Tongues

It was her accent that first drew me to her. From across the room. Warm and hard to place. Echoes turning heads away from where the sound had come. Disguising their source. Her language seemed to belong to no place. Or no time. Or both.

I could hear her from the opposite wall, though it was not to me she was talking. Still, I hung on her every word. I could not take my eyes off them. I watched her re-invent each one and rhyme them all off with the next; weaving them around each other like ribbons. She strung me out: with her words. The way she glided between the sentences, arching up her shoulders, intoning her lines with form, syllables sliding down her forearms to her wrists and out through her fingers in faultless flowing sweeps. Her words never seemed to end, but to trail off and hang in the air, like plumes left to fade before your eyes. And I knew right then.

She is what I imagine music must be. Something beyond my comprehension. The drop of a key sending shivers up the spine. The faintest flicker quickening the pulse. The slightest pause; between notes: a rush of anticipation. It seems beyond me: all this harmony of co-ordination and communication.

I have never heard a sound in my life. Not a noise. Not a note. Nor a bang. Not even silence. I was born this way. But, what of it? What of Bach or of Beethoven? Of The Beatles or The Beach Boys? Stravinsky, Strauss, The Streets or The Strokes? I can live in their ignorance. And have no grievance. I can forego all the pleasures of melody and song without a trace of loss or envy.

Though no power of description will ever allow me to understand what it is that people are enabled to feel by the mysteriousness of music; when they are swept up in the movement of a symphony, or lost in the chorus of the latest summer anthem; nor could I ever explain to you, so that you too could hear, what it is that I hear when I am listening to her hands.

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One Response to “Tongues”

  1. thedropofahat Says:

    This was written for http://www.daydreamer.ie magazine. Their second issue, which was on the theme of True Love. This piece is on page 43 along with a nice illustration. There are some lovely photos, stories, cartoons, poems, and other stuff in there as well. It’s worth checking out.

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