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.”