Ignoring the Melody

By Skylar Blankenship

When she walked in the fire’s glow did not make her eyes sparkle, the slight breeze from

the open window did not gather her hair just so, her lips were not a red rose, and a hush did not

fill the room. But to the man across the room, she was … perfect.

There were people everywhere, but no one was together. The men with the white hair,

beer bellies and cigar half out of their mouths were at the bar. The young bulls were playing

billiards sizing their competition and prizes. The lady suits stood at the high tables, a dry martini

in one hand and work on the other. Then there was the man in the corner, waiting. He was not an

ugly man he just knew how to fade into the winter nights. In fact, if he allowed it the ladies

swooned when they saw him and died if he uttered a single word.

If there’s had been a love story, like one of those you would find in the black and white

movies of old Hollywood, it would have begun something like this. For alas the story of Mira

and Daniel may seem as such, magical and the perfect distance from happily ever after, there are

truths neither can deny.

We shall delve into their story on a perfectly ordinary night in the winter mountains of

the west, looking through the highest window of the grandest hotel in town just visited by Jack

Frost himself. Let us now bear witness …

Every Friday evening, she slides on the dress and puts on the necklace and earrings that

she found on her doorstep with that week’s invitation. This week the dress was elegant, flowed

down not quite reaching the oak floor; the purple folds vanishing in the light. The necklace was a

familiar string of pearls and the droplet earrings were its compliment. Before she left to go and

fulfill her obligations, she stood in front of the floor length mirror and left her emotions with the

young woman staring back at her.

She spends the prolonged night in the parlor, where she sits and waits. Even though she is

sure to arrive fashionably late, counting the dew drops on her chilled glass was the only way to

speed up time until dinner was served. The sharp, gritty aroma of the salt encrusted snapper they

were served should have been welcoming. Instead it was the flavorless eggplant-raisin puree that

her taste buds welcomed.

As long as Daniel had known her, whenever Mira was trying to lose herself she would

take her middle finger gently tracing circles round and round on whatever surface was handy;

tonight it was the rim of her empty snifter of brandy. At home she would use a sand dollar larger

and larger than smaller and smaller; over and over again, spiral after spiral. And just like at home

Mira was humming, never noticing when a string of lyrics would escape underneath her breath.

When the moon’s reflection in the fountain found in the middle of the room was at its

brightest Mira left the party. He left the party two minutes later. She knew Daniel well enough to

know he would continue to clumsily trail two hundred yards back and then hide in the darkest

corner of wherever dive she ducked into. Despite Daniel’s efforts of wearing a tasty cologne that

wafted from him with the slightest breeze, the alluring smells of sunlight and dried seaweed still

clung tightly to him.

There was always at least two or three of them within her orbit. Most of them seemed

harmless enough. Every once in a while some walrus or shark of a man would get too close,

stroking a slimy finger up the bare skin of her upper arm, but as soon as they began to bother her

Mira would lick her lips and smile. He was memorized. They were terrified.

Mira was back in her apartment relatively early, the moon had not even reached the

mountain peaks. Kicking off the uncomfortable strappy heels relishing the cream colored plush

carpet on her toes she lit a cigarette and then poured herself a glass of her favorite vintage

Nebieul. Then stripping of the rest of the assemble she walked into the already filled bath.

Daniel did not need to be perched on the balcony to see the daylight attempting to escape

from the closed door. Soon the sky’s opened up allowing for flurries to coat his thin jacket. He

did not feel it; he was quite content until a gust of wind filled him with the sickening, maddening

scent of burnt meat and stale beer intermingling with desperation. Like an uncontrollable reflex

his lips pulled back into a snarl, but Daniel controlled himself. He let him walk in the buildings

front door, closer and closer to the melody that had stolen his heart when he was just a boy.

Marco has been an urchin, a thorn in her side, since she had arrived. But he was okay to

have around; he was handsome enough and paid for everything without question. Hearing Daniel

growl made it all the more bearable. It reminded Mira of when they were younger and he would

chase off any competition that dared to come close.

Daniel’s greatest desire was one that he did not utter aloud, for then it would be wish lost

to the night. He watched as the dress skimmed up her thighs, as she snapped the pearls back into

place, and ignored the confining contraptions they have named shoes. And all the while he

wanted to be able reach out and lace his finger in the curls cascading down her back; wild and

tangled as a seaweed patch.

Mira relished the hunt; a harsh pressure beating against her bare skin, the salty taste

coating her tongue as her mouth continued to water, and steady stream of death-defying fear to

follow. There is always one that wanders away from the pack. Usually they are weak, not worth

her time, but this one was a fighter. The she-wolf even managed to draw a drop of blood.

Daniel was entranced. When Mira was on the hunt she was confident, strong,

unstoppable; beautiful. Still he could not help himself from cringing when the land creature’s

jaw came within a needles from Mira’s exposed neck. He could not stop himself from taking a

step forward when … NO!

She knew Daniel was watching. She knew he was seconds away from losing control,

especially when the he-wolf came to protect his mate. The he-wolf was ferocious in his attempts,

but that was not enough.

Daniel’s stomached heaved at the sight, the smell of her blood stained skin. He ran to her.

He gathered her into his arms. Her arms went around his necks. He held her close. He let her go.

Mira started running. She ran until the moon was almost lost. She stopped where there

was no longer a trail, just snow, rock and freedom. Toes curling in a bone hard grip on the ledge,

head tilted straining to hear the chorus of a mourning wolf pack she lifted her own voice to help

drown out the beckoning call of triton’s trumpet. And just when both melodies were about to

reach the highest peak and lowest cavern for one brief moment Mira did not hear the ocean or the

mountains she heard his voice; “Please. Please come home to me.”