The Wishing Tree
“We are classically trained musicians turned rocker chicks,” the raven-haired creature began the first time I saw her. She immediately struck me as some type of myth or legend. A goddess, a mermaid, or an alien perhaps? She bent her head again to press her brick red lips right up against the mike as she continued her introduction.
“I’m Liz, I’m the lead singer. This is Sarah on the bass and Maya to my right with her guitar. Behind me, we’ve got Kate on drums. We’re The Flaming Rain and today we’re performing some original songs and some covers for you guys.” Cue applause.
Her voice, as it turned out, was intoxicatingly magical. Kate’s vocals were impressive, reminiscent of the old-school powerhouses of music that the industry never could follow up. Sarah and Maya barely sang that first time I watched them perform but I heard enough to decide they were a good band.
Liz had the face of a queen and sleek hair draping her waist. That night she wore a light bomber jacket over her cocktail dress and was, in my opinion, the epitome of cool. Rocker chic. Sarah was more like me- big, blonde, and beautiful- in leather jeans and a tank top under a jacket that was obviously an afterthought meant to coordinate with her bandmates. It was Sarah who talked to me for real that night. She didn’t ever want to become famous, she explained, she just was obsessed with the foursome making music together and Liz intended to eventually touch people’s lives with their music.
“Ambitious,” I remember commenting as we walked around in search of refreshments.
“Yeah, that’s Liz. My bestie of one decade has always dreamed of being influential.”
“Ten years is a long time. A long time to dream and a long time to stand by someone when you want different things from life,” I remarked.
“Don’t get me wrong, the four of us all share the same wishes, just… different reasoning.”
“Well, I think you’ll make your joint wishes come true. That was really incredible for rock. This sounds crazy, but it was emotional, you know?”
“Our songs always are. That’s how we are. You should hear us on our other instruments.”
“What do you play?”
“I play flute, Liz is our Beethoven on the piano, Kate has her violin playing down to a supreme science, and we have Maya hammering away on this cello that makes her look so small. Don’t get me wrong, classical music is beautiful and we’re all good at our respective instruments but it sort of crushes your soul to go against what you really want to be doing. Know what I mean?”
“My parents had me on the keyboard when I was a kid. I was terrible at first but then they made me get good. You know something ironic?”
“The better people thought you were at your keyboard, the more worthless you felt. I can see it on your face that you would’ve fit right in with our crowd back in the day.”
“They’re all cheering when you take your bow but they’re not cheering for you. But I’d imagine you girls never had thought.”
“They’re clapping like crazy but they never clap for you; they’re just applauding these meaningless little sounds. And you know what else always used to get to me?” She didn’t talk with her hands much, but she was the type of person who lets every emotion color her face with neon lights.
“Everyone says it’s such an exhilarating rush to be on stage and perform something you worked so hard on. But I never got adrenaline; I just got exhausted.” Oddly, I was taking a guess at what she’d been referring to, but I felt sure I was right on. I was.
“Every time. Completely draining to put on that show like you mean it. So this one time we all went back to Kate’s stepdad’s garage and she’s starting to bang around on those drums. That’s how this got going.”
“Really?” Sarah gave me a smile brimming with nostalgia.
“We called ourselves Rain on Fire back then. Kind of funny to think.” She punctuated this with a chuckle that tells me there are still four young girls messing around with magic at Kate’s stepdad’s house.
Thank you for reading this short story; it’s the first one I’ve published since Feather in the Wind.