When The Music Stops
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The young boy stared out the window of his project apartment anxiously awaiting the arrival of the evening’s guests, wondering about what the night ahead and the morning after would bring.
Moist, white snowflakes stuck firmly to the window, partially
obscuring his view of the ground below. Behind the boy, dozens of colored Christmas tree lights blinked rhythmically to the beat of the music from his mother’s record player. He was only nine years old, but tonight the boy would have the chance to stay up later than late, listening to the music and singing along with the grownups.
Soon the guests started arriving bringing bottles of good cheer, goodies and enough record albums to last a lifetime. Judging by the album covers the boy knew that Johnny Mathis, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams would be among the singers that he would hear
from before the night was over. The group included the usual guests Jim, Sheila, Bill and Carol who would surely be playing Four Seasons songs on the spoons by the end of the night.
Before long, the party was in full swing and the room was filled with a cacophony of tangled sounds. Music blaring, people laughing, cans and bottles opening and the spoons click-clacking. Wisps of white smoke snaked their way from mouths and ashtrays to the yellowed ceiling above. The boy loved listening to the music, enjoyed Carol’s spoon playing and laughed at the stupid jokes the grownups told even though he didn’t always understand them.
This is fun, the boy thought as he basked in the attention of the guests who seemed genuinely interested in his drawings and seeing the newest editions to his comic book and Hardy Boys collections. For the first few hours the boy enjoyed the party, but it was getting later than late and soon it would be time for him to go to sleep.
Outside the boy’s room, the music played on, the voices grew louder and jumbled and Carol played the spoons with a growing sense of urgency. From the living room the phonograph blasted out the latest hits from Elvis, The Platters and The Ink Spots, but the music and the voices were so loud that the boy couldn’t fall asleep. He closed his eyes and tried hard to drift off to sleep, but it was just too loud and the boy was too excited and
afraid of what might happen if he did.
Oh, this time, he thought maybe things would be different after the party had ended and the guests had finally gone home for the evening. Maybe this time the music wouldn’t end, the laughter wouldn’t turn to swears, they wouldn’t fight and the police wouldn’t have to come.
Perhaps this time when the boy awoke in the morning he wouldn’t have to see the half filled glasses of whiskey and beer filled with snuffed out cigarette butts or smell the sickeningly sweet smell of alcohol and nicotine.
Maybe, just maybe, if he wished hard enough things would be different this time once the music stopped playing and the party was over. But for now, all the boy could do was close his eyes, fight back the tears, listen and pray that they would.
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