Saturday Storytime: Three Voices

I maybe like stories about the creation of art. You know, just maybe. This story from Lisa Bolekaja is enthralling and devastating. It manages that despite a viewpoint character you’re not going to like very much, which is always a challenge.

“Hey, Tye.” He embraced her and she melted into his arms. He felt solid with her, like they were meant to be fused this way. He wiped away her tears and held her face.

“Snot doesn’t look good on you, girl. Doesn’t match your hair color this week.” She laughed and he smiled.

“This fucking song is getting on my nerves,” she said.

“I told you it wouldn’t be easy.”

“I thought I could find my way into this bitch, but now…it feels like I’m trying to climb up a mountain with roller skates on.”

“Let’s quit for the night,” he said. She nodded. He didn’t want to let her go, so he held her a little longer. Pressed her head onto his shoulder and rocked her.

“When we finish this thing, I’m going to compose a song just for you. Something light and easy—”

“And with words, for God’s sake,” she whispered. She sounded better. She pushed away from his arms and sauntered over to one of the theater seats. He sat next to her. She leaned in towards him.

“I spoke to Bethanny. I know why she could never finish Three Voices,” she said.

Andre drew in a deep breath and let it out slow. Tye watched his face with intense scrutiny. When Andre didn’t respond, her eyes narrowed.

“She told me she developed throat polyps after training with you. She never had throat problems ever until she started singing Three Voices. Even after throat surgery, she wasn’t able to sing professionally again—”

“That had nothing to do with the song, Tye. Many singers develop throat nodules when they overuse their voice.”

Tye reached into the back pocket of her jeans and pulled out her cell phone. She opened up an App page and Andre winced when he saw the picture of the woman on the screen.

“What about her? I remember this woman, Andre. I always wondered what happened to her.”

Andre took the cell phone from Tye’s hand. He stared at the picture and the text from a news article from three years prior. The woman, Nelia Cardoso, was a Brazilian singer from Pernambuco who had shot to stardom performing dance club hits, but had been classically trained in Portugal and New York. The article described her bout with throat cancer which ultimately led to having her vocal cords removed. She had been under Andre’s tutelage to bring Three Voices to life in Manhattan prior to developing cancer.

“First Bethanny, and then Nelia. How many others before them, Andre?”

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Saturday Storytime: Three Voices
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