I now present the second part of Guitar Case!
If you haven’t read the first part, then click here: PART ONE
For the rest of you, let’s begin.
And indeed he was not curious, there was no reason to open the case. It was a backup guitar. It was only there in case his main one broke. So far, he had never needed to open it.
Though oddly enough, a few years went by, and his main guitar did break. It was a minor accident, nothing of note. But when he looked at the case, he decided that he wasn’t going to open it. He pooled money, and bought another: a fresh guitar, and the cherry red stayed within its case.
The bar closed, and then several more did, but he never lost hope. There were dangerous times certainly; times where he could not rely on his guitar to live. But they were thankfully short periods, and he found himself still playing as a man of fifty. His fingers were not as nimble, the stools hurt his body; but still he played. He played and he played and he played. Every night he went till everyone left the room, till the last drink, till his eyes went cross. He played for himself, and for the air.
As he packed up one night, he watched a woman walk up to him. He could feel his jaw clench, expecting the insipid questions of his cherry red. He didn’t want to talk. It was always the same. His tongue formed the words to send her away. The script of the mundane.
“Want to come over to my place?” This was new, he’d never been asked. He assumed he never would. She was beautiful.
“Yes?” They smiled at him. No. She smiled at him. Her. She. One. One person asked him something. One person asked him something new.
It was different.
Their relationship started with sex. It was not ideal, but it worked for him. He played now for someone else. He played for someone who knew his name. He woke up to someone’s face. The drinks fell away, and the cigarettes as well. His music grew in those days, grew in scope and love. Soon a child was there to listen as well.
She was like her mother: his biggest fan. Even when life required he do more than play, he made songs for them. He didn’t even mind when his daughter asked the question, the one he had almost forgot.
“Daddy, what’s in the case?”
“A cherry red guitar.”
“Is it pretty?”
“I don’t know. I like to think so.”
“Can I see it?”
“One day.” His daughter knew him enough to stop there. But every day she looked at the case, and wondered if the guitar was as pretty as her Dad’s others. She couldn’t open it though, she didn’t have the key.
His fingers stopped one day, and he could not play anymore. His daughter sang to fill the house again, and even when she moved out she kept on singing. She was like her dad, and beautiful like her mom. She sang for herself and for the air. She sang for a living.
She sang for a boy.
His house was quiet now, and soon enough so was his wife. He didn’t stop though, he woke up alone, but his life was still going. He made friends, he visited places, and he listened to his daughter’s songs. Turning on the radio made him the happiest father in the world.
He filled himself with other people’s songs till he ran out of his own. He felt it when the notes left, and on that night he went and found that old cherry red guitar, still in its case. The key clicked, the entire thing unlocked, and he touched the clasps with frail old hands. But for that moment, arthritis saw fit to let his grip stay strong.
He opened the case and looked inside, and with a quiet smile he closed it again. That night, he fell asleep for the final time.
A few weeks later his daughter, on perhaps one of the saddest days of her young life, received a key with the following note attached:
“It is beautiful.”
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