Music Transforms

The old music hall, dark and abandoned for decades, was a sad replica of what it was once was. The seats, before a deep red, were now a dull blush. The stuffing billowed onto the dusty floor where the velvet coverings had been torn. The floorboards, faded and coated in layer upon layer of gray dust, were littered with the yellowed bits of music scores that once soared through the rows up to its vaulted ceiling. The only item that remained intact was a grand piano on the far right side of the stage.

The stillness was broken by the clicking of heels on the worn wood. A young man stopped in the doorway of the great room. His green eyes skimmed across the floor, up the graffitied walls, over to the broken window that was boarded over, and finally came to rest on the dilapidated piano. He took a few steps, hesitated, and glanced behind him. Making his decision, he strode towards the piano.

Standing in front of it, he gingerly reached forward and stroked its lid with his finger leaving a dark, dust-free line in it’s wake. As he rubbed his thumb and forefinger together–feeling the grittiness of the dust on his skin–he circled the piano. It was old, that’s for sure, but nothing seemed broken or out of place. Not even bothering to clean off the stool, he sat down and silently glided his fingers over the gray keys.

Slowly, softly he pressed down. The note was crisp and brought a slight smile to the man’s face. One key, then two, were quickly followed by an entire chord. His hands flew effortlessly over the keys as the time-worn piano sang beneath his gentle touch.

As the song progressed and grew in strength, the keys became a pure white and the grime disappeared from the entire piano. It’s pristine appearance stood out starkly against the dank appearance of the rest of the hall.

The notes were thundering from the piano now, and the man was lost in the world he was creating. As the music swirled from the piano, it created a wind that blew the dust away from that corner of the hall. Blasted by strength of the music that was being created, the dust and cobwebs were forced out of the hall.

Soon, it looked unrecognizable. The vaulted ceiling’s exquisite paintings were refreshed, the once faded and torn seats were bright and plush, and the floor shone in the sun the poured through the window. The man’s grin spread across his entire face as he looked out across his masterpiece.

All too soon, however, the last note died and faded away, taking with it all the glory it had returned to the hall. The man removed his hands from the keys and folded them in his lap as he sighed contentedly. The playing of the piano had returned the hall to its former glory for just a moment. For that is the power of music: the ability to reveal the beauty in any thing, any place, or anyone.


Sleepless in the Middle of the Atlantic

Sleep. We all need it for our bodies to function healthily, but lately, I find myself running on fewer and fewer hours of it. As of now, I’ve had 2 hours of shut-eye in the last 32 hours. I have a good reason this time though, for I’m currently writing this en route to Israel!

My family–Mom, Dad, and sister–and I are on an El Al flight from Newark, NJ to Tel Aviv, Israel. The ten hour flight is currently halfway over as we glide somewhere above the Atlantic. I’ve tried to sleep, but it’s difficult between the dim lighting, people chattering, and turbulence bouncing you awake. Normally, I can fall asleep anywhere, no matter the surroundings. Maybe it’s the caffeine still rushing through my veins, or the adrenaline of the week-long adventure ahead of me, but I’m wide awake.

Since my body is refusing to rest, I’m thinking about all the months that were spent talking and planning for this. I still can’t believe it’s really happening! Maybe, once I step outside onto the soil of the Jewish homeland, it will finally sink in.

I have no clue what to expect of this trip, and I have no expectations. I’m in it for the adventure and the experience of setting foot in the Land. Hopefully the energy of the place will keep this sleep-deprived body functioning through the first day of our tour!

All This to Say “Happy Birthday”

We all need a best friend. Whether it is a parent, a sibling, a significant other, or someone totally unrelated to us, there is nothing like having someone we can fully rely on. A best friend is someone we can disclose our true selves to—without having to worry what they will think of us. We can share our darkest secrets, sharpest pains, and also our joys. It’s someone we can act silly with, but also share deep, serious moments. Best friends are so closely tied that a single look can convey an entire thought—usually resulting in uncontrollable laughter. Even if we haven’t talked to our best friend in ages, we can always pick up right where we left off.

This post is in honor of my best friend of 12 years. Today, she turns twenty—the big 2-0. Even though we’ve lived 5 hours apart for the past 10 years, we haven’t let that deter us. Numerous phone calls, texts, tweets, letters, Facebook posts, and Snapchats—all of which probably number in the thousands—have allowed us to remain within reach. We’ve had arguments, shared innumerable laughs, and moments of sadness. We’ve challenged, supported, and inspired each other. I’ve seen her grow up from a young girl addicted to horses and Oreos, to a beautiful young woman who moved across the country to pursue her passion of ballet—while still addicted to Oreos. Granted, we both got into our fair share of trouble along the way, but there isn’t a single moment I would ever want to replace.

Emma, I love you and miss you. Your vibrancy and attitude of living life to the fullest is rare. Hold onto it; never let it go. If you want something, go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Make mistakes and learn from them. You are your own person on your own path; take the detours, stop and enjoy the flowers along the way, and above all, continue being amazingly, wonderfully, and uniquely YOU. All in all, I want to wish you a very happy 20th birthday. It’s only going to happen once, so enjoy it!

The Coldest Winter

It seems I have a recurring theme lately: snow. Perhaps it’s because that’s all I’ve seen since November! Here in Michigan, we’re about 3 inches away from the snowiest winter on record. After a taste of 50 degrees a few days ago, I’m so over the latest 7 inches of snow we got today. I just keep reminding myself that it will be summer eventually! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my latest.

The Coldest Winter

Arms folded and brows furrowed, the young woman stared at the shimmering, snow-covered field in front of her. Breaking through the clouds, the sun’s rays kissed her hair. Lost in her memories, she was oblivious to the strands that blew across her face. The wind, as if attempting to bring her back to earth, howled and grew stronger. Much like the thoughts gathering in her heart, the clouds quickly accumulated and blocked out the brightness of the sun. As the frigid air seeped through her jacket, she shuddered and pulled the wool fabric closer to her slender body, and she tucked her red, chapped hands under her arms to shield them from the cold. Despite the low temperatures and biting wind that were adding to her misery, she wasn’t quite ready to turn away and go back inside.

Remembering the last time she had been in that field, she squeezed her eyes shut; a single tear crept through the dark lashes curled against her white skin. The tear slid down her cheek, glistened on the end of her chin, and remained suspended. Transported back in time, her cold lips turned up slightly and the furrowed brows slowly relaxed. It was fall—harvest time in that small town—and the blue skies contrasted sharply with the brown soybean fields. Sitting in the tractor as he harvested the plants that were tended so carefully over the summer, she didn’t have a care in the world. As they drove in straight lines across the field, they shouted to each other over the rhythmic hum of the large machine sharing stories, jokes, and dreams. Slowly drawing in a breath, she tried to recall the warm, earthy smell that always surrounded that man. Instead, she gasped as the frozen air entered her lungs and jolted her back to reality.

Bending down and scooping up the pure, white snow, she let it slide through her open hands. It fell through quickly, much like the short time they had spent together, but a few snowflakes remained stuck to her palms. However, the small bit of warmth in her hands soon melted the flakes and left tiny puddles on her skin. The snowflakes were gone; their intricate beauty now only memories. She wiped her hands down the front of her jacket and realized the time they had spent together was nothing more than those snowflakes: mere memories.

She needed to get a grip on herself and let him go. She was, after all, the one who had walked away from him in the first place. She knew it never would have worked between them anyway, and a small cloud escaped her lips as she sighed and turned her back to the field. Setting her gaze on the horizon, she straightened her shoulders and smoothed her windswept hair. The first few steps were timid, but each one grew in strength and purpose as she refused to stay frozen in her memories. Even the coldest winter must come to an end—melting away to spring and the reawakening of the world.

Free Write Friday: Image Prompt

Time for another Free Write Friday! This house has a story, what is it?

Image Credit: We Heart It

Image Credit: We Heart It

The warm rays of yet another sun rising over the horizon slowly awakened the old, dilapidated farmhouse. Her boards creaked and groaned as she settled into a more comfortable position. The sun, shining on the gray paint, which was once white, illuminates the areas where it has peeled and exposed the naked boards beneath. The old farmhouse is deteriorating slowly: shingles gone after every storm, the second-level porch sagging on its supports, half the shutters now missing. She remembered when she was young, vibrant, and full of life. Then, she was home to a family of humans and not the current one of raccoons living in her cellar.

She could easily remember those days. Her family filled every corner of her then—maybe too many people for that one house—and two generations had been born and raised there. Of the many people who had romped through her halls, one person always stood out as special to her. His name was John.

Her loyalty laid not to the man who had created her, painstakingly building her from scratch, but to his grandson, John. John loved the house, and she loved him. She remembered when he carved his name into her side stating that she was “forever and always his house.” He would leave—for college, to visit his fiancé, or for extended trips—but he would always return. The last time he left, he was old and gray—much like she was now.

John’s children had convinced him he couldn’t remain in the house any longer. He was frail and no longer able to care for her as he once did. When he left her walls for the final time, she didn’t know anything would be different. She believed he would one day return. The grass grew long, the seasons blended into years, yet she still waited. She waited for the day that John would return to her; bringing with him the warmth and love that she so desperately craved, never once contemplating that he wouldn’t.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

I was looking through the many Weekly Writing Challenges, and for some reason, this one hit me. I started getting ideas of the different forms of silence: loving and peaceful, angry and tense, and, finally, reflective and reminiscent. How have you experienced silence?

She was Silence

She remembers the early days. When they were content to sit and say nothing to each other. She would wrap them in her warmth; they would feel so safe, so secure under her blanket. Hours would pass, but they would seem as minutes. She could stay there all day, contently watching as they basked in her solitude. She needed to say nothing, for that is what she was. She was Silence.

Silence is different now. She is tougher, yet easily shattered with a sharp word that cuts her stillness like a knife. Silence is awkward. She is a barrier between what was and what could have been: a wall separating the two halves that were once one.

Silence floats alone through the empty rooms. She is a reminder of times not yet fully forgotten. She is still, yet able to stir up emotions long forgotten during moments of reflection. Remembering what was—and feeling pained at the memories—she cannot make a sound. Silence, in any form, is still Silence.

I’m New. Bear With Me.

This January, I challenged myself to accomplish 52 goals during the year 2014. One of those goals was to start a blog—which I did early this morning. Now that I’ve jumped into the blogosphere, I’m not exactly sure what I plan on doing while I’m here.

When I was younger, I used to write—a lot. I kept a journal and would religiously write about my day. Somewhere, I even have a notebook filled with random poems. I’m not sure why, but for some reason, I just stopped. I ceased the journals, the poems, and the little stories. Towards the end of my high school career, and my freshman year of college, I insisted that I hated writing. I would procrastinate on my essays until the night before they were due, which always resulted in me panicking and staying up late into the night. Despite the fact that I always franticly wrote my assignments, I ended up pulling off amazing grades.

Just a few weeks ago, I started a job as a writing tutor at my college. (Yes, that’s right, a writing tutor who insisted she hated writing). Seeing the numerous essays pass in front of me, I began to be inspired to once again create and paint pictures with only my words. One night, while I was feeling particularly down and confused about a recent event, I decided to just write whatever came to mind. Leaning back, I was shocked at what I had written. I couldn’t believe that I had just written something that was not assigned to me, and that I had thoroughly enjoyed myself! After five years, my writer’s block was gone. I was back.

Last night, I was feeling particularly guilty about keeping my writings to myself. I enjoy reading others’ works, so why should I keep my writings hidden away and just continue to take—never giving anything back? I decided that now was the perfect time to check off another goal for 2014: create a blog.

The blog is started, and I have content written up and waiting in the wings. I don’t like being molded into a box, and I won’t do so with this blog. I plan on varying between short, creative bursts of fiction and vivid, descriptive pieces when the mood strikes, and whatever else I happen to want to write about. I have no clue what I’m doing or where I’m going, but my only hope is that reading this blog brings you the same sense of joy and freedom I get while writing it.