The Tenor

A woman gives a young singer something to sing about.

Years ago I was a prominent singer, a tenor promised to a wonderful career in opera. I trained every day for the opportunity. I would sing almost anywhere where I was sure I wouldn’t be shunned or kicked out. I’d always been told I had a beautiful voice, and maintaining it was the most important thing I could do with myself. Though I was never a fan of it, various types of tea was often my only choice of drink. It was best for me to keep the vocal cords as healthy as possible.

A woman who I’d met in the park heard my singing and complimented me. We talked about many things, and somehow ended up discussing her love of tea, with her wide knowledge of herbs and flavors. I asked her if there was any that a not-so-lover of tea would like; she told me she had just the thing. She asked me about my favorite fruits, peaches and cherries, and seemingly on the bench, in a small pouch of mixes, she made me a small cup of tea. I asked her if she was a traveling witch; she replied “good guess,” and we had a small laugh over the tea she made for both of us. It turned out delicious, the best tea I ever tasted. I told her it was the kind of tea I could sing about.

She gave me enough of the tea to last a week, which I was very grateful for. I would have a cup of that tea every night, and they always seem to follow vivid dreams of singing. The first night was just a pleasant song to sing. The second night was a stronger dream of singing with purpose. The third night, my lips had were insistent, and I knew they were shaping what I wanted to sing about – a beautiful woman. The fourth night, I dreamed of the park I’d sing at, singing and searching for an elusive figure I couldn’t find. The fifth night, I could tell I was singing in my sleep, and was happy to because I found the elusive woman, and for as long as I could, just to keep her interest in me.

The sixth night, I’d had a near feverish experience that I tried fighting for the first time. The words wanted to come out of me, I tried to keep my mouth shut, but I was getting sleepy, and my heart was already singing for the woman, and the pressure contained from my shut mouth was bound to erupt eventually. I felt like I was caught in a trance as my loosed lips and will had a picture-perfect image of the woman. Every last detail of her was a note sung to near perfection, as close as I could get to her perfection. Her face bewitched me, but I could feel my own vocals enslaving me to her, putting all that I was in her hands. It was only then that I was allowed to sleep.

On the seventh day, I’d returned to the park, aching to see the woman again. She sat at the bench we shared before. She had a knowing smile on her face, like she knew what I was going to do. Maybe she knew before I did, because my mind seemed the last to know of me jogging up to her and kneeling, looking up at her as I used my tenor voice to sing something I could only hope was worthy of her.

When it was all over, I received a kiss on the forehead, and an invitation to embark on a new path in my life. The life I was promised to seemed so empty because I wasn’t singing about the one who owned my heart. I accompanied her any and everywhere she went, singing on command, helping to draw others to her, or just at her whim, to hear my truly love-sick feelings for her. Being an instrument of her passion and pleasure is the destiny I’m happy she bestowed upon me.

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