The Sad Saxophone

I always heard the neighbour upstairs play their Saxophone at exactly 11 am, every Sunday.

Never 11.01, or 11:03.

Always 11.

The songs always started with jazz, and upbeat melodies that made you want to tap your feet and kid yourself that everything was okay.

But at exactly 11:30, the joyful cheery music would stop and there would be a pause for exactly 10 seconds.

I counted every time.

Then, low, long soulful notes would break the silence, and I swear the whole of New York City would stop just to hear the melancholic melodies from this one person in their apartment.

The world would stop for the Sad Saxophone.

At least, that’s what I called it.

My room mates told me that no one ever knew which neighbour it was who played the Saxophone, as everyone on that floor never really left their apartment, so it was hard to play the guessing game and rule out each neighbour.

For a while we thought it was the neighbour directly above us, so one day me and my roommate Tracy knocked on the door after the music had stopped playing.

We knocked.

No answer.

We waited.

And knocked again.

No answer.

We eventually got the idea that no one was coming to the door, so we left and never went back.

So the Sad Saxophone continued to play, and I started waking up earlier so I could make myself a coffee, and lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, the music from the Saxophone became the background music to my thoughts.

The melodies were very similar, and it was only after a month of hearing the Saxophone that I could really differentiate the difference between each melody.

It’s Sunday now, and it’s 11.01.

 

And I hear nothing.

 

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An Update: ‘twtellstales’ Posting Weekly?!

Hello fellow writers and readers,

Since October of 2013 I have been uploading short stories on a biweekly basis for all of my readers (not that I have many), but starting in May, I will be uploading every Sunday!

The main reason I originally started this blog started as part of my academic program, but I’ve come to enjoy it so much that I have decided to continue twtellstales.

To those who follow my blog, I give you a huuuuuge thank you and and a virtual hug. A like or a follow means more than I can say.

I hope you stick around to see where twtellstales will go.

Thank you.

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“Even my friends aren’t my friends”

Gina sat in the cafeteria surrounded by her friends, quietly munching on her apple.

“Oh my God, it was AMAZING.” Gushed Lucy.

“Yeah, I can’t believe how many cute dresses we found for Prom, such a good day – we should do it again.”

Gina stopped munching. “Wait, what? You guys went shopping for prom?”

The rest of the table fell silent.

Sally’s cheeks went bright red. “Erm, yeah. On Saturday.”

Gina frowned. “Oh. I thought there were no plans for this weekend. That’s what you guys told me.”

“I’m going to go to the bathroom. Anyone want to join?” Lucy grabbed her lunch tray and left the table. Sally got up, then Grace, then Tracy.

Gina was all alone at the table.

“Bitches.” Gina whispered.

—————————————————————————————————————–

“Wait. They didn’t invite you to go prom dress shopping with them? I thought these were your friends?” Jake, Gina’s brother was sitting on the roof with Gina, smoking cigarettes and drinking stolen liquor from their parent’s cabinet.

“So did I.” Gina replied, taking a swig from the bottle.

“Even my friends aren’t my friends.”

Jake nodded and took a puff from his cigarette. “I know exactly what you mean.” He paused.

“Gina, when you leave high school and go to college, you’ll realise that you were only friends with people because you saw them 5 days a week.”

Gina coughed and put her cigarette down. “Why do we try so hard to be so nice to people who really don’t care about us?” Gina put her head in her hands. “I always do this, but why do I care so much? I shouldn’t.”

Jake sighed sadly. “We accept the love we think we deserve. That goes for kindness too. It’s the way we are, Gina.”

“Pass the bottle.” Gina replied.

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“I’m not a sad story, you know.”

Her name was Sam Kennedy, and she had soot black, shoulder length curly hair, with thick dark eyebrows and eyes the colour of the sky on a clear day. She wore all black, and the same black leather jacket everyday. She smelt like sadness and cigarettes.

The first time I saw her I was in the library checking out books my college professor recommended for me – mainly books about Harper Lee as we were reading the ever so famous “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I was leaving with a pile of books so high that I had look around them to see where I was going. I ended up bumping into Sam and almost dropping all my books.

“Oh, sorry. Excuse me…” I said walking around Sam who was now smiling and raising her eyebrows.

“Hey, I know you. Toby, right?” She stood in front of me, blocking my path.

“Er, yeah. That’s me. We have English lit. with Mr Reynolds, right?” Sam nodded. I was struggling with all the books in my hands. “Listen, sorry Sam. I have to go…” I gestured to the books with my eyes. Sam was still smiling. “Sure, Toby. See you around.”

After meeting in the library, we ended up meeting there everyday. I helped her study, and she helped me relax. We started going out to the college’s café every afternoon after our lectures, and we talked about our lives and who we were and wanted to be.

“I’m not a sad story, you know.” She was smoking as usual, and sipping black coffee. I paused mid sip of my hot chocolate.

“I know.” I replied.

Sam laughed. “No you don’t, Toby. No one really does, if you think about it. Just because I wear black and smell like Marlboro doesn’t mean anything. It’s just me. Doesn’t mean I’m sad, or whatever. It’s huge misconception. Guys always try to ‘fix me’. It’s pathetic, really.” She exhaled her smoke, staring at me. “So don’t think I don’t know what your aim is. I know guys like you, and I know what your plan is. I have you all figured out.”

“I don’t love you. If that’s what you’re thinking.” I lied, looking at her.

“Oh, I know.” She looked down at her lap. I frowned.

Sam looked up.

“Because that’s why I love you.” She responded.

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Crossroads

Lottie was at a crossroad in her life.

Standing there holding the summer of her dreams in her hand, in the form of an acceptance letter to one the biggest advertising firms in the country. A summer working as an intern before university – this was the most perfect thing Lottie could have dreamed of.

Lottie exhaled and sat down on her bed. She looked at the picture hanging on her wall; a picture of happier and simpler times. Times where her father was not a crying wreck of a 46-year-old male.

What a way to go. Lottie thought to herself.

Last year in January, Lottie’s stepmother, Barbara, had been run over by a Heineken truck. This amused Lottie as her stepmother had never been a fan of beer and would look disgusted whenever a bottle of beer was opened near her. Lottie smiled darkly.

Barbara had married Lottie’s father only two years ago, where they met at work. Barbara was the young, blonde haired, doe eyed assistant to Lottie’s father before they married. Two months later, they were married.

Barbara was always mocking Lottie and ignoring her, but acting sweet as pie whenever Lottie’s father was around. Lottie shopped all day, buying overpriced clothes and cosmetics, and eating at expensive restaurants with her friends.

Lottie really, really, disliked Barbara.

But, now that Barbara was gone, Lottie’s father was depressed, sitting on the sofa watching cheesy cooking shows and drinking cold coffee.

Lottie was at a crossroad in her life.

Should I stay or should I go? Lottie knew that her father would not make it through the morning if Lottie was not there.

But she also knew that working at this firm was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Lottie knew what she had to do.

She walked down the stairs to her father, who was watching MasterChef, wearing stained pyjamas.

“Dad?” Lottie looked at her father. He looked up, his eyes empty and hollow.

“Yes, sweetheart?” He replied.

“I’m at a crossroad in my life.”

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Too Much Lipstick

“Too much lipstick.” I told the girl next to me, who was furiously applying a bright raspberry Chanel lipstick to her lips.

“I know, I know.” She sighed and put the cap on the lippie, looking into the restaurant mirror and fixing her soot black long hair. “It’s just… I really like this guy. But, he doesn’t seem to feel the same way.”

I shrugged, and straightened the collar on my black blouse. “What is meant to be will be. Everything happens for a reason, blah, blah, blah.” I replied, perhaps sounding a little bit ruder than I expected.

I looked into the mirror. The girl was glaring at me, hand on hip, an angry but bemused expression on her pale face.

“Hey, I know you. You’re Hailey, that girl who never talks to anyone. I always see you in my lectures. You never talk to anyone, what’s up with that?”

I smiled smugly, and turned to face her. “Listen, honey. You go back to your date with your brainless jock, and I’ll go back to my dinner. I don’t do small talk.”

Her smile turned into a frown. “It’s a shame you’re all alone on Valentine’s Day. You’re pretty. Would have thought someone might have asked you out. Whatever.” She picked her bag and smoothed down her skirt. “I’m Veronica, by the way. If you wanna hang out, or if you want to learn that when people try to make friends with you, you should take that chance, because it probably won’t come back again; then give me a call”.

Veronica turned around and opened the bathroom door, leaving swiftly, her high heels clicking against the red tiles.

I sighed, and looked at my reflection. No one had ever said I was pretty before. Yet, if I was supposedly so pretty, why was I dining alone in the restaurant near my college, on Valentine’s Day? I ran my finger through my shoulder length blonde hair, and noticed that Veronica had left her lipstick by the sink. I picked it up and took off the cap.

“Time to apply too much lipstick”. I whispered to myself.

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“And?”

“And?”

John paused. This was not the reaction he wanted.

“Mom. I got into Princeton. With a scholarship.” John stood there, blue eyes wide and his curly blonde hair pointing in different directions. “I was the only student, from my entire school who got in.”

John’s mother, Lucy looked up from her newspaper. “And? Darling, I’m not quite sure what you want me to say to you.” Lucy straightened her glasses and went back to reading The New York Times. John slumped into the armchair opposite his mother, defeated. He thought his parents would be proud. Yet, all his mother had said was… “And?”. Lucy cleared her throat. “Oh, darling? Could you please tell Grace that we’ve run out of vol au vents for our cocktail party tonight?” Lucy smiled at John, a smile that was once real and had meaning, was now simply a gesture of fake gratitude. John stared at his mother. “Sure.” He stood up, angrily leaving the living room.

Lucy put down her newspaper, and rubbed her temples. She took her glasses off and looked outside the window, at Manhattan. However she wasn’t looking at the skyscrapers, but her own reflection. She saw a woman with pale olive skin, and a chin length bob with expensive honey blonde streaks mixing in with her own dark blonde hair. Her eyes were tired and weak, the sparkle from her sea blue eyes was gone. A tear escaped from her eye. Lucy looked away at the window, and began to sob uncontrollably. Lucy had realised that not only did she look like her mother, she had become her.

Lucy’s mother, had never once approved or congratulated Lucy on her accomplishments. Not even when she had the highest grades in her college class for Law when she went to Harvard, despite wanting to study Art. Her mother had forced her to take Law. “Oh don’t be stupid, Lucy. Being an artist is a joke. You’re going to study Law.”

Her mother had never once complimented Lucy, or noticed her hard work. All her mother ever said was that one word, that could hurt so much in such a short space of time.

“And?”

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