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  • Writer's pictureBelle Eykmans

Duet Through the Vent

Another day, another one of several lonely moments spent as a newbie to this city. I figured that when I moved away it would be like this but I thought I would at least have more guts to make things happen for myself. Turns out I’m still the same old me, a big fat chicken sitting in my room waiting for opportunity rather than seizing it.

I sit in my yellow writing chair that I brought with me from home and I hear the sound of an acoustic guitar strumming softly. The strumming continues for a while then slowly gets louder, transforming into a song; a song that I’ve never heard before but am completely mesmerized by. I walked all throughout my apartment to find where the song was coming from. My ear took me to a ceiling vent in the corner of my living room but where in this whole apartment complex this song coming from, I had no clue. I was hypnotized by this melody and began constructing lyrics quietly to myself. The song began to consume my mind and I lost myself in the music. Before I knew it, I was full blown singing without any regard of if anyone could hear me. Suddenly, the playing stopped; like fully stopped, for good. I was immediately embarrassed because I probably intruded on this person privately playing their instrument; God forbid they were recording or playing for therapeutic reasons. Regardless, it was apparent they did not appreciate my duet. The connection I felt, though, was astonishing. There have been countless times in my life where I’ve been too afraid to sing loud in case someone would hear me, and that feeling couldn't have been further away. It was as if that fear had never existed. This one single minute was the most inspired I’ve felt in a long time and I refuse to believe that I was the only person feeling the magic.

For the next couple days, I hummed that melody. In fact, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I would wait by the vent in hopes I would hear it again but days went by and it never came. However, a little over a week later, I heard that guitar. I heard it softly playing some popular tunes but then as if the guitarist couldn’t resist, it transformed into our melody. Again, like magic, those lyrics came back to me. I began to sing, at first softly to myself so I wouldn't spook my duet partner, but before I knew it, I was proudly belting. The words were gliding out of my soul and into existence as I returned to that feeling of inspiration. Once again, the melody had stopped. Fuck. Does this person really not feel how powerful this is? Now, I was certain they would never play it again and I returned to my sadness. Even after another few days, still no melody, just me hopelessly and pathetically waiting for my ghost partner to start playing again.

One weeknight in the middle of dinner, I heard it again. I jumped away from the table, nearly spilling my meal and almost jumping through the vent itself, to listen. Like the times before, I was taken to another world. Once again, we got near the end of the song and it faded slowly until I couldn’t hear it anymore. Feeling helpless, I walked away from the vent. I continued to sing the lyrics and hum the melody when I heard it begin again. I ran back to the vent but it sounded different. It was coming from somewhere else. Wherever it was coming from, it grew louder and louder and this time there was a voice. A voice that was singing my lyrics. This voice grew clearer and clearer. I listened and sang and walked all over my apartment trying to find the new source of our song, like a musical game of marco polo, when suddenly it stopped. Then, I heard a knock at my door.

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