The International Writers Magazine
Tale of a Singer and his Lover
(Author's Note: First written in the dreadful city of New Orleans,
and lost to the daemons of carelessness. Just like the first time,
the second time was written with an attitude admiring all things
good and just, and with just as much inspiration. )
a street singer. Everyday, after school, he would run into the inner
city, away from the activities of his parents, and sing. Using his voice,
he accomplished what many other humans couldn't accomplish with any
means: he allowed his soul to take on a tangible form. There was a wide
variety of songs that he particularly liked, sometimes taking popular
songs off the radio even. He had out a small basket, to collect change
and sometimes even dollar bills. But it wasn't really about the money
for him. To him, singing was about giving someone an opportunity to
see something they didn't see before, allowing some the right to relive
the emotions of past experiences. It wasn't about being the greatest
or being the best. It was about using the singing to direct the passions
of another man. His attitude about it was just as marvelous as his singing.
It was not uncommon for an afternoon to come by where he had a small
crowd, sometimes old men snapping their fingers along and joining in
as the chorus. And Malcolm would sing just the same, sometimes louder,
even if it caused his voice to hurt -- and he would sing for them, just
to appease their restless, working class souls. The money he made from
it was never spent on anything extraordinary. Rather, it just went to
the normal things that a young child would purchase: candy, toys, and
By the age of 16, he started to sing for clubs, along with jazz and
R&B bands. Soon enough, at the tender age of 17, he had his own
humble abode in a cheap apartment. But it was enough. Any place where
he was allowed to stretch the limits of sound with his voice was enough.
It seemed as though years flew by from then on. Record deals came and
went. Love, life, adventure, all came to him. Travelling from city to
city in this crazy nation of the United States, he found a sort of peace.
The only thing that paralleled his appetite for singing, was his insatiable
desire for sex. By this it must be understood that he was not manipulative.
He did not believe that anything was justifiable in that it concluded
in sex. To him, sex, like singing, was an expression from the inner
soul. He pressed his warm flesh against that another's, not for the
sole sake of an orgasm, but for the chance to touch someone on the inside,
in a very spiritual sense. Needless to say, conventional religion served
him little. What good was a church when it told him that the most spiritual
thing was a form of shame? He spent those Sundays as he spent any day,
in the arms of a lover, showered in intimacy and kindness. The newspapers
discovered his taboo of "promiscuity" and was rebuked forever
from the churches. He reportedly told one newspaper, "I have no
need for the church. Its opinion of what I do holds no weight over my
head." The controversy helped record sales, but after a year or
so, it died down. His lifestyle went on, uninterrupted. He met and loved
many women, showing them each what he felt on the inside.
Two decades past of life like this, until he met one woman who he would
fall madly in love with. Her name was Tracy, and she lit a passion in
him that he could not deny. He will remember, until the end of his days,
the first day he saw her. In the light of the moment, he thought that
she was somewhat unattractive and even bourgeoise looking. Due to his
friend's coaxing -- the typical "Hey, come on, you gotta meet this
girl I know" -- Malcolm ended up talking to her. The conversation
unravelled, and he grew attracted to her. So she grew attracted to him
as well. Upon first meeting him, she thought of him as a typical superstar
-- something you can see and watch, but not something you can touch.
And once she discovered the very human side of this idol, she loved
him. The first night they met was the first time they would have sex
with each other. And it was the sort of passionate sex that comes with
engaging with someone who is almost a total stranger. One year passed
of life like this. They were engaged. And then they were married. In
her heart, Tracy loved Malcolm, as much as Malcolm loved her. She saw
him as some phenomenal figure, some great human being, to stand out
among the rest.
Another year, of great times, wonderful travelling, and passionate sex
passed. This one was under the sanction of a marriage, one which they
had arranged under a druidic sect. The churches referred to them as
a satanic couple, and would have nothing to do with them. Only under
an Eastern religion were they permitted to be wed, by a Taoist minister
who was more than willing to wed the couple. However, Malcolm started
to feel some pain in his throat. Whenever he sang, he felt miserable.
He decided to go to a doctor. The physician recommended to him that
he stopped singing, since it was now destroying his voice, and that
all the times he stretched beyond what he thought he couldn't have,
he shouldn't have. Malcolm nodded politely, and tears welled up on the
inside, and walked away, both full of feelings that the doctor was either
lying, or that it was all over, or that he can fix it, or some such
instant response. He went home. The rest of the day was spent in quiet
solitude, while Tracy tried to get him to talk -- almost as effective
as holding a carrot over a rabbit hole. Late that night, as the clock
passed 1:30 A.M., and all were asleep, Malcolm was still awake, and
pondering. He slowly got out of bed, so as not to disturb the tender
sleep of his wife -- who he had learned early on would awake to a kiss
on the face. He walked to his bathroom, took a long gaze at the depression
in his face, and then tried to sing, as long as he could, as high as
he could, as loud as he could, and before he could reach the tenth second
of this last recovery of pride, the pain became unbareable and he started
to cough. He noticed that he was coughing up blood. This would be the
last time he would ever sing.
He went to the doctor again, for a last visit, and asked what he could
do. The doctor said that there was no way to recover his voice, but
that he would have to keep the volume he used to an absolute minimum.
Malcolm and his wife disappeared from the entertainment industry, leaving
behind a big gap, and as aspiring artists would try to reclaim what
he left behind, it would always seem that something was missing.
Of course, by now, times were changing. Jazz was no longer a new fad.
Rock 'n' Roll was started to gain popularity. Just as it gained popularity,
like Jazz, it also was called the devil's music by the churches, and
its listeners practised an equally liberal sexual lifestyle. Malcolm
moved from the big city to a mansion on the coast. Every morning he
would awake to the calls of seagulls and the crashing of waves. He became
accustomed to using his voice softly in everything he did.
The first month of this lifestyle was good, for what he thought of the
lifestyle. But for Tracy, something that was once there no longer existed.
She had fallen in love with a singer named Malcolm. He was no longer
that singer, that man that people looked to as a great being, above
and better than the rest. He was just Malcolm, retired and weak. She
knew her vows, though, and she tried to accompany him and humor him.
But slowly, the discontentment grew in her. Like a small fire, destroying
more and more. The time came where she would go out on the town, spending
her husband's money, and not returning till 2:00 A.M. in the morning.
Inside, she felt a growing hate of her husband. She was bound by her
commitment to him. It felt as though she were a prisoner in this mansion.
That thing which kept her tied down, Malcolm, was the object of her
hatred. It was a seething, dark, deep hate that continued to grow, and
it manifested itself in how she made him suffer, and her smile for his
every frown, her laugh for his every tear. But she would do it in subtle
ways, so that she didn't have to directly confront the suffering she
caused, but still to reap all the vengeance that she desired.
One night she came home, and found Malcolm waiting for her. "Do
you still love me?" he asked.
She closed the door. "Yes," she said, holding her shopping
back, "I do. Why would you even ask me that?"
"You've been acting funny," he said, "I can feel it.
You don't feel the same."
"You're acting ridiculous," she said, patronizing him. She
couldn't even face him as she said this. Her back was turned to him
as she was emptying the goods she had purchased from her bag.
"If you don't love me, tell me," he said, "Because when
you come home late like this, or when you don't come home at all for
days, it worries me. It hurts me. I suffer because of it."
A secret smile shone forth, and then away.
"I do love you," she said, "And never forget it."
A week would pass. He was alone, home, staring in to the mirror, softly
humming. It was a sort of therapy for him, to get over what he had lost.
And as he looked into that mirror, seeing himself as an older person,
he remembered who he was. He remember those street corners he inhabited
as a child, those women whom he loved over the years, and the one he
now loves, or at least thinks he loves. He thought of Tracy, and he
thought of her body, the times they touched, and the love they shared.
Inspiration filled him, and he had to find her to tell her that he still
loved her. But she was gone. So he called her favorite restaurant. "Is
Tracy there?" Malcolm asked, only to hear that she was on her way
out. He jumped into his car and drove as fast as he could to get there.
He went inside, but she wasn't there. The waiter said she just left.
So he exited, still determined to find her and tell her that he loved
her. He found a payphone in the parking lot and called her cell phone.
"Tracy, where are you?" he asked.
"I just left the restaurant," she said, "Someone told
me you were coming for me, but I couldn't wait. I had to get to the
mall. Right now I'm driving on the highway and it's really loud."
"Tracy," he said, "I love you!"
"What?" she said, "I can't hear you."
"I love you!" he said, screaming, "I love you, Tracy!
I love you! I love you! I love you!" He kept screaming, blood pouring
out of his mouth and down his chin, until his voice was crippled to
that of a wease. "Tracy, I love you," he said, struggling
with the writhing pain.
She dropped her cell phone, and he turned around.
He saw her.
© Punkerslut April '03
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