ONE FINAL SONG by Brendan Smith

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The man continued to sing. They all knew the song. They had heard it innumerable times before but no one dared complain. There was no point wasting precious time complaining.

Not now
Not anymore

As he reached the all too familiar chorus, more voices joined. Even the baby in the second last row quietened its frantic wailing to a babble that served as some kind of strange accompaniment.

The effect was almost simultaneous.
Every heart began to beat a little slower…

slower …

Their hearts beat as one now – no other way to describe it. When no other force, religion, love or hatred could bind them together, this did.

He lifted his voice as the melody took on its own form, climbing steadily higher. They all sensed the build in expression and committed their voices even more. Not a single person thought of his or her own shame or lack of musicality. There was only one voice.

a single voice
Though many harmonies now sprang forth from the singular phrase.
one purpose

There was no time. No amount of watch-checking could change anything.
Now
and them

Nothing else mattered suddenly.
Over two hundred lives of collecting things, money, love, friendship, luck…
None of that was here now.

Just the song
and its choristers

Perhaps even they had begun to not exist.
Then, the plane itself seemed to steady. The jolts became less severe and frequent. The plane was disappearing from their reality.

The flight attendants stopped running up and down the aisles.
Instead they smiled.
The same smile they smiled at the beginning of the flight,
but this time sincere.

Even the male flight attendant turned where he stopped to face the passengers. His smile was one of pride, honesty, compassion…
Even through his tears, his smile lit up his face.
He dared to show joy in a moment like this.
But the passengers smiled back at him, mockingly staying death, even if for a minute longer.

The man in seat 17D continued to sing… It was clear he did not now sing alone. In fact, most had even forgotten that it was he who had begun the song.
The lament… elegy… legacy.

213 legacies. Simultaneously being interwoven to one.

one song

one final song

The sound of engines, air rushing past the cabin in patterns it never ought to have, the bleeping of alarms, the constant shuddering of seat brackets and overhead baggage lockers…
…all inaudible.
They didn’t matter any longer.
Like so much in their now seemingly insignificant lives…
…didn’t mattered any longer.
What mattered was them.

all of them
together

Now

They all sensed the song coming to cadence, but they instinctively willed it on by striving to even greater heights.
More harmonies rose above the already rich arrangement.
Rhythms never even heard by anyone on board began to run up and down the aisles, chasing each other.
No one on Earth had ever heard the song before.
Not like this.
Never like this.

The music of a single soul can never be recreated, let alone the music from 213 souls.
Like a rushing stream that will never again meet the water that it carries at any moment.
For souls live in the water of music.
They breathe it.
Sing it.
But a stream doesn’t have moments, does it…
It just is.
Living, breathing… dying.
It was all the same now.
But the song didn’t need to know that.
The song was hope.
Not of living.
Of humanity.
One song of humanity.

Across the aisles humanity was joining hands.
Where one couldn’t hold a hand, an arm was kindly placed over the shoulder.
Humanity was connected.
In song.
In love.
In living. In dying.

Strangers still, and yet, no more, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.
Not looking away.
Loving.

The song of love made no sound.
The passengers could still hear it, though it sung no longer.

And so they shall hear its echoes.

For a long while


Brendan Smith is a full-time university student, part-time musician, and wannabe-writer. He has taught in schools, conducted choirs and musicals, and now lives abroad whilst studiying Media Education. For more info visit Brendan at https://www.facebook.com/FiddleWren

2 Comments
  • Sandra Conroy

    Reply

    The essence of music. Beautifully written, hauntingly powerful. Thank you for your words.

  • Jo

    Reply

    Captivated till the end. Ahhhh the wonder of song even in catastrophe. Thank you Brendan. Love your stories

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