Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.



Twenty two minutes.

guitar 2-6-16 for web

AT FIFTEEN MINUTES PAST TEN the next morning, the news site flashed a red banner across the top of the screen announcing a plane crash in Texas. He clicked the link and saw that it was a commuter flight from Houston to Dallas. He would not have been shocked if it had been their flight. That’s how life worked, it seemed.

Witnesses reported a giant fireball. He looked at his disfigured left hand and touched the side of his face and felt the scars.  He knew the agony they would have to endure if there were survivors, but that was unlikely.

If you want to know a man, know his pain.

It was one of dozens of quotes he had heard in his freshman literature class at the University of Tennessee, but the only one that stuck with him. For obvious reasons.

At the time, the physical pain he had endured was still fresh and still issuing reminders that his body had been greatly traumatized. During the months of recovery he had put on the brave face and carried a resolute disposition. And then the real pain began. The isolation. The guilt that never quite seemed to leave him.

If you want to know a man, know his pain.

He closed the internet browser.

He was supposed to be compiling demographic data to be used in establishing the housing ratios for the Renaissance project, but his thoughts were elsewhere. Loss. Grief. Dani. His own desolation.

He opened a new document and closed his eyes as he let his emotions speak to him.

He felt the rhythm first. A slow, three-four time. His body swayed slightly, his eyes still closed. Then music. The chords. On the down beat.

He opened his eyes, his fingers on the computer keyboard.

At first, random words: Pain. Loneliness. Her smile. Her eyes.

Then they began to find order.

Bring me back
from the dark of night,

Let me feel
love in your light.

He wished he had his guitar. He wrote a chord progression, not sure if it was really what he wanted. A melody started to form in his head and he wrote to it.

More random thoughts filled the page. He wrote quickly, trying to capture the mood without losing the music. A chorus. More words altered the mood and he heard the change in the tune that would comprise the bridge. There were typos all over the page but he didn’t dare interrupt the flow. More words. The last verse. And the chorus again.

He read from beginning to end. He closed his eyes and let it sink in.

Then again from the beginning, this time singing softly.

Then he scrolled back to the top of the page and wrote: Bring Me Back, by Trevor Larson.

It had taken him twenty-two minutes.

A Prayer for Rain

He didn’t know her name.  They never exchanged words, though they sat side by side on a three-hour flight.  He would never see her again.

He saw her pain.  The source of her pain?  No, he didn’t know.  But he felt it in his own heart.

Trevor Larson wrote this for her.

Hear me, Lord.

Give me gentle rain.

Heal me, Lord.

Take away the pain.

Love me, Lord,

I just need a friend.

Hear me, Lord,

and be there till the end.

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