Disclaimer : Characters and situations are all from my imagination.

Warnings : Sex and love between women

Notes : This is a "Bonus Track" for my novel The Rise and Fall of Radiation Canary . It's not necessary to read the novel first, since this spoils nothing. It's just a bit of flavor to enhance the novel experience.

Feedback : Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at geonncannon@gmail.com

Music Interpretation

by Geonn


Copyright © 2013 Geonn Cannon

Lindy tapped my forearm to get my attention and then asked, "Does it bother you? I can tell them to mind their own business."

"Does what bother me?"

She gestured at the people near us in line. I had barely noticed that they were giving us sideways looks, turning to make comments to one another where I couldn't read their lips. It didn't seem mean-spirited, and I suppose my presence did look pretty curious. I shrugged and waved it off. "It's unusual. People like that don't understand what I can get out of something like this. I'm glad you understand, though."

Lindy smiled and slipped her arm around mine. We'd been best friends since third grade when she moved here from Ohio. She found me at recess and asked how I could talk with my hands. I showed her a few simple signs, showed her how to fingerspell her name, and we walked home together. After that we became inseparable.

Now we were in college, and a local band named Radiation Canary was playing at a club just off-campus. Lindy got tickets for her and her boyfriend, but he had a deadline in the morning and couldn't get away. I could tell she felt odd asking me to go with her, but the truth was I loved going to concerts. The fact I was deaf didn't take away from my enjoyment.

I hadn't even noticed the people stealing glances at me while I talked to Lindy, but it made sense. A deaf person waiting in line outside a concert was like someone with a seeing-eye dog outside a movie theater, right? Hardly. I told Lindy to ignore them. We kept talking until the doors opened and we were allowed inside to find our seats.

Lindy turned to sign me a question. "Do you need to sit near the speakers?"

I shook my head and she led me to a pair of seats near the middle of the auditorium. I could already feel the tremor of people in the room with me. The pressure of so many bodies crammed into a small space and the way the floor shook under their weight and movement. We sat down and endured a few more odd glances from people who noticed I was signing to Lindy instead of speaking to her.

Finally the lights went down and the room applauded, most of the people getting to their feet as the band took the stage. Lindy signed to me what the lead singer said: "Thank you for coming out tonight! We love you guys!" Then she turned to the rest of the band, counted in a song, and they began to play. Lindy signed that it was a song from their debut album called "All Clear." She started to sign the lyrics for me, but I waved her off with a nod of gratitude.

I closed my eyes and felt the music filling the air. It was a pounding sensation in my chest and a tingle in my hands. I smiled and swayed along as the drum joined in, giving form to the waves. I felt Lindy swaying next to me, our shoulders bumping together. I wrapped my arm around hers again and we began moving in time. I opened my eyes and saw her smiling at me. I could tell she was relieved; even after my assurances she had been worried I would be left out.

On the way home I would try to explain it better. Anyone who thinks music is just about hearing it should try plugging their ears sometime when they attend a concert. They should also think about their reactions next time they hear a song in the car or on their headphones. Very few people just sit passively to listen to the song. They rock back and forth, they nod their heads, they drum their fingers on the steering wheel. Listening to a song is much more than hearing the music. The experience goes so far beyond what's heard that sometimes I feel bad for people who are so distracted by the auditory that they don't even notice the rest of it.

The entire room moved with the music, like the air had been brought to life. I could feel the song all around me, and the ebb and flow of everyone around me responding to the music made me feel like I was underwater and I was lost in the current.

Lindy brought her hands up and signed. "What do you hear?"

I freed my arm and held my hands out in front of me, palms flat and facing outward. I pumped them forward, splaying my fingers on each outward push. The piano added an undercurrent and I dropped my left hand to sweep underneath the boom-boom-boom-boom of the beat. I rocked from side to side, dipping my shoulders lower and lower on each pass before I moved my hands in a wide circle. I wiggled my fingers to indicate the back-of-my-neck chill I felt when the strings vibrated. Lindy looked enthralled, and a thought occurred to me. I could do more than just mime what I was experiencing.

I stepped behind her and clapped my hands over her ears. I felt her laughing as I pressed against her back and she began to sway with me. Up on stage the band continued to play. I watched as Lana, the lead singer, strolled over to where Karen Everett was playing the violin. Lana moved her head in time to the music and I read Karen's lips when she took over the vocals. I started to pull my hands away from Lindy's ears, but she reached up and held them in place.

All around us the people who had looked sideways at me in line were singing along and dancing to the beat, but I didn't envy them. I felt sorry for them.

As far as I was concerned, Lindy and I were the only ones getting the full experience.


Note: Thanks for reading! The Rise and Fall of Radiation Canary is available now from ebook stores everywhere! And you still have time to enter the Radiation Canary autographed cover contest. Details (and more information about the novel) are available on my blog. Every review you leave counts as a new entry, so don't hold back! ::g:: And my PD Publishing novels, including World on Fire , Gemini , and my debut novel On the Air are now available as ebooks!



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