Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: JAM (02/09/17)
- TITLE: Missing the Beat
By Francy Judge
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Year after year, I pushed strollers past that house on my walks to Magnolia Park with my children. What started as a cacophony of bangs and clangs began to sound pleasant and inspiring. Practice did make perfect or at least kinder to the ears.
As we walked, my son banged on air drums and said, “Watch me…see how fast I can play? Can I get a drum set?”
A long pause followed. “We’ll see.” I wasn’t sure I could endure daily jam sessions in my own house that rattled enough already with five kids. I didn’t know the drummer’s family, but I admired them for their endurance, tolerating their son’s love of decibels. Maybe they wore earplugs.
Sometimes the boy’s friends joined him, adding electric guitars to jazz up the beat. Sometimes we recognized a song, but they often created their own harmony. They were loud, but good, the sound of our block.
I met his mother at the orthopedist office where she worked as a nurse. When my ten-year-old broke his arm, I had to fill out the usual health history. As Theresa processed the papers, her eyes lit up. “You live on Larson Street?”
I shook my head, wondering why she was asking. Was my handwriting sloppy?
“We’re neighbors! I live in the corner house across from the school…the one with brown shingles. My teenage son jams on the drums twenty-four hours a day.”
“We walk by your house every day, but it took my son to break his arm for us to meet.”
“Not many neighbors want to visit me and risk bursting an eardrum.”
“Your son’s talented.”
“Thanks. Justin dreams of becoming a famous drummer and touring the world with his band. I say go for it. No sense squashing goals at this age.”
We chatted for a bit before my son got his cast. She mentioned how she had another job in the hospital and only worked here part time. I was glad if my son had to play rugby and break his arm, he chose Monday instead of Tuesday. I remembered later, it was God’s timing: “…and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” Romans 8:28. Our beach town was nicknamed “City by the Sea.” We have so many neighbors, it’s impossible to know everyone, but I knew one more, the mother of the drummer.
I never met Justin, but saw the blue and white balloons tied to his fence and fighting the wind to be freed on graduation, the same day my oldest son graduated high school. The ceremony was held outside on a sizzling day with strong gusts of wind challenging caps to stay on the graduates. From a distance, I heard Justin’s name called during the procession to receive diplomas as the high school band played Pomp and Circumstance. I waved to Theresa. She beamed with the same pride I felt, watching our sons reach this milestone that would begin the next phase in their lives.
It was a day that same year the music stopped. I biked past the Theresa’s house with my youngest daughter, and she noticed the difference. “Where’s the drummer? He always plays when we go to the park.”
As we rode down the street, we heard…not the drummer jamming, but his mother’s scream. We turned around to see who needed help. The ambulance lights flashed outside Theresa’s house. The emergency team carried a body covered in a sheet out of the garage and into the ambulance.
In our City by the Sea, news spread quickly among neighbors. The drummer died of a heroin overdose. The words twisted my stomach into a triple knot. I hugged my kids. Our block would never sound the same again.
Months later, walking past the empty house, the ocean breeze swung the gate back and forth, creating a creaking noise. The For Sale sign rocked too. I closed the latch and whispered a prayer in the silence.
Fiction, inspired by a true story.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.