The smell of acrid smoke faintly rising from a spent cigarette butt from the floor below wafted over the crisp air of night outside her room. The callouses on her spent fingertips threatened to ruin her focus and concentration as they split and cracked and scraped against the nylon strings.  A lonely bead of sweat trickled off of her temple faintly cooling the tension within the muscles of her face. She grimaced, frustrated. The notes clumped together without distinction, without direction, without purpose. She could not have been less pleased with how her 35th attempt of the day at the Albeniz piece progressed.

The thwack of the string against the side of her cheek forced her weary fingers to stop playing. The sting quickly subsided into a dull throbbing pain of a reprimand. Down to her last set of strings again, she dreaded deciding between getting another set or eating anything besides ramen noodles for the next week.

Placing her guitar carefully in its stand, she paced around the tiny square of her studio apartment trying not to wonder what she was doing with her life. She wondered why she kept torturing herself performing empty venues for no money playing music of a time long forgotten. Nobody came to listen to her. They came for food, they came for coffee, they came for booze, but would anybody come for her? Why was it so painful, she wondered, to feel like she had something to truly offer this world and yet no one to offer it to?

To be continued…

Adam Buker is a freelance author living in Springfield, MO. When he’s not writing he’s usually cooking, playing with his kids, making music, taking photos, or otherwise pondering the mysteries of life.


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