In A Practice Room

by Ariel Mo

Listen to: Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Unfolding, flipping, unfolding. Twist and turn. Pull out the long leg. The other two. Pull, pull. Set it down. Measure the height. Pull it up, unfold. Flip. Twist to the right way. Push. Twist. Push. Keeping moving until it’s right.

Drag a chair over. Screech, screech of metal scratching across the wood. Set down the music. Loose sheets, bound sheets. Slightly yellowed. Pages curling around the edges. Who knows how many hands have touched them, how many fingers have slid across its surface, how many eyes have peered at its black-ink symbols?

Pocket, reach, feel, scramble, find. Pencil. Take it out, put it down. Light clang as it hits the black metal. The first page is almost grey from all the times all the notes and markings on its surface. The second is nicer. The recap, as always, is perfectly clean. How many pencils have these pages seen? How many erasers? How many sounds have they heard?

Click, click, unlock. Push back the lid. Unbuckle the clasps, slide the velvety cloth away. The strings echo faintly upon contact. Brush a finger across it, pluck it lightly out of habit. Hold it between your leg and elbow. An observer might rush in, worried it would fall. But it stays close to your skin.

Twist, unlock, take it out. Twist, twist. Tighten. Sniff. Grasp the fingerboard. Tilt your head back, swing it up. It flies through the air, making a perfect arch, lands lightly on your shoulder. Slide it close, close enough to kiss. Press your cheek against the wood. Drag the bow across the strings. Voiceless.

Unfolding, flipping, unfolding.

Screech, screech.

Flipping, unfolding.

Pocket, reach, feel, scramble.

Screech, flip, unfold.

Reach, scramble.

Click, click, unlock.

Reach, feel, screech.

Twist, unlock.

Flip, unfold.

Twist, flip, unfold, unlock.

Screech, reach.

Unlock.

Feel.

Voices.