Wednesday, June 4, 2008

02-19-2031: If My Hands Can Forget

Sarah bought Chris a guitar for his birthday
it kind of pissed me off because he's 17 and he doesn't even have his own Tablet yet,
and his Dad works for Ebay
I said that and she was like, "well, whose birthday is it? Yours or his?"
I said, "Whose wallet is it? yours or mine?"
but she gave me that look so I resigned

Never argue with a smiling teen -
it's like seeing an eclipse or something.
You just stare and take pictures
thank your lucky stars that you were there to bear witness

At first it was nice, to see him practicing - actually using the gift
he'd bring it to the table, choke down the bare minimum, then sit and play a bit
but I got kind of tired of hearing him play those same three funk and blues riffs
and when he got himself an amp there was nowhere in the house to get away from it.

When I came back upstairs one night, after forcing him to turn it off and go to bed
Sarah leaned up on one elbow and asked why I didn't get the keyboard down instead
I laughed too quick and told her I wasn't about to encourage this assault on our senses
but the truth is I couldn't play a song if my pension depended on it

In the attic
in the corner
under sheets
I found my keyboard
put my fingers
on the right keys
but couldn't find
a single chord
and
if my hands can forget all the songs that they wrote and the parts that they played in the albums they made
who's to say that they won't just forget everything
one day
can't cook
can't code
can't feel
my job, my skills demand
my hands
all wrong
paycheck
all gone.

it was quarter to eleven, we were already in bed on a Monday night
I must've heard him play Kashmir fifty times but never once got it right
maybe I came into his room 'cause I was looking for a fight
or 'cause I couldn't bear to sit by while he wasted away the education paid for with my own life

he stopped calling me "Dad" - started calling me "Gavin" when I raised my voice
I asked him to PLEASE put the guitar down for one damn minute
I don't know if the noodling was a conscious thing or if his fingers just did it
but he wouldn't get the message 'til I yanked it away from him, and put my foot in it

Finally for once - EVER - Chris looked scared
he bolted out the door and downstairs.
Sarah came up to see what all the fuss was about
when she saw the guitar she started freaking out,
telling me how I'm taking my own life out on my kids.
She was calm when she said,
"You won't be happy until nobody is."

In the attic
in the corner
under sheets
I found my keyboard
put my fingers
on the right keys
but couldn't find
a single chord
and
if my hands can forget all the songs that they wrote and the parts that they played in the albums they made
who's to say that they won't just forget everything
one day
can't cook
can't code
can't feel
my job, my skills demand
my hands
all wrong
paycheck
all gone.

2031

1 comment:

Mat said...

the change from "computer" to "Tablet" was clever...