I'll Always Have My Music
Phil had always wanted a Gibson guitar growing up, but he could never afford one. He had the money now, but he had a family, too. For the past couple of years, something had been missing in Phil’s life. He loved his wife and kids dearly, yet some days he felt beyond worn-out, beyond fraying at the seams. There was a tiny hole in his heart.
After his doctor’s appointment, he pulled into the parking lot near Mel’s Music. He hadn’t planned on stopping here before heading home, but a feeling in his stomach made him halt.
Phil stepped out of the car with one goal in mind for his on-a-whim visit: he wanted to play. Just for a few minutes.
When he stepped inside the store, a gentle acoustic was playing from the back corner. When the bell dinged, the guitar stopped, and an older man appeared.
“Hey, brother. How may I help you?” A small, faded nametag clipped to his shirt read Mel.
Phil’s palms got sweaty, and he felt his heart rate increase. What the hell was the matter with him?
“Hey,” Phil began, almost stammering. “Got any Gibsons? I haven’t played in forever, but I was just hoping to mess around for a bit.”
“Oh, absolutely. Come on back with me. I’m Mel, by the way.”
“Pleasure to meet you.” The two men shook hands. “Let me show you what we’ve got.”
Phil couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but the man’s eyes shone with vibrancy. With life. He exuded an aura of calmness.
“You looking for something new or do you want to take a look at some used ones?”
Phil considered this, then said, “Let me see the new ones.”
“You bet.” Mel opened a door to a back room, asked his assistant to man the storefront, and then brought Phil with him.
Tall, cardboard boxes lined the walls in this temporary resting place, this guitar haven. There must have been hundreds of them, maybe even thousands.
“Holy shit,” Phil whispered.
Mel chuckled. “I still say it sometimes, too. There’s a lot of ‘em, right? Come on, Gibsons are this way.”
They walked over to the far corner. Mel took out the individual guitars as if they were made of fragile glass. When he handed them over to Phil, one at a time, he did so delicately.
Phil plucked and strummed, closed his eyes, found himself again. These were familiar places, familiar roads.
Maybe he simply needed music in his life again.
When Mel handed him the G-00 acoustic with a natural finish, it only took a single strum to know this was the one. The sound was pure and clear. He forgot where he was standing for a few minutes, but Mel let him go – gave him the time he must have needed.
“So, what do you think?” Mel asked when Phil finally looked up.
“Well,” Phil began, “I honestly wasn’t looking to buy anything, but…”
Mel smiled. “There’s no pressure either way, son.”
“But I think I fell in love.”
“Of course you did. All over again, by the look of things.” Mel clapped him on the back and let out a laugh.
Phil cracked a smile. “Yeah, I guess you could say that. What’s the price?”
“Let me double-check.” Mel wandered off for a minute – probably to his computer – and came back. “One thousand.”
Phil bit his lower lip. “Maybe I ought to look at some used ones.”
Mel considered this but quickly waved his comment away. “Tell you what. I’ll give it to you for seven-fifty.”
“Really?” Phil said. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah, what the hell. Besides, the used guitars already have their stories. Their memories. You ought to write your own on a clean slate.” Mel looked him over. “Got a wife?”
Mel nodded like he already knew. Then he spoke, eyes glistening: “My wife’s gone. Kids, too. Life can throw it at you sometimes, you know what I’m saying? But I’ll tell you what – even though they’re no longer with me… I’ll always have my music.”
Thanks so much for reading “I’ll Always Have My Music” — I hope you enjoyed it. My brother is a hell of a guitar player, so I guess you could say I wrote this story for him.
Before you go, feel free to leave a song or a band you’ve been listening to lately. I’ve been on a bit of a mellow Van Morrison kick, but “Hate Dancin” by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (what a name, right?) has been on my playlist, too. Their music video gave me a good laugh!
I hope you all have a great week!
Fifties by the Fire
Thanks a bunch to everyone who continues to show up to these “fires” where we get a chance to share stories with each other. It’s always a delight to see where all writers take the prompt.
Our next fire will be held this Friday, February 3 at 3:00 PM EST. The reason behind the change in start time is so I can be an active host. 7:00 AM was becoming increasingly difficult for me due to work, so I appreciate your understanding!
Prompt: Write a fifty-word story (or poem, or work of CNF — whatever you want!) that focuses on a parent/child relationship or a parent/child interaction. Your story can focus on a single moment or span a lifetime. See where the idea takes you!
Same guidelines as always.
Thanks, everyone. Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!
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"used guitars already have their stories. Their memories. You ought to write your own on a clean slate.”
So true. The longer you have a guitar, the more stories it has. I couldn't imagine a life without music or playing guitar.
If you don't mind I am going to plug my new-ish band. We have our first real (paying) gig Saturday. We have been live-streaming on TikTok for a year.
Here is a song I wrote:
Very enjoyable story. Sometimes during the ritual of life we need to find an outlet that we alone enjoy and just do it.