keskiviikko 1. lokakuuta 2014

Melanie's Blues (2520 words)

Melanie's mother had told her that she had beautiful brown hair. Her boyfriend Justin praised her green eyes. Still she started every day looking at the mirror making sure that she looked as perfect as possible.
Her bedroom was small. Whole house was. Walls were thin. You could hear everything.

Kitchen was dirty. They didn't have a separate dining room. They only had a small table in the kitchen. She had hard time enjoying her breakfast. Her parents were fighting. They fought every morning continued in afternoon and they made up before going to sleep like nothing had happened.
"You should demand that promotion. You have been doing that same damn job for 14 years!" mom shouted.
"I can't demand it. I get it when they think I'm ready!" dad shouted.
When her parent's fought melodies started to play inside her head. They brought comfort. Her music teacher Braxton had said that pressure creates diamonds. She hoped that that was true.
She ate her cereals quick and ran to the bus stop. Justin was there waiting.
"Hi", said Justin.
"Hi", said Melanie.
"Do you want to hang out after school?"
"Like always", she said.
In the buss she kissed Justin. She rarely kissed him privately. They hugged though. Melanie liked that. Kissing was just for image.

School days just went by. She made melodies up in her head. Music was only subject she payed attention to. Teacher Braxton was always interested in what Melanie had to say. She didn't like the music she had to sing. She loved blues. Her classmates wanted pop and rock all the time. Braxton was able to slip in some Blues once in a while.
Hanging out in the mall was getting boring. Everybody even Justin felt empty. When she tried to start a intelligent conversation with girls they always ended up talking about boys or crappy music they listened to. Boys started to talk about all the ridiculous stuff they had done. Sometimes they hit on her. It was just awkward but got Justin mad. Melanie didn't like violence but she was happy that somebody was ready stand up for her.

One evening she was making homework in her room. Her room was full of pink. Pink bed, closet, table, chair almost everything. She didn't even like pink that much but mom had her so called style that couldn't be questioned.
Her parents couldn't be quite. Happy or angry they were noisy.
This time they were fighting over hoovering. She never got use to it. She just gave up on her homework and started to listen to music. She had stereos but couldn't use them because her parent's always got mad about blues. Melanie didn't know why. She had tried to ask her mother but you couldn't get a sensible answer out of her.
One Friday morning she realized that she didn't want to be with Justin anymore. He was too typical and predictable. He lacked adventure. If something she didn't live a boring life. This might have been some kind of mood swing but she felt that it was the right thing to do.
She ate her breakfast in a record time.
There Justin was smiling. Waiting for the bus like every morning.
"Hi!" he said.
"Hi" she said.
"I have something important to tell you. This is not going work. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel. Don't be sad it's me not you," said Melanie.
"What! You can't do this to me!" Justin shouted.
Melanie blocked Justin. She had learn that from her father. She saw Justin but heard the beautiful melody. Da da daa da da da daa. It went something like that.
Justin waked Meanie from her thoughts slapping her. It wasn't much more than a bitch slap but it was an act of violence.
Melanie was about to cry.
"Don't cry," said Justin.
"Nobody needs to know about this. Let's just smile and work this out later".
Melanie didn't say anything. In the bus she sat next to Justin. Justin tried to hug her. Melanie gave him the meanest look she had. She wasn't going to do anything with Justin ever again.

After she left Justin she started to care less about being popular. She spent less time with his schoolmates, more time at Pinky's. It was towns biggest club that had Blues every Friday. She was underage but fit in fell with older people. She didn't like the social codes of high school. At Pinky's you could tell everybody how you felt. They also shared their stories and emotions. One story especially touched Melanie. One old man who wasn't local told his life story in exchange for glass of wine.
"I was born in 1928. I was in right time. Didn't have to go to any war. I don't know how much you know about history but when I was growing up it was bullshit to be a black man. I don't mean to brag but I'm the real from the bottom to the stop story", told old man. Melanie didn't mean to intrude but he had to ask.
"What did you do? Were you a musician?" Asked Melanie.
"Yes I was and I still am. I use to perform every night all cross the state. You probably haven't heard of me. I never released an album. If you don't leave something permanent they will forget about you," said the old man.
"I didn't catch your name?" Melanie asked.
"Morgan, just Morgan," he said.
"Look at the time. I have to go. I need get some sleep before I leave Orlando. New city, new club, new adventure", he said.
"Good bye," said Melanie.

Just now she noticed how old he looked. He walked like Quasimodo. She was about to ask his phone number but figured that he probably doesn't have one.
That's the life I wanna live, thought Melanie.
Once a month there was amateur night. Melanie had performed at school but other than that this was his first. Melanie was scared to death. She looked magnificent in her golden strapped dress. She felt like a little girl but looked most certainly like a adult. Make up was done just right. Her brown hair was from some commercial. She didn't need Photoshop.
She finally stepped on the stage. Crowd was full of happy people mouths open in a wide smile. She started with positive songs. She shook but after few verses she forget about the audience. Power of the music went trough her body. Blues took her away. Last song Cry Me a River made even the toughest men tearful.
Audience whistled and clapped more than in any show in years. It took hours that Melanie really understood what had happened.

Melanie had met Pinky but this was the first time she was invited to his office. Pinky was an older man. Still Melanie found him handsome and he wasn't even that old. He was black like most people here. He was dressed in all purple and had a lot of beautiful rings.
"Hi Melanie! I saw your show last night. I could praise you all day but I like to go straight to the point. Are you interested in performing every Friday? People love you and want to get some more," said Pinky.
"I would love to!" Said Melanie.
She thought she was dreaming but when they shook hands Melanie noticed Pinky's strong grip.
This is my chance to become independent, free, thought Melanie.
Melanie moved to little motel. Pinky payed her rent. She quit school. She did all this so fast that her parents were surprised when she called them from hotel.
"Are you out of your mind!" Melanie's mom shouted.
Melanie shouted back, "I'm almost 18. I can decide for myself. You can't force me to come back!"
"If you don't come back right now I'm not going open the door next month when you come back growling," mom shouted.
Melanie hanged up. Usually she cried after she had fought with her mother. Now she felt powerful. She convinced herself that there was no need to be sad. Her new better life was starting. No more fighting.
Her first official show. This was her chance to show what she could do. She was about to throw up. She had been practicing but didn't felt ready. Pinky's had never seemed so huge. Just before show started Pinky came to talk to her.
"I believe in you, crowd believes in you, now you just have to believe in yourself," he said.

Then Pinky pushed Melanie to the stage. She planned to say something but couldn't. She just closed her eyes and started to sing. Band followed her improvisation quickly. Once again blues took her away and two hours felt like two minutes.

Crowd went crazy. No one had gotten this exited about B.B. Kings classics. They chanted her name and first time in her life she was asked for an autograph. After she gave one she had give it to tens of others.

Pinky drove her to motel and started to talk to her. It was more like preaching though.
"You will get offers from major labels in no time. What you do is special," Pinky said.
"Thank you!" said Melanie.
"Some changes needs to be made though. We need to get you a body guard. Fans are nice but when you get hundreds of them you need protection. You should consider other costumes. What you got right now is good. I like gold but Pink is my favorite color", Pinky said and when he smiled Melanie saw his golden teeth.

"There is also something else. You already know I'm a huge blues fan, but way the business is rolling R&B is where it's at. You ought to think about that."
"Thank you for the advice. I'll think about that."
Next few months went fast. Four shows in a week. Melanie didn't get to play blues but she had a whole lot of fun. For once she was a center of a attention for right reasons.
Her parents called.
"Hi!" her father Tim said.
"You know I don't want to talk to you", she said.
"We just wanted you to know that we have worked things out. You can come back any time. We miss you", he said.
Fighting was just going to start again after the 'honeymoon', she thought.
"I'm sorry dad I can't come back. Not while she's there. Besides I'm having fun here"
"I worry about you Mel, I worry a lot"
"Don't worry I'll be alright", she said and hung up.
She started reminiscing all of the good times with her dad. She started to tear up.
I own nothing to them. I'm finally my own boss, she thought.
After one show some men were harassing Melanie. "You make me hot!" one man shouted.
"I wanna fuck you right in the pussy!" yelled one.
"O right, back off you two", Melanie's bodyguard Terry said.
"Don't get angry big man I'm just offering her something she needs", first man said.
"What you needs is a bullet in your ass", Terry said.
Melanie wasn't sure Terry even carried a gun.

Around 6 pm every show night Terry came to get her. Pinky's was just few blocks away from motel so they walked. Melanie was never harassed by sober people when she was with Terry.
I guess he looks scary to them, thought Melanie. Terry was black, tall 6'5. He always wore sunglasses on duty to cover his tiny eyes.
"Terry, do you like rhythm more than blues?" asked Melanie smilingly. He rarely talked about his opinions but when he did Melanie was all ears.
"I like stories. I also like passion and little humor. Blues combines all of those things and it sounds good too. Music just for sake of entertainment is waste of time", said Terry and then looked at Melanie and added, "You got a start somewhere"
Terry knew so much about music . One night after a show he supposed just to drop her off but they ended up listening music from her laptop till the morning.
"Uuu! I haven't heard Blind Lemond Jeffersons originals in years. You can't find these anywhere", said Terry. He looked like a kid in a candy store.
"Is this really your first time in You Tube?" Melanie asked with a smirk on her face.
"Last time I was in the web there was no such thing as Google", he said.
"How do you get so smart without Google?"
"Libraries still exists for older people. I get all I want from there and from the record store"
"Still you couldn't find Blind Jefferson?"
"It's crazy how you find the oldest things from the newest places. Luckily I have you helping me with these"
It's nothing really. You protecting me is much more important"
As they stared each other Melanie noticed that Terry was a young man. Not much past 25 for sure.
"I better get going," Terry said interrupting the beautiful moment.
Melanie laid on her bed wondering could a thing between her and Terry be possible. She didn't want to ruin a great friendship if Terry didn't feel the same. She also thought about what Terry had to say about music. She felt ashamed that she performed just R&B when she had a platform to perform blued and really affect people. She could also impress Terry and maybe, just maybe give him a kiss at the right moment.

One Saturday night show she went to Pinky's office. She tried to be calm, but she had the same feeling she had when she moved.

"It's one blues show a week or nothing," said Melanie. No hi or hello. She went straight to the point. She felt powerful and confident.

"If you take something away from me I take something away from you. I ain't gonna pay your bodyguard for one show. This is cold city. You need protection", Pinky said.

"I don't need him, I don't need you, I don't need anybody!" shouted Melanie. She burst in tears as she rushed out of the office to motel. All feeling of power and confidence was gone.

3 am Sunday morning Melanie was just going to sleep after shower.
Then somebody knocked. She was in a hold in few seconds. Man holding her was Rico. He was one of Pinky's bodyguard. Another bodyguard Taylor was watching at the door. She thought she saw little glimpses of humanity behind those glasses.
Rico threw Melanie to the bed. She screamed but it didn't help. She trief to get away but pain was too much.

"Taylor! What is going on!" shouted Rico.

"Get off her!" Melanie could recognize that voice anywhere. It was Terry!
Rico let her go and said, "What are you doing? You don't make the rules. I don't make the rules"

"I think for myself. You should try it too Rico," responded Terry. Then Terry dropped his gun.

"I trust you. Don't worry. We'll leave. Taylor is waiting in the car", said Terry.

"Did you hit him?" asked Rico.

"You know I don't like violence. He listened to sense," said Terry.

Rico stared at Terry for awhile. Then he walked to his car.

Melanie hugged Terry.

"Pack fast. I already have my stuff in the car. It's big, you can take everything you want," Terry said.

"Where are we going to go?" Melanie asked.

"Where people still jam the blues."