Saturday 26 June 2021

'Cello on the Bus' by Lucy C Hooft

 I take my cello on the bus. The case smacks my shin. I flap her up the step, clattering the floor and crash my cello on the bus.

Eyes roll, heads swerve. Why are you carrying that around? Why are you laden down with something so cumbersome, in public?
Why are you taking up space meant for another?

The bus fills with people, bodies push, bruise, more mouths breathing, more people taking up space meant for another.

I lie her down, flattening her fluted back to the trembling floor. I prise her open, grasping the catches, identifying cracks, fractures, flares, exposing the fragile pulse within.

Do we have to listen? Do you have to intrude on our world with your hurt and your turbulent heart?

I spike the floor, her body fits mine like a single piece. Her curved waist, her pointed hips and shoulders, her slender neck peers across my shoulder.

I play my cello on the bus.

Metallic strings - taut like that moment - mark the flesh of my fingertips. Stretched-out sinews resound through vermiculated wood.

I play her melody, curling thoughts into feelings, released. My pull of bow on strings sends vibrations soaring into every crowded ear, ringing chords in every heart and giving life to her loss. A whisper, a quiet weeping swells to full-throated chorus, her voice breaks through in plucky, striking, quivering vibrato.

I bear my loss, in public.

I catch a smile, a heart lifted out of the hurry to work, the ear-buds, phone-bowed necks and now - here. Here in the bus, hearing her song.

I fill the missing space meant for another. And I am the one she always knew I could be. The one who plays her cello on the bus.

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