Cadian’s voice rung out over the crowd as the music died. All movement within the club stopped, as Cadian bore the weight of every gaze in the club, the last echo of his voice dying in the silence after the music stopped. Every soul intoned, for a moment, to the same melody, all existing as one, in spite of personal creed, idea, or code. This was true unity. Where every soul in the building knew the same pains, felt the same betrayal, wept the same tears as Cadian’s. This was his power, his gift. To put into his music that part of himself that translated into the language of the soul.
He unstrung his guitar as the lights faded, and the room was plunged into darkness. The strap held loose as Cadian grabbed the instrument by the neck, gripping tightly as he heard the magic begin to wear off from the crowd, who had been lulled into a contentment of sorts, that hadn’t noticed the lights fade, but was now coming to the conclusion that Wither’s show as over. There was no applause, but Cadian understood it. When he finished with Bother, there was never any applause, only this bitter hollowness that the unity felt between souls was gone. It had been explained to him once that it felt like, for a moment in time, they were unified, something more, something connected, and it was blissful, like heaven transcended upon the mass in Passion. Once it was gone the feeling that took hold was more than loneliness, or isolation. It was like discovering the edge to something thought and believed to be seamless. It was painful, and for the next day or so there would be this constant border to their souls, an end that defined it in physical form, that was both reassuring to its existence, yet worrisome because it was suddenly subject to boundary. As Yumi had told him. This was the power of his music.
And this is what made the club quiet, as Wither left the stage, and the DJ came over the mic. Soon the lights stroked the darkness again, as Cadian disappeared into the dark hallway that led from the band’s back stage hideaway, to the stage itself. Cadian walked with the rest of Wither in silence, feeling the weight of his guitar settling on his arm, as he lowered it to hang at his side, almost dragging the ground. He could hear Evan and Elian behind him, the Borges brothers, whispering between themselves about the crowd’s reaction. The youngest of his two band members, they still found awe in the strength of Cadian’s voice when his soul was in tuned with the music.
“Hey man,” Evan spoke up as they passed from the dark, narrow hallway into the band’s back room, sliding his drum sticks from his back pocket into a small locker the club provided for his personal things, “you think Bother is the right way to end it? I mean, seems a harsh ending, like someone died or something.”
Cadian exhaled, pulling the gray t-shirt from his shoulders, replacing it with one of the same color and design. He dressed simply tonight, a solid gray t-shirt with a black leather vest over his shoulders. A cross hung from his neck, bright silver, stark against the darkness of his clothes. His hair was medium length, straight, brown strands that stood out amongst his olive colored skin and slanted eyes. His lips were thin, but his eyes were deep with emotion and thought. The soul stirred within.
“Like a funeral,” Cadian spoke, as he leaned back against the locker, closing his eyes, feeling the emotions that hung around the moment, still ebbing from the band’s last song, even though the bass speakers in the club pounded a fast dance beat. The bass felt out of place, the darkness held the power. “Did you feel it, Evan?” Cadian asked, stepping towards the young drummer, “the pain. Music is about emotion, and nothing… nightmare, darkness… nothing we do even compares. Nothing unites us like that one. So yeah, I’m positive its our closer. Because I want the last feeling I leave them with to be that the pain will wither the light, to remind them the fleeting nature of joy. So they’ll remember to embrace it.”
Cadian exhaled, pulled out his cellphone from the pocket of his locker, checking the interface for any alerts that may have happened while they were on stage, to find the queues of the voicemails. He played the first as he walked from the room , digging into his pocket for the keys to his car, as he pushed from the remainder of the small, narrow hallway and out the back door of the club, to a dimly lit parking lot.
Chicago was cold, wet tonight. Moisture held on everything, made the air as though it were tinged with water near freezing. The wind blew frigid against his warm skin as Lily’s voice came over the phone, and he nearly dropped the thing. How long had it been since he heard her voice? Last saw her face? How long had it been since she left him here, in this city, to move off with family. A part of him had been taken by her, taken with her, never to leave her side. That cold feeling of isolation returned as he sat behind the wheel of his car, the sixty-nine mustang roaring to life as the messages ended, and Cadian was left sitting in the cold isolation brought by the reminisce of her voice haunting him. It brought to mind the last time he had seen her, before she left. How idiotic he had been, how selfish. He hadn’t wanted her to go, felt that if he fought her decision tooth and nail, he could change it. He shivered with the power of the memory, with the cold of the night, as he backed the car out of the spot, and left passion behind.
The tri-chimed bells of his cellphone rang out in the silence of powerful emotions, and Cadian picked the phone up. His eyes watched the road between the beams of his headlights, the slick, wet blacktop slipping by with flashes of yellow, broken lines as he drove through downtown Chicago. It was two in the morning, and the north side was usually quiet at this time of night. The police stayed mostly to the south, to the gangs that tore up the city and gave it its reputation. They had little interest in the speeding habits of a punk kid in a sports car.
“Hello,” He spoke, and nearly dropped the phone as a result, her voice spilling out of the phone again, to revive the nightmares that danced just beyond the high beams, old memories of their childhood. When it was ok to dream about things like love, when it was easy to convince himself that he never really had a chance in the first place.
“Wow, it is good to hear your voice,” He spoke, as he turned down a side street, leaving the main highway, pressing down into the subdivion when he’s lived these last few years.. the same house she left him at when she came to say goodbye.
“Nono, its not to late, I’m just on my way home,” He spoke, adding, “you’re welcome to drop by if you’re in town…”
The call left him confused, numbed. How long had it been since he had last spoke to her, for her to be up and calling him tonight, three years after having told him goodbye. Three years to do the day, if he wasn’t mistaken about the date. And yet, so casually he invites her over, as though it were three years ago, and they had just finished algebra together, as though he still knew who she was. But the invited had just come out, and though he didn’t hope she’d take him up on the offer, he didn’t wish to deny himself the chance by retracting it with a laugh, or a comment of jest. There was hope, though he found it to be fleeting.
But it was nice to hear her voice…
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