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A Sound of Music

The misplaced aria

By KJ AartilaPublished about a month ago 3 min read
A Sound of Music
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

I was lost with a hard swallow.

I kept trying to resurface, confused about her choice to not disclose her honesty as we always had before, but each time I tickled her throat, I felt her swallow again. And she would start to cough.

Every time the coughs grew too disruptive to the masses, she swallowed hard again, until I finally found myself deep enough to not object when the giggles appeared from her mouth in place of the truth I knew. We knew.

I must have been placed behind her eyes, because I could see what was happening, but couldn’t cry out. In soundless disbelief, I stayed and watched as we developed throughout the years. What she did, and what I did, felt like well-intended deceit, if there is such a thing.

She spoke the words as expected by others, so no one would consider her mute, but her laughter seemed hollow now. Forced. I could feel that, even from my new location.

I felt sad, but no one saw the tears behind the golden smiles, or heard the sobs over the words of adoration.

She grew bossy and mean towards some in her mimicry, but coveted by many, as she tried to grow into the example of the woman before her. I felt the hardness enveloping her heart, but my words of warning in her head were dismissed. She became convinced not to listen to me because it was oft repeated, I was wrong. She did not want to be awkward and weird and scorned for her opinions, so she warped her opinions to fit expectations, and ignored me. I didn’t much like that time, but we managed.

Every once in a great while, someone seemed to glimpse there was more hiding behind her eyes than she would let on, but the people who liked her quiet and agreeable as she was, kept her distanced from others encouraging her to potentially let me out, so the girl learned to keep her gaze diverted. Soon, everyone forgot about her possible words and languished in the status quo.

For years, we existed this way – quietly trying to fit-in and be acceptable. To be a good friend, daughter and wife. Never quite good enough, though. She never really felt the depths of those things reliably. Only a comfortable (to others) surface-clean. I always felt her dis-ease, but learned to remain soft, so as not to be completely separated. I kept hoping that someday, she would want me back. I wanted to be relatively easy to find.

I kept whispering to her in the quiet moments, so she still knew I was there, even when she chose not to hear me.

One day, some music took us by surprise, invading her spirit and pumping my beat. She listened for a minute, then began to sing. Quietly, at first, until I could feel her get comfortable with the rhythm and the sound of her own voice. Then she wailed and I was set free. Free upon the notes of an aria.

Her bright green eyes are beautiful, shining without the haunting shadows of misplaced trust. And her true voice, I am, lovely.

Short StoryMicrofiction

About the Creator

KJ Aartila

A writer of words in northern WI with a small family and a large menagerie.

My Substack

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Comments (10)

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  • Hayley Mattoabout a month ago

    Great take on the challenge, powerful piece!!

  • How that voice longs to spring forth, whether right or wrong.

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Absolutely beautiful. Such a great take on the challenge.

  • This is such a creative way to interpret the prompt for the challenge. Magnificent work!

  • Celia in Underlandabout a month ago

    Exquisite 🤍 Such a beautful metaphor 🤍

  • Randy Bakerabout a month ago

    Wonderful prose!

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    I feel the freedom in the moment. Really well done!

  • Heather Hublerabout a month ago

    Lovely work :)

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Poignantly written!!! Loved it!!!💕♥️♥️

  • Vicki Lawana Trusselli about a month ago


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