Music for ghosts

by | Dec 10, 2011 | Fiction, Flash fiction, Relationships | 6 comments

Music for Ghosts
By Laura McHale Holland

Sleepless and in pain, Mireille hears murmuring by her bedroom window. She looks outside and sees familiar translucent forms gathering in the darkness along the backyard fence. She angles into the wheelchair at the side of the bed, lifts a mandolin from her cluttered dressing table, and maneuvers out of the bedroom through the house and down the ramp into her yard.

There she sees them, swaying like silver leaves blowing in the breeze: her mother and father, husband, grandparents, sister, brothers, best friends from childhood, the son who died while a babe in the crib—all her loved ones lost from the many stages of her long life.

She picks up the mandolin and begins to pluck as though arthritis had never invaded her fingers. Her loved ones surround her and dance—she strong as the maypole, they light as ribbons. She plays on until, hours later, she closes her eyes and drops the mandolin into her lap.

Mireille’s daughter stops by later and finds her mother in the yard, sleeping to the rising sun. As daughter pushes mother back into the house and then makes hot tea, Mireille promises to stop playing music for ghosts every night. She promises to take her sleeping pills and her pain medication. She promises to play bingo at the church on Mondays and Wednesdays and attend the water aerobics class at the Y on Thursdays. She promises many things to get her daughter out of her hair and off to work. Then Mireille sleeps the day away in her chair, hands at peace on the mandolin resting in her lap.

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  1. Jerry Kohut

    nothing like playing for her lost loved ones. Bringing in the spirit with a song. how cool is that!

  2. admin

    Thanks, Jerry. Yes, I think she knows she’ll be joining them soon and is more in their world than the here and now, and that’s okay.

  3. Sarah Le Moignan

    I hope on the day I pass, my family and friends on the other side come to me. Thank you for a beautiful piece, Laura.

  4. Robin Leigh Morgan

    Quite moving and powerful this week Laura. This week I quite sure we might be on the same wavelength.

    Mireille, given her condition which seems to have taken a great of life away from her. She hears the familiar voices from her past, and sees their translucent images. She takes her mandolin from the dressing table, a reminder of the days when she had been well, and full of life; and maneuvers her wheelchair through the house into the backyard.

    There the images become real for her he remember those days when they had been alive, and begins to play her instruments, just as she did while they had been alive. She remembers them dancing around her as she played.

    She had dreamt all this until her daughter came by at dawn, and brought her back inside. After Mereille promises her daughter everything and she leavest. Mereille takes her mandolin once again into her hands, placing it on her lap, and closing her eyes; she falls asleep again.
    She sleeps the day away, her entire body including her hands at peace. A sleep this time in which she is once again in the company of her entire family doing her favorite thing of playing the mandolin, while they dance around her.

    The sleep of death, is a wonderful thing, especially after years of suffering.


    PS – Glad you liked my comment regarding your blog tour

  5. admin

    Thank you, Sarah, for reading my story and for leaving such a lovely comment. I hope the same for the day I pass.

  6. admin

    Yes, Robin Leigh, we are on the same wavelength with this one. Thanks for sharing your perceptions once again. :o)

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