Tuesday, March 2, 2010

When the night turns to blue

Triangle - 388 Words
Sarah Van Name

In our high school all-girl band, I played the triangle. Maria had a lovely voice and Ellen’s fingers on the piano struck sparks, Beth’s careful guitar strums vibrated the very air, but I was bereft of musical talent except for the one, two, three, four that I could feel from my ankles to my teeth. I would not have been able to play the drums. It would have overwhelmed me. But I could listen for an off-beat and hit one thin piece of metal with another just as the voice died out, as the chord resolved. This at least I could do.

Sometimes I helped Beth write the lyrics, too. And I heard my words changed into melody as Maria’s thin body hugged an invisible microphone stand. “When the night turns to blue, I go searching for you,” she sang; the piano shivered, the guitar turned away disappointed, and my triangle bit sweetly into the air as if oxygen were an extraordinary fruit.

After practices like that, I would sit on the porch in the warm summer night, waiting for the mosquitoes to steal away my blood. Insomnia kept me there and I sang the songs in my head, tapping my knee with the rhythm of the triangle. Sometimes, in the delirium of exhaustion, I would start to think about expanding the possibilities of my instrument. I forged metal squares, circles, ovals, diamonds, shapes which had no name twisted like ribbon falling to the floor. One morning after one of those nights, my mother found me in the chair, bites on my calves, colors and shapes and words still swirling about my head in a maelstrom of light and sound.

She could not see these things. So she smoothed the brittle texture of the porch chair from my cheek, told me to wash my hands, and brought me a glass of orange juice. After I was cleaned up, I went to my room and opened the window. I hung the triangle there and hit it once. It sounded lonely, like a lost child.

I had dreamed of it taking the form and hum of the sun, of touching the fire of eternity with my young fingers; the mystical number three, creation stories, a raindrop hitting the ground and forming a silver shape. But it needed a human beat.

Have A Little Faith In Me - John Hiatt

1 comment:

  1. Very sharp. A very distinct voice for the character and the work itself...