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Music Box: A Short Story
Boy, do you see that girl? Yes, of course you do. You can’t seem to take your eyes from her in homeroom, then again during math class, and at church every Sunday. She’s actually paying attention in church and school, except for in math because she’s bored. She’s too smart for the algebra, so she doodles around the divided polynomials you haven’t started yet on college ruled paper. She draws bubbles and hearts of different sizes and shades. You wonder what the hearts are for? Well girls will forever be drawing hearts, with or without special design or intent, though frequently with.
But you’re already forgetting the hearts as she glances your way and smiles. She is always smiling and loves to see others doing so. She seems to laugh second loudest in her bevy of friends and is second shortest. When embarrassed her hands will quickly cover her face and when nervous her right foot fidgets. How the long hair is done up you can’t conceive and she swears that she does not spend time fussing over it. Taking teasing well and willing to return some, however, she never flirts. All boys appear to be the same to her, and she doesn’t go out of her way to talk to them. She will listen to anything her friends need to talk about, but rarely speaks of her own problems. She knows how hard it is to find someone else who actually wants to listen. You would listen; you love talking to her. You feel close to her, yet something is always in reserve. Except that one time, she nearly opened up; you thought she was so happy, and then the talk went suddenly morbid.
“Do music boxes remind you of death?”
“That’s kinda gloomy, don’t you think?”
“Yes. I guess so, but do they?”
“Well I don’t know, what about them reminds you of death?’
“Once they’re wound…they start really fast, but the music gradually gets slower and slower. Until it’s so slow you think it must stop any moment, but somehow it keeps just barely going. Then suddenly it will stop, without any warning, like it’s been cut off, just when you thought it would go a little longer. It just stops, like a last breath. Sorry…that is probably strange, but that’s always what it’s made me think of. Music boxes are sad.”
“No, no, it’s ok. I’ve never thought of them that way before.”
You may not have known it boy, but in telling you that, as mundane and peculiar as that was, she felt as if she gave part of herself away. Some deep part she wasn’t aware was there until it was gone. Something she swore she would never give away again. Her deepest thoughts and feelings are things few will ever know. You want to know them; you feel she is different from everyone else. You’ve told her this, indirectly. She has caught on, don’t worry.
Her smile guards her broken heart. You see, everything you want to tell her, is everything she wants to hear, and she wants to hear it from you. And she wants to believe that it will all be true, but there is part of her that can’t. There is part of her that--