Comrade Song: One of Three

Fiction By Anna // 12/22/2011

This started out as a submission for Mary's contest (http://enterthewriterslair.blogspot.com/2011/12/announcing-first-ever-writers-lair.html), but it was too long. It’s a Christmas story, as you can’t tell from the title, but it’s also a lot of other things. So…onwards and upwards.
*
One of Three
Anita’s exasperated cousin once asked, “You think life’s a soundtrack, don’t you?”
Anita thought about it and shook her head, grinning. “No, soundtracks don’t have words. It is, however, a musical.”
That couldn’t be helped, what with her father the composer and her mother the lyricist. Anita’s earliest memory was their tenderly crafted wordless lullaby. She even remembered how Dad loved to watch his wife sing it in a loop.
Anita learned to hum before she spoke. They schooled her in phonics and vocabulary through Broadway- and Disney-style songs; she progressed from “wish” and “dream” to “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” They relaxed the lessons when she recited “Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool!”
As she grew up, friends called her Princess Anita for singing while she did the housework. Her annoyance initiated a phase of growing her bangs in her eyes, streaking her white-blonde hair with red, and dressing like a black tent, but she kept right on singing. By midway through high school she reverted to styles she liked with the other theatre and choir kids, secure in their madness.
She decided not to go to university right away; her parents kept writing music, but it had stopped being practice to Anita. People in town performed these songs, and they were wondering about a CD. Anita wanted to sing for it.
That year on Christmas Eve, she spread their latest creation across the floor. Her parents had wrapped the presents already and piled them under the Christmas tree, and Anita read the music by the colored lights adorning it. At the source of the radiation of sheets, she curled up her legs and sat with her back against the fireplace bricks.
Some people lost in music claim to hear only the notes and their own heartbeats. Anita felt her heartbeat, but she heard only the embers crackle, the clock tick well past eleven, and the snow-laden wind in the empty streets.
She didn’t hear music because she wasn’t singing. This was the wrong song. Her parents had promised to write one made for her, but this wasn’t it.
Anita stretched her legs. She liked the song just as a song by her parents, and she’d love to sing it… But it wasn’t what she’d imagined as the song written for her. She needed the song for the darkest place, a song to make it clear that everything for her would turn out all right. Even if it wouldn’t. Even if she died alone in a hole.
“If I even had the notes, I’m sure I’d come up with the right lyrics.” She was made for the song she wasn’t singing, although she couldn’t say so aloud. Eventually she might have to handle someone else singing it. For all she knew, someone else had written the song that fit her perfectly, since her parents’ wasn’t it.
“Just the notes…” she whispered.
Ding doooong. G and E flat. “No, those aren’t the ones,” Anita murmured.
Suddenly she sat up straight. “Oh! Oh, the doorbell. Should I get it?”
Another log in the fire broke with fewer sparks than the last time. Anita looked down her boots and realized she didn’t even have the excuse of bare feet or pajamas.
“Oh, fine.” She slid to her feet using the fireplace and crossed the room.
She didn’t even peek through the spyhole to see her late-night visitor. If she’d been a writer, that would have been the first order of business—no, of etiquette, playing by the rules. But Anita was a singer, and her door had curtains instead of a spyhole anyway.
She opened the door and kept it between her and the visitor. The streetlights and house lights illuminated little of the empty street. Empty of cars, at any rate, but a tall man was stamping his feet on her doorstep. It was just as well the snow clung to his heavy boots, since her first words were hardly an invitation inside.
“It’s late. Who are you?”
The moment after that darted out, Anita noticed the stranger’s rugged but less-than-handsome features. He had small moles on his right cheek and under his left eye. Red-brown hair straggled, not quite to his shoulders but just about everywhere else. His nose hooked over the wrap of his homespun, rust-colored scarf.
He reminded her of the house across the street, strung with lights yet dark in all the windows. Lights on lonely houses are just shields against thieves in the emptiness.
She sighed, feeling as tired as he looked but with none of the sadness. “I’m sorry. Let’s just get this over with so we can both get some sleep, aye?”
He spoke through his scarf in an emotionless voice. “The song was made for you.”
Goosebumps rose on Anita’s arm. “What?”
He turned his hands palm up and shrugged. “I thought it best to just have it out. The song’s missing, though.”
She started to come closer but drew back behind the door she clutched. With half her face hidden, she was even with him. “How do you know about that?” she said in a low voice.
“The song was made for you, and so it was yours. But because it was yours, it could be stolen, and so it’s gone.”
“You’re…” She shook her head and forced her tongue not to stutter. “You’re not making sense.”
“Liar,” he said without mockery or accusation. Maybe his eyes seemed greener; maybe his brows quirked at her.
Anita squirmed. It made sense for a dream, right enough. What if she’d dozed off by the fire from squinting at notes, and all she’d need till she awoke was nightmare logic?
She swallowed and tossed her pale hair (that’s the kind of person she was). This will test it. “Are you… real? Sir?”
“Well, yes, I.” He didn’t trail off, just stopped to blink. “‘Sir’?” That was all he questioned.
Anita smiled finally, reassured. “So my song is stolen. Any bright ideas?”
“I can help you find it, if that’s what you’re asking.” His eyes lit up. Definitely green.
“Oh, and how?” Don’t bargain with your dream, girl, she thought, but Maybe I’ll feel better when I wake up if I sort this out first.
“I can take you to it. You just have to let me help you.”
“So you know where it is?”
Beneath the folds of his scarf, his chin lifted. “I didn’t take it.”
“I didn’t mean to imply that you did.” Anita could afford to be quite calm now. “But you seem to imply that you’re the only one who can help me find my song.”
“Not by a long shot,” he said, surprisingly. This wasn’t a ransom, then. “You’re driven to get there eventually, which is why it was taken.”
“I really don’t follow you.”
“To get the song on your own terms, listen to mine. Just give me the right to help you.” He held out his hand.
Anita turned to look at the wall clock deeper in the house, the snowman-shaped one, as it chimed midnight with a tinkling rendition of “Silent Night.”
“Christmas day,” she murmured. Her thoughts were already miles away from the room; her feet only had to follow.
“Mmm.” From the man on the doorstep, this wasn’t a hum between his lips, but a projection at her. “Please make your choice.”
If she’d been a writer instead of a singer… maybe she’d have done it all the same, just to see.
She shook his hand, feeling his threadbare glove and rough, bare fingertips. “All right.”

Comments

Wow! I love it. Your

Wow! I love it. Your introduction to Anita was amazing, and I love the how the whole idea of finding her song is so easy to understand, but at the same time very confusing and mysterious. I can't wait to read the next part!

Elizabeth Anne | Thu, 12/22/2011

See him with his books:
Tree beside the brooks,
Drinking at the root
Till the branch bear fruit.
See him with his pen:
Written line, and then,
Better thought preferred,
Deep from in the Word.
~John Piper

Great job.

 I really felt that you did a great job with Anita, and I understood very well who she was, which I consider an accomplishment since this is a short piece. So great job, and I'm looking forward to the next part!

Kathleen | Fri, 12/23/2011

Love it!

This is so good, and I am so intrigued! Can't wait to see the next installment!

Mary | Sat, 12/24/2011

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

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