[oneshot] Girl with the guitar

Nov 4th, 2018
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  1. >She is crying.
  3. >You don’t really know why you noticed it—you were just staring at your phone while passing, really—but there it is.
  4. >You don’t even know her name.
  5. >You don’t know where she lives or what she does, you have no idea how old she is, even.
  6. >She is just one of those people.
  7. >One of those you see every day but never really talk to, the ones that just happen to take the same train to work in the morning or be on shift in the coffee shop across the street when you walk past on your way to lunch.
  8. >Nothing more than passing spirits.
  9. >Familiar faces.
  10. >Ghosts.
  11. >And yet, they are present enough in your mind that you recognize their absence when you change your schedule.
  12. >Or they do.
  14. >For you, one of those ghosts is a girl—you guess she is a high-school student, judging from her backpack—who plays her guitar in front of the train station when you walk home.
  15. >You never bothered to stop and listen.
  16. >You might have dropped a few coins into her guitar case in passing once or twice, but you never really looked at her face.
  17. >The girl with the guitar and the cowboy hat is just a temporary, fleeting impression on your senses, a gentle melody and soft voice that stays with you for a corner or two before getting lost under the city’s noise again.
  19. >But not today.
  20. >Today, although the reason for it escapes you, you sit down on a bench across the plaza, watching the girl perform her songs for the first time in your life.
  21. >She is one of the less annoying street musicians, you suppose, her pieces are neither too loud nor too out of place in the hustle and bustle of the station.
  22. >On the contrary—she likes to sing quietly, making it seem like she was performing more for herself than the passing commuters.
  23. >You allow her tunes to envelop you, to take you away from the busy chatter and the noise of the oncoming trains.
  24. >The song is pensive, the least imposing you have ever heard from her, almost subtle in its delivery.
  25. >The girl with the golden hair and the worn-out hat is all but whispering the lyrics over the low strums of her guitar.
  26. >Her tears are silently running down her cheeks and drip onto the cracked asphalt below.
  28. >Dark and sorrowful words tell of lost time, empty streets, and the sad, silent end of the world.
  29. >They fill you with dread, almost dishearteningly so, but there is a high note to her singing that’s impossible to miss, too, a subtle light that gives the whole thing a hopeful undertone.
  30. >She is not shrieking about inevitable doom, isn’t lecturing you about the fragile, inevitable joke of it all.
  31. >The girl is simply singing about the other side of the coin.
  32. >Here, amidst the crowds of people too busy to hear her, she manages to capture the pulsing, beautiful heartbeat of her reality and turn it into something audible.
  33. >Something real.
  35. >You watch her perform all of her songs, occasionally closing your eyes and letting her guide you somewhere else.
  36. >You are not entirely sure where, but it’s not an altogether bad place.
  37. >On the contrary.
  39. >By the time the last note rings out from her guitar, the plaza is nearly empty.
  40. >The music stops after lingering for just another second, letting the ragged clouds it somehow managed to conjure dissipate and give way to the stars above.
  41. >The girl is already packing away her instrument, carefully scraping together the coins people have thrown into the case during her act.
  42. >Wiping the last runaway tears from her cheeks, she turns to leave.
  43. >Still numbed, still connected to her world by the music lingering in your ear, you finally continue your own way home, leaving in the opposite direction.
  44. >You know, in that very moment, that you will never again see her golden hair catch the afternoon sunlight in front of the station.
  45. >And you can live with that.
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