“No, no, go back.”
“This one?” Raven said. She appeared to have some doubt over my choice.
“Yes,” I said confidently. “This is one from before I enjoyed.”
“I clutched some of the words. They were very intense.”
She was doing strange things with her eyebrows. “Really?” She said again, impugning my judgment.
I hushed her to hear the song better.
Charles had long introduced the study of his people’s music to me. But more recently my clan members had been using it to help develop my word skills. Words were more difficult to understand when being sung. It was an interesting kind of test that I enjoyed. Hearing music had a lightening effect on the body, or some warming influence with the innards. There were many levels to music. Some had so many sounds it was difficult to understand. Some were very simple, like a single sound, or a single voice. That was my favorite, especially when it was Charles.
But this one had high, rotating, piercing sounds at an increasing pace. It felt tall and metallic. I couldn’t understand the first words the woman was saying. I had initially thought it was a battle song, but when it got to the repeating parts, I knew it deep inside me. It was a desperate plea said by someone who knew what it was like to be hungry, who knew the exquisite fulfillment of having a good companion. The words were about knowing the agony of being alone.
Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight.
Won’t somebody help chase the shadows away.
Gimmem, gimme, gimme a man after midnight.
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day.
After the desolate tones of the end of the song rang out, I secretly wiped the water from my eyes. I looked up to see Raven looking at me strangely.
“It makes a hurting-but-good feeling in the chest,” I explained.
“Yeah,” she said. “Sure.”
I pointed at the tiny metal box that held all the music. “I need you to take this to Charles. I feel this words for him. I want his mind to know this words.”
Pleasingly, Raven smiled at my command. She smiled so hard she had to bite her lip to keep her pleasure at bay. I understood the impulse. As a former chief she had to keep her heart strong and hidden for the sake of her pride. But I could tell she was happy at my offering to her brother.
“Yes,” she agreed enthusiastically. “Oh god, yes.”
I nodded at my good judgment and the many good feelings my offering would bring. It was such a beautiful song.