The Guitar Lesson

Soon however, it was my turn to play tutor. My turn to count the fours. I tuned her guitar as she chattered about the joys of tango and I wondered how I was going to proceed. She already had some chords memorised but how was I going to deal with the unfamiliar shapes, the ones that would normally require me to manipulate stubborn digits into position? The prospect of reaching out into the dark for her fingertips seemed somehow more confronting to me than the allowable, disguisable embrace of dancers. There is something deeply intimate about guiding a woman’s hands to mould music.

When she struck the G minor seventh incorrectly I was ashamed by my sexual response to the impossible delicacy of her knuckles. It felt like lechery, especially given what I knew about her. Old men and their excuses to touch.

But it was only …

Still, I obeyed when she motioned me to sit directly behind her, guiding my arms around her slender frame. My lungs filled with her vapour, my nostrils with the almost rosy sweetness of her hair. I could feel her ribs rising and falling as I lead the progressions. She seemed fragile, breakable, perhaps already snapped; not at all the sinewy tangeura of the previous hour. I was sinking slowly, chord by chord, into her satin sea. At some point she leant back into me, her spine like a zip, opening me up.

For a few beats we breathed together.

The first words of a song came into my thoughts. The first such verse in years.

The music returning.

I have no idea what she remembers of that evening but I recall a heartbeat, a flutter of unseen wings. That instant in crystal when you know one thing.

“We should make a plan,” I announced, shaken. “Give this all some focus.”

She seemed happy to acquiesce, perhaps not realising that I was scrambling for safer ground, doing everything I could to back away.

“Let’s work up a routine, write a couple of songs,” I suggested. “Maybe we could perform them at Christmas, as part of the show.”

Her voice was full of mirth, or was it unease? “I can just imagine how the old crones will like that.”

I laughed along, understanding. “Okay, maybe we could do them at my fiftieth instead. How about that?”

“Might be safer, eh?”

“In which case we’ve got about eight weeks,” I explained, and in her instant acceptance I am certain I detected a note of relief not too dissimilar from mine.


[This ‘letter’ is an excerpt from my novel ‘Three Visions of Olympia’. To find out a little more or buy the very inexpensive e-Book version, scroll down a little further.]

Aside from penning a seemingly endless stream of billets doux, I have also published an e-Novel: THREE VISIONS OF OLYMPIA.

Sex. Fame. Multiple personalities.

When a troubled TV star goes missing on the brink of international stardom her estranged mother, a blind guitarist and an obsessive TV director begin to piece together the fractured, enigmatic jigsaw of Olympia Grazia Gallo.

With it’s three very different narrators, 3VO dives into the messed up maelstrom of mass media hype, middle aged delusion and parental acceptance. In parts pacy and racy, at others lyrical and romantic, this short contemporary novel peels apart the ultimate mystery: namely, the ones we think we know.

Three Visions of Olympia is available online now at:

Amazon (Kindle)

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Apple (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch)

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Barnes and Noble (NOOK)

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FACEBOOK page link:

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Well now there are NO excuses. 🙂

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Love letter # 216

I fought the idea for ages – didn’t want it to occur. Knew it would change everything. I’d almost talked myself out of it. Almost.

It only took the smallest breach – the merest taste. A flood is sometimes held back by thought alone. The difference between then and now is an idea – is the touch you gave.

Your fingers – my undoing.

Love letter # 176

In the warmth I can smell you on my skin. In the cold I can feel your breath. When it’s dark I can see your stars and in the daylight I bask in your life affirming light. You are in the expanse and in the smallness. You are in the dance and in the quietness. And though I am afloat in your great sea I am like the island where you dwell – the point that speaks of waves – the one that evokes the other. You are both my completion and my dissolution. My transcendence and my grounding. I feel your river in my blood and your body next to mine. We are like one sometimes – but also like zero. This is how I know.

Love letter # 267

I was so lucky to know you, let alone be anywhere near you. You showed me things I never even dreamt of – dances I never imagined. There are things in my life now – ideas, ways of being, feelings – that never existed before your beautiful eyes set fire to my complacency. In your hands I was the traveller finding new lands. With your kiss you electrified my life. When I fell for you I learnt to soar. When I begged you to stay I knew at last that I was not the limit of things. You were the end of self-obsession. Perhaps I paid a price for loving you – but oh what I got in return …

Love letter # 237

I should leave now. I have started to imagine you using your body in that way – how you would move. Sound. Sigh. This places me in an untenable position. I can barely bring myself to look at you, let alone carry on conversation.

You will know me by the space I leave behind. Perhaps you will be surprised. Disappointed. Sickened even. At any rate, I will not have to bear the awful weight of your scorn or the slow screw turn of your ignorant bliss.

By writing this I will appear on your radar – even as a blip – and you will know that someone noticed. Perhaps you saw right through me all along but I have swooned in the vision of you. Your beauty has inundated me. As I take my leave I carry the leftovers of your loveliness with me.

I leave to avoid the intolerable spectre of your light shining for someone else. I know this is petty; but I would rather be called a fool than die in quiet envy.

Just know that you are beautiful and that the one who used to occupy that now empty seat nearby was the one who thought so. Was the one who knew what that meant.