Saturday, 13 September 2014
The lyrics were by now burned deep into my psyche, an integral part of my very being, an essential component at the very core of my existence.
“I can't see my reflection in the water.
I can't speak the sounds to show no pain.
I can't hear the echo of my footsteps.
Or remember the sound of my own name.”
I must have dozed off with exhaustion, for I awoke to the weight of the guitar still on my knee, it had been there for a very long time.
My whole body jerked and shuddered as the strange energy flooded through me one more time.
My left hand automatically sliding the length of the neck, fingers positioning to form the opening chord. My right hand hung loosely above the sound hole. The fingers twitched, spasmed, then began to pick at the strings.
I opened my mouth involuntarily, and began to sing.
“I can't see my reflection in the water.....”
And as I sang the tears came. The words were discordant, barely distinguishable through the sobs and racking cries.
How it came to this I can't recall. When the pleasure turned into obsession, and that obsession turned into... something else.
I absolutely loved the song. I use the past tense because what I have now become makes it impossible for me to love anything any more.
In the days gone by I practised the song over and over, savouring every lyric, absorbing the vibration of every note. I wished I could just play and sing forever.
Those thoughts came back to haunt me with a vengeance I could not have foreseen.
I now play constantly. The same song, over and over and over again. I feel like a marionnette, my strings being manipulated by unseen hands, an unseen power.
I have been sat here so long my body has started to diminish. Where once was muscle there is now sagging skin, the bones easily visible, joints angular and protruding.
In places I have disappeared completely. A small gap has appeared in my left forearm, yet still the fingers continue to flow from chord to chord, the neuro responses from brain to hand somehow able to bridge the gap.
Both my right index and ring finger are missing completely, and still the rhythm is perfectly picked.
The song came to an end with a final six string strum on the G chord and I slumped forward onto the guitar, hoping, praying that something would change now.
Please, just end this nightmare. Let me die, or let me live, just please don't make me play any more.
I glanced at my right hand, only the thumb remained now. I Thank god I couldn't get to a mirror, I don't think my mind could take whatever sight would stare back at me.
I felt the frisson again, the pulse jerking my body upright, my left hand once more found the opening chord. My fingerless right hand began picking at the strings with invisible digits.
And the hell began all over again...
“I can't see my reflection in the water...”
In my heart I know beyond any shred of doubt that this curse will go on forever, until the guitar has rotted away, until the strings have rusted into nothingness...
Until I am just a memory.
And still the song will remain.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Author's note:- The words at the top of the page are the lyrics of the second verse from a Bob Dylan song entitled “Tomorrow is a long time”. This is one of my all-time favourite Bob Dylan songs, one I learned many years ago, and still enjoy playing to this day, unlike the unfortunate character in this story.
And the song will of course always remain, as it should, a beautiful gift from a very gifted man.
P.S. The "Walking Dead" Theme on the video link has no connections to the story, but the version of the song played on the link is the one that I am familiar with.
Thank you for reading.