The chord is stretched taut, frayed, but holding.
Each night since his return home, I’ve had to hear the sounds of death metal or some other form of screeching rage rock from the basement. It’s loud, but my 95 year old father is nearly deaf so it won’t bother him – even with his hearing aids in and turned on. But I hear it.
I say nothing, but think many things. I decide this: he needs time and space, so don’t judge him or his musical loves. I remember my parents being upset and challenged by my musical tastes, especially when I started going to concerts in Toronto. They listened nearly exclusively to classical music, Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and opera; it was always on, always in the background of my home. In fact, I had not heard any popular music until Olivia Newton John, and then again when my brother introduced my parents to the Beatles.
Once in high school, parties with friends revolved around music, and my listening world exploded and expanded. It was the spinning center and the chords connected us. Albums were played in full while we sat on shag carpeted floors; we would sing along, play air guitars, and exchange smiles of recognition in dimly lit basement rooms. We didn’t talk deeply or share anything other than the music.
Last night, we ate dinner as a family though I could tell my youngest son wasn’t hungry; he did it for us, for the family. Conversation flowed and I noticed deepening crevices and slight swelling under my husband’s eyes. He’s not sleeping, I think. After dishes and baking muffins, the youngest retreats to the basement and I bristle against the sounds penetrating the walls – Megadeath. I feel a old fog of ire surfacing, and do my best to push it away with rationalizations.
The music changes and I hear familiar sounds. My body softens releasing tension and I hear the chords of “2112” – Rush. Turning to my husband, I whisper, “Recognize that sound?” Despite the years, some sounds are in us deeply embedded like the vinyl grooves which carry chords of connection.