Speak & Listen

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Nana was a very witty woman, very fashionable for her age and was always an eloquent speaker around the house. In Bellington, where mom grew up, was a place full of crime, drug-trafficking, prostitution, rape and so many other crimes you could ever find in the book. My parents had to make sure I grew up in a much better environment full of love, security and acceptance.

I looked above her grave, with Mirriam Serriah Jones engraved on her tombstone. I left a yellow rose on top of her grave. That day, I was attired in black jeans accompanied by a formal black shirt and an oversized black cotton coat I hung over my shoulders.

It had been two weeks since her death, two weeks since I had spoken to Sophia and two weeks since I’ve last seen her. She had not been accessible on her phone either and it was Monday afternoon. Right after school I had decided to visit Nana’s grave but had decided too to visit Sophia.

In silence, I got into my car and drove off. Pass the boulevard and the green hedges of my neighbourhood, I arrived at my apartment. Mom was still at the bakery. I walked inside my house, dragging my feet. I had to change outfits and at least bring a snack or two at Sophia’s.

When I got into my spotless room, walls painted in a creepy sapphire gloom with no wall posters, but cover arts of my favourite rock artists/bands such as The Cranberries, Beck, 21 Seconds of Summer, Lost Under Heaven, Feist, Grizzly Bear, Ok Go!, and many other more. It was like an art exhibition, as I was dangerously and chaotically obsessed with music. From vintage, baroque music consisting of simplistic instrumentation such as acoustic and ethereal sounds to complex orchestra symphonies and contemporary rock and retro-pop sounds, I listen to all...well except for contemporary pop which I had started to despise recently.

My mom had bought me about six musical instruments, including a ukulele, during my childhood and by the age of nine, I was fluent in piano. The problem was...I hated performing my music for crowds and when dad used to go to gigs, he would need me to assist his now-disbanded band, called Black Alaska, with sound amplification and everything a sound engineer would do. After that, my dad became a businessman. And that was why Jeremiah and I were so close. He was a singer.

He, Jeremiah, compelled me to compose an acoustic guitar sound that would compete with the lyrics he wrote on freshman year. Upon composing something of my own and letting someone else hear it, Jeremiah was the only one I did that for. The song was ‘Permanence’ and it was about how he was afraid of letting someone know who he truly was, but can’t hide it forever because it’s always going to be part of him, hence the title.

I smiled at the continuous flashbacks as I stood opposite the body-sized mirror implanted on the wall of my wardrobe. I was shirtless, looking at my upper body when I realized that the key was no longer around my neck.

My body froze for a long while, my teeth gritting as my hands touched my neck to see if I was dreaming. I wasn’t. The key was no longer around my neck. I paced around, tears building in my eyes, wondering if I had left it at the cemetery or how long had the key been lost. Just when I was beginning to calm, thinking that it was better lost than found, I ran to my walk-in closet and unbelievably, the bin was gone. The chest was nowhere to be found.

I walked out of the closet, now going crazy. I couldn’t help but scratch my skin, my nails dug deep into the flesh of my forearms. My anxiety was uncontrollably kicking in, assuming the worst would happen...those letters coming out to the school.

But that wouldn’t happen, would it? Because the chest would need to be opened by the key...but both are missing and you, the owner have no idea how. However, there is one person who knew both where you kept your key and where you hid your chest...


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