13. Mister Stagger Lee

Chapter 12

Mister Stagger Lee

Serenity and peace. He and his friends. Love and family. And what a beautiful day – full of chance and strange things and beautiful things. His friend Jake visited him today and asked for his help. His friend was crying and shaking, and so he led him into the light of his embrace and made him whole again, and told him what to do. She would love him if he asked her to, and everything under the sky would be wonderful and swirling again, like it had been before. He looked down at his new friend; the little boy had wandered in looking for someone to play with, and he too was connected to the world and was made a part of beauty and unity. He marked him in indelible ink inside the marrow of his bones, and they would be together always.

“This is a symbol for friends,” he had said. “Will we be friends forever?”

And the boy had said yes, and the symbol of their friendship wrapped him and whispered to him and made him strong and courageous and inscribed in him the poetry of life.

There’s the wind on the heath, brother. If I could feel that I would gladly live for ever, said George Borrow. Life is very sweet, brother. Who would wish to die?

And with it the boy was not afraid of fear or of pain and he was not afraid to die. If a friend asks it – if a true friend asks it, well –

Anyone would sacrifice anything to please a real friend.

And so he sat in quiet and deep contemplation on the words of his friends who had gone, whose lives had left him and made him alone, who had told him their fears and desires. He had loved them all, and at their deaths he had wept. In their honor he played the strings and considered and thought. And his conclusion was the same as it had always been – life was beautiful.

So there he sat with his new friend and told him stories about all the wonderful things in the world, and played his music and showed him the greatest secrets, made him laugh and look on in awe. He would show him all there was to see. Even the unpleasantness and sorrow and monsters, and the difficulties and hardships and choices and he would show him how to overcome it and grow and live. He would be his friend, and gain a friend in return. It would be wonderful.

He stood in Matt Leigh’s basement listening very carefully for the noise to begin. Zig and Jake were upstairs. They were the instruments. He cocked his head and opened his ears. Matt stood with him, holding his hand. He would teach his new friend to conduct, and to make music. The string room was behind him, and the door was open. He would compose there, with his friends around him.

Oh, the storm is threatening …

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Chapter 14

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