As I mentioned in the introduction, I like to write stories as a leisure activity. I mainly write Fantasy and Science Fiction, but I also like to write for special occasions, just like several friends, relatives and colleagues already experienced. In the files, I found a nice short story about two guitars. I wrote it some time ago as an add-on to a birthday present (two lovely small guitar shaped ear drops) for my wife Erna. The story is below.
A dry, warm and sunny day got to an end in a small Mediterranean town. The houses with white and almost terra-cotta coloured walls still radiated the heat of the burning sun. On the streets, life started to show a bit of fizz, work was done and people walked around, had their dinner on a pavement or their own balcony, or just chatted about anything what life brought to discussion. The heat diminished and the cool of the evening was enjoyable.
Evening fell in a small ancient district of the town, a place where little streets and alleys twisted like the passages of the Labyrinth of the Minotaur. Somewhere from the houses a song arose. Passionately drawing out with a typical oriental character, a voice sang about the everyday love and cruelty. Duende.. El Amor y La Muerte..
In his workshop, the Guitar Builder put the finishing touch to an instrument. He had built many, he had sold slightly less. In his workshop a few new guitars stood neatly aligned, just waiting for a passionate guitarist who wanted to buy one.
The Guitar Builder adjusted the tuning pegs of the head, checked the frets on the finger board for sharp edges, filed them where he found it necessary and tapped the body of the instrument approvingly. After that he strung the instrument, tuned the strings and polished the body.
"Well, she's ready for the Muse, now", the man talked to himself, "may life be good to you, my lovely Irynia!"
The Guitar Builder had the remarkable habit to name his instruments. Is it that strange, though? He put his heart in the instruments, they were as it were his children. Usually you give children a suitable name, at least you think it is before they are born. He had given the other guitars in his shop the names Juaniño, Julieta and Laetitia. In this way he gave many names: he was a skilful Guitar Builder and many of his instruments sang all over the country and abroad.
He tuned the instrument again, plucked the strings for a few chords and played a simple but beautiful melody. Irynia sang beautifully and the sweetness of her tones brought Juaniño in sheer resonance.
"Strange", Juaniño mused to himself, "If Irynia is singing, my heart sings as much, when Julieta and Laetitia sang, I did not feel anything. What a strange feeling. Would this be falling in love?"
He could not do more than thinking about it, because guitars suffer from the tragedy that they only speak if someone plays them. Only then they are able to speak in the resonance of their moods.
The Guitar Builder put Irynia on a stand beside the other guitars, just within Juaniño's view. Then he put on his jacket, closed the workshop and walked home where a warm welcome from his family awaited him. He whistled a joyful tune that could be heard blocks away above the everyday noise.
Poor Juaniño... He was so impressed by his resonance by Irynia that he could not remain quietly. Restless and confusing thoughts haunted through his body and neck, vaguely audible as a fragment of a tone. He felt extremely surprised, never had he been brought to resonance by an other guitar. He still cherished the tone that vibrated in his heart.
And Irynia? Well, she just sang and that was it. There she stood, being beautiful but unaware of what she did to Juaniño. Her own tone had been that strong that she did not sense the resonance with the other guitar. Laetitia and Laetitia watched the scene with sheer jealous self-conceit. Juaniño had brought them both to resonance, but he had not paid them any attention. Of course, both felt sorry about that. It was grief that slowly turned to surly jealousy and envy. That was the reason why they did not sound as beautiful as Irynia or Juaniño, which increased their hate even more.
"Stupid macho", they thought by themselves, "it’s good that he hits his own trap! I hope that his sound board cracks for misery!"
Well, Juaniño's sound board did not crack, although the stress was almost unbearable for him.
The next morning a boy and a man entered the shop. The boy was a pupil of about sixteen years of age, the man was his guitar instructor. The boy required a new instrument for his musical study.
"The boy is talented", the teacher said, "that is the reason why he needs an instrument that is a match for him. People said, that you build guitars like that."
The Guitar Builder pointed at the four completed guitars in the shop. "Give them a try", he invited, "we will discuss the price when the lad has made his choice."
The boy tested the guitars all morning. He played loudly, softly, ponticello -near the bridge-, dolcissimo -plucking the strings far from the sound hole-, tremolo and rasgueado like the flamenco guitarists do. The choice was difficult. He almost selected Laetitia, but a final test directed his attention towards Juaniño. He felt accustomed to the instrument in a strange way.
"This will be my choice", the boy said.
The negotiations about the price were tough but fair. In the end the Guitar Builder and the boy and his teacher were all satisfied.
Juaniño was excited and sad at the same time. Now he would sing himself but in the mean time he would not see Irynia -the one that his heart sung for- ever again. The goodbye added something sad and melancholy to his tone. But things were inevitable. The Guitar Builder packed him, tapped the body for goodbye and handed him over to the boy.
The same day, in the afternoon another customer came in. It was a girl of about eighteen years. "I want to buy a guitar, just for the fun of playing it", she told the Guitar Builder, "a friend told me that you make cool guitars. Would you show me some?"
The Guitar Builder answered her affirmatively and in no time at all, the girl had selected Irynia. To be fair, the guitar was too expensive for the girl. But the Guitar Builder liked to wink sometimes for a beautiful girl, so he forgot to read the last zero of the price tag. The girl was delighted with her acquisition and left the shop with Irynia. Irynia did not mind to say goodbye, there was nothing that bound her to the shop.
Under the inspiring influence of his guitar instructor and the many that followed, the boy became a talented concert guitarist. On Juaniño he played many concerts and guitar competitions. The applause of the enthusiast audiences made his sound board vibrate for pleasure and pride.
But the boy was not quite happy. His ambitions drove him from one concert stage to another, from one hotel room to another, without granting himself any pleasure or leisure. Most of the time he was alone on his room, with Juaniño as his one and only companion.
He felt left alone and lonely sometimes, a feeling that tragically assured his success, because he integrated this feeling in his musical performance. The audiences felt this and appreciated it as moving performances.
The girl had an education for an interesting profession and spent quite a lot of time to complete it. Irynia got her full attention at first, but little by little she left guitar playing alone a bit. Irynia got exasperated and her tone became less beautiful as the one she brought Juaniño in resonance with.
When the girl completed her education, she decided to take a long holiday before she would look for a job and possibly move out. She thought, she might feel bored sometimes, so she decided to take her guitar with her. It looked fun to her to take up the old leisure activity that she had neglected for some time, because she liked better to stay on her hotel room instead of hanging about in disco's.
She departed with Irynia to a far away and warm country, enjoyed the tropical weather of the day and the quiet coolness of the evenings. She watched the sunset and meanwhile played her guitar. The soft tones of guitar music embellished the relaxed atmosphere she felt.
Coincidentally the boy stayed in the room next-door. He had returned from another recital and he felt dead-beat. He picked up Juaniño from his case and wanted to do some "detraining" after the demanding concert, at the very moment the girl next door started to play another piece on Irynia. The tones of Irynia just got through the wall but still they brought Juaniño in the same state of resonance as happened to him in the Guitar Builder's shop, long ago.
The boy held Juaniño in surprise. He listened carefully, enjoyed the play he heard through the wall and quietly got up to look for the source of the sound.
He found what he looked for and he knocked on the door. The girl opened and watched him with a searching look.
"I heard you play", he said, "I loved it, you have a fine touch." He still carried Juaniño in his hand.
The girl noticed. "Do you play the guitar as well?"
"Yes, for a fairly long time already", he answered, "but that’s not my point. Would you play some for me? I have heard myself playing for long enough by now."
The girl had sufficient courage to agree to his request and she played the pieces, she liked best. Juaniño experienced an unforgettable night: he quietly answered Irynia's tones with his own resonance.
After a while she was ready. "Now it’s your turn", she suggested and pointed at the guitar that still rested in the boy's lap.
To his own surprise, the boy got confused. He had never nerves on the concert stage, but in this case he really experienced them. Nevertheless he started to play. And then Juaniño's dearest wish was fulfilled: Irynia's heart sang when he produced his tones. All at a sudden she was aware of him and the circle closed after all these years.
Next, the boy and the girl played together, a little bit uncertain and wavering at first, but better and more secure after some more trial.
In a word: the same things happened as in fairy tales: they played together more often that holiday, fell in love and lived long and prosperous ever after. Even in common day life fairy tales do happen!
And what about Juaniño and Irynia? They sang their own song and sounded perfectly together.