Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)
TITLE: The Cadence
By Connie Pilston Shoemaker
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Tap, tap they hear as they disembark at their stop. She hears the sound of laughing children as she walks by the playground which smells of freshly scrubbed sidewalks and pencil shavings.
Tap, tap they hear as they follow in herd-like fashion up the stairs to their cubicles. She hears the sounds of slamming office doors and the squeak of leather briefcases and rustle of overcoats from the men drenched in aftershave. At the office, they hear tap, tap while she hears the hushed conversations of the heavily perfumed ladies and the gurgling of the water cooler. Phones ring, coffee perks . . . nothing escapes her senses while the others blindly go about their routines.
Tap, tap they hear in the rush to get out the door for lunch. She hears the sounds of lunch bags rustling and smells pastrami and onions. She hears watches beep out the call to noon in a duet with the bells at St. Paul’s Cathedral and she bows her head to pray. Walking by the playground, squealing is replaced by soft voices talking in between their bites of lunch. She hears the occasional clank in the metal trash drum of a discarded sack or water bottle. The cathedral chimes at one bring the workers back to the daily grind, to their desks and to their toil and they hear tap, tap. She hears the copiers and the conversations in the cubical down the hall. The sounds of the phones and the squeak of the mail cart as it scrapes its way toward her office then moves past without a pause.
Tap, tap they hear in the evening as they rush toward the door to catch the express train or the bus to the ferry. She hears the tired weary voices of people talking on their cell phones to those waiting at home; delivering their litany of reasons as to why they are late. She hears the rustle of shopping bags and smells fresh bread and fried chicken. The swirl of the hurried press past her impatiently as their steps break their rhythm and she longs for the familiar steps of her home.
Tap, tap he hears as she nears the front door. Thud, thud she hears from the other side . . . it is Max, her beloved companion, whom she’s missed all day. A smile spreads across her face.
When the doctor told her Max had to be off his injured paw for a while she wondered how she’d make it without him. While fumbling for the keys she breathes in the deep smell of lilac and hibiscus. She feels the wind on her face as it gently rings the wind chime by the door. Max begins to pant in anticipation of his friend and she hears the jingle of his tags. By this point in the evening, the crickets are chirping and the mourning doves are cooing their lullabies as the leaves softly rustle in the tree by the porch. She hears the buzz of the bees on the lilac blooms and the familiar creak as she opens the door.
Max bounds to the yard with a leap and a yelp, eager to play in the grass despite his sore paw. Her white cane tap taps through the doorway, Max on her heels, and she ponders the day’s cacophony. Walking to the back porch she turns on the waterfall on the picnic table and settles into the rocker. Creak, creak she hears, rocking back and forth. She hears the cicada and the frogs in the pond out back. She revels in the soothing sounds of God’s Invisible Symphony. Encore Encore hears herself say as she lets out a sigh and strokes Max who is sitting beside her. Thud thud beat his reply.
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