Voice and Body

She is young and with a small mouth, and with a violin.

She practices on the stage because it fills her up with fears. Unblinking eyes set on empty auditoriums, repeating to her brain, “This is terror, this is dream, this is terror, this is dream,” that no one might show up, that she would be alone, yes, but her imaginary audience remains, her future approval intact. That everyone might show up, she is alone again, on a corner stage, in lights, while they sit with squat and uninterested faces, her success present but by its presence clattering into itself, all parts on the floor.

Again, she practices on the stage, but this time to avoid the heavy eyes and ears of the janitors and teachers who work late and draw attention to themselves by sitting in the practice room and listening to her ostentatiously. In proper practice spaces, they nod and look for their proper interval, and she fits the violin to her lessons and her exams. On the quieted stage, the notes that crash on her back and sides might fall out and she can only give to them to slip out less and less deformed by her violin and her hands. These notes are strident, sometimes rhythmic. They shift inside, toward other notes unnaturally, pulsing beyond into themselves and pressing into sound.

The boy, she was unafraid of him. He dominated the other girls, but he was broken, or unnatural or something. He didn't speak, his voice broke out from his head and occurred. His head shook, aggressive when it shouldn’t, concerned when it shouldn’t, sometimes ecstatic, his eyes would break in tears just to see through them. And when the teachers had done their approving sit in her presence, he would come in and sit too, but for much longer and when his nods were the only times his head ever seemed like it belonged near his body. She cared for him then, somewhat, but that was there, she remembered, and now he was here, and here was an intrusion.

His head was all wrong again, and he clapped and clapped and clapped. These were not the notes that regulated his movement, these were altogether hers and his entire body was choking on itself. Her notes fell all apart and she stopped and he stopped too.

Pause, walk. Toward her, he lunged slowly. His intrusion was now menacing, he was imposing forward and forward toward her and her stage, but her courage grows with each new protrusion. He is the inappropriate object. He is the malfunctioning body and arms. His violence is always the wrong kind of violence and his power and control are the wrong types, always.

“You are great,” the voice from near his body booms dishonestly, pressing itself against her forehead. “When is your violin concert?”

Intimidation, she was full of intimidation, she, she must intimidate him, her mouth is too small, her words are too small and— it erupts, also from within her, also cut away from any body. The date comes, but it is meaningless; it is only their voices performing and posturing outside their bodies, displaying and receding themselves, using up all the body to be not-body. After a few phrases, they sit silently, bodies as husks. They stare and they stand and their bodies are with each other for a moment.

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