2019/2020 (part 1)
(originally posted 12/31/2019)
It had been exactly a year since Lucky had packed up all his belongings and moved to Reno. Although he would hate to admit it, even to himself, he still thought about her every day.
Numerous times he had started to write her a letter and numerous times he would realize the complexities associated with trying to tell your best friend about the girl who broke your heart when they were one and the same person.
So he taught himself guitar instead.
In the spring he’d taken a job that relocated him to Las Vegas.
“In a city of illusion, where change is what the city does, it’s no wonder Las Vegas is the court of last resort, the last place to start over, to reinvent yourself in the same way that the city does, time after time. For some it works; for some it doesn’t, but they keep coming and trying.”
-from Neon Metropolis by Hal Rothman
By summer he could play most of the basic chords and had come to appreciate that gambling and hookers weren’t in his wheelhouse.
“A little bit of this town goes a very long way.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
The thing about guitar is that it takes two hands working in concert. A partnership, although the roles of those two hands are completely different. The vast majority of people who take up the instrument, assuming that they are right-handed, can get the right hand stuff down pretty quickly. Up and down, hard and tender, the occasional attempts at picking an individual string. Throw in a little rhythm and you’re all set to inflict songs around the campfire.
But the left hand…
The left hand reminds those that play that perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the shape of the guitar and the shape of a woman are almost identical. Sometimes you play it and sometimes you don’t but you always embrace it.
The more he learned about the people who were considered outstanding at playing guitar the more he noted a common thread that ran through all their lives.
“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”
-from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The left hand is how the guitar talks. Its how it articulates what can’t be said with words.
Sitting in his room he could feel New Year’s Eve coming.
“I miss you” he articulated to nobody.
He couldn’t save her from what she wanted and she couldn’t save him from what he needed.
He allowed himself to feel everything he’d bottled up. That all-too-familiar ache that gets pushed down. It was pushing back. He allowed himself to see through the lies he’d told himself for the long, last year… that she was just another girl. That he would get over her.
2020 without her? “Please… no.”
He knew the alternative would be even worse for them both. Sometimes things just can’t work out like the movies. There are no happy endings to be had. Sometimes things are just fucked.
The tears wouldn’t come so they came instead. The Gods of Guitar. Surrounding him. Ghosts.
And with them… her. Translucent and shimmering. And still so damn pretty.
That’s when Lucky found his left hand.
“You rest it against your gut, against your heart, and when you strum it the vibrations go outwards for all to hear, but the vibration also hits you on your body.”
He played and hoped the vibrations would reach her as well.
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