Shifting the Paradigm

Fixing the old way of thinking…

Heart Strings

People walk past him every morning, in a rush to get to the office.

He’s on the same corner every day wearing the same clothes, playing the same guitar, holding the same blank stare.

Most people act like he’s invisible.

On this typical day, the six-stringed storyteller broke concentration long enough to nod his head in thanks to a Lady who just dropped a dollar in his guitar case.

“Thank ya kindly, ma’am. I do appreciate it.”

The Lady, who had been listening to the Man for quite some time, looked at him with a smile.

“I should be saying thank you, sir. Your stories make my walk to work something to look forward to.”

“I just tell ’em like I hear ’em.” The Man strummed a chord, then hummed a melodic tune.

“Hear them?” the Lady asked. “You’re making these stories up as you go?”

“Well, ma’am…you might can say that,” the Man said as he continued to strum. “I hear people on their mobile telephones as they walk right past me. I hear storekeepers as they throw me out of their stores. I see people’s faces as they look right through me. These stories are their stories as I hear ’em.”

The Lady looked away from the Man for a moment, feeling a quick pang of guilt. She has probably been the subject for songs like these in her lifetime.

She returned her gaze to the musical mystic.

“If you get to tell other people’s stories, then who tells yours?”

The Man stopped his playing altogether, then fixed his tired eyes upon the Lady.

“Ma’am, I got no story to tell. But if I did, then this guitar would bear that burden.”

“The guitar? How can a guitar speak?”

“You gotta use the ears God gave ya. When I’m feeling down, my chords sound a little off, like they’ve run outta steam. When I’m feeling happy, I can actually bar all six strings for the F chord. When I’m feeling upset-like, all I play are songs in C or G. To get to know me, ya gotta get to know my guitar.”

The Lady smiled her biggest smile of the conversation.

“Sir, I think that was the wisest advice I’ve ever received.”

“Like I said, ma’am…I just tell ’em like I hear ’em.”


July 17, 2006 - Posted by | Flash and Short Fiction

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