My oldest memory of music was probably also my worst memory of it.
My mother and I were walking through a mall and for a second she let go of my hand. We were right outside of a music store and I had been eyeing a strange looking object that I later realized was a guitar. As soon as I realized I had the freedom of mobility I moved towards it, intent to touch the way any three year old is when faced with something unfamiliar and thus, fascinating. For a moment I was suspended in a place that was not the West Gate Mall but somewhere much more meaningful and ethereal. I was no longer awkwardly lunging with my three year old gait towards the object of my interest but floating as if on one of those flat escalators at airports that moved humans like conveyor belts moved mass produced toys.
I was almost touching it, my heart was bursting with the desire to touch just one of those magical strings. What would it feel like? I had to know.
Then my hand was smacked down loudly while my other was firmly grasped in my mother’s familiar grip.
“Evelyn Marie, if I catch you coming anywhere near one of those ever, you will lose a finger, you got that?”
“Sorry Mama,” I sobbed, rubbing my stinging hand against my thigh as my mother dragged me away from the offensive object. I wanted to glance back but had to concentrate all my attention on not falling as my mother moved away too quickly for my feet to follow.
It didn’t matter if I caught another glimpse anyway. The image of the guitar was etched into my mind and I never forgot it.
It took me nearly ten years to figure out why my mother hated the idea of me even touching a guitar.
Just after my thirteenth birthday, years after I’d realized that questions about my MIA father were taboo, someone rang the doorbell to our small ground level apartment and unveiled the secret I’d tried for years to learn.
“Jazzy,” the man said when my mother opened the door. “Jazzy,” my mother, was wearing ripped jeans and a faded gray t-shirt. Her hair was sloppy and she wasn’t wearing any make-up but she still looked much younger than 31.
“Don’t call me that,” she responded, not bothering with a more conventional greeting. “What are you doing here?” She deadpanned, clearly unhappy to see the man.
He was tall, well over six feet. His hair was dirty blond and hung loose past his shoulders. He was very thin and his light gray eyes stuck out starkly from his pointy cheekbones. He was wearing worn out jeans and a leather jacket and the thirteen year old me shrunk away from the doorway, instinctively afraid of this stark looking man.
“He’s gone, Jaz-Jasmine,” he said, the look in his eyes turning bleak.
My mother went completely still. Even the rhythm of her breathing stopped.
“He died a week ago of liver failure. We’d known for a while that it was coming. He told me he’d been trying to contact you. Did you ever talk to him?” The man reached out for my mother but she jerked away.
“No,” she replied, her voice steady and firm. Cold. “Is that all you came here to tell me?” He didn’t reply and just stared at her, his face stark with grief. I wasn’t so scared of him anymore and I stepped further into his line of vision. His eyes widened as they took me in. Even at thirteen I was tall. I already towered over my mother’s five foot four. My hair was long and light brown laced with natural red highlights. My eyes were the only remarkable feature on my otherwise plain face. Their strange light green color could not be hidden behind the large pair of plastic rimmed glasses I wore even though I didn’t have a prescription.
“Dear God Jasmine, did he know?” The stranger asked in a low voice, filled with shock.
“Get out,” my mother replied, shoving his arm in an effort to hurry him out of the door. He went, casting one last glance at me and slipping something into my mother’s hand. When the door closed behind him, my mother stood staring at it, not moving, not breathing. I called to her but she didn’t reply.
I was burning inside. So many questions wanted to spill out of me but I knew they’d fall on deaf ears.
I rushed past her and burst out the front door, nearly tripping down the three cement steps that passed for a porch.
“Wait!” I called out to the retreating form with the leather jacket. He stopped and turned to face me.
|Emma Stone||as Evelyn|
|Jennifer Aniston||as Jasmine Taylor|
|Tyler Hoechlin||as Gabriel|
|Hayden Panettiere||as Freida|
|Mary-Kate Olsen||as Catherine Stone|
|Ariana Grande||as Alice|
|Enrico Colantoni||as George|
|Alyson Michalka||as Francine|
|Amanda Michalka||as Chrystal|
|Jodelle Ferland||as Cynthia|