He is brought back into the reality of his sad, lonely, meaningless life. Then he realises;
There is still hope.
Everything looks clean. Everything looks organised. Are we expecting someone? Surely not. The stink of stale alcohol is no longer present in this tidy apartment. No-one could enter and guess that the tenant was a sullen drunk.
Now he has me physically engrossed by a case, and I feel and hear him confidently striding out of the apartment, holding me ever so close. What has happened? Have we been kicked out for not paying the bills? He thinks that the owners are kind enough to let us stay. I feel a surge of panic overwhelm me. My emotions are continual and various. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do.
I feel the case unzipping and I am temporarily blinded by the sunlight. I see a crowd. We are out on the street. Many people have gathered.
And for the second time in a decade, he releases the music in me.
Cedric Ellis walks out onto the street. He unzips the flute case. There are lots of people watching his every move.
He realises that wanting to play on a stage is wanting fame and recognition. He realises that playing in front of hundreds of thousands has the same effect as playing in front of just a couple of score. The feeling he hopes to derive, a feeling of happiness, can be achieved in what he is about to do, and doesn’t require the misleading bells and whistles of popularity.
But what about making a mistake? What if he plays the wrong notes? Cedric has to trust himself. Only he can make this work and only he can make this fail.
For the second time in a decade, the flute is called to action.
And for the second time in a decade, the flute releases the music in Cedric Ellis.