The Symphony of Words
I opened the rusty mailbox with hesitation; I was afraid of bills, and junk and all the horridness that becomes unleashed after opening this Pandora’s Box in front of my house. But, when I opened it today, on this sunny Tuesday, there was only one letter. It was thin and the envelope was beige, and there were odd pop-out fancy designs all over it.
I brought it in the house with me, and I never opened it…
…Until a month later, when everything went downhill.
The phone struggled to ring; the battery was dying, but I pressed the TALK button anyway.
“Hello. Is this Harold Glass?” A man spoke from the other end in monotone.
“Uh, yes; who, may I ask, is calling?” I stammered into the phone blindly. The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on which exact it belonged to.
“This is Frank from the Internal Revenue Service. I’m calling because you have a lien on your mortgage.”
“Oh…” My heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces. I could only say that one world for the next two or three minutes, until the massive problem finally sank in.
“Your payments are overdue by five months. We can only give you one more extension.”
“I… I understand.” I began to think to myself; did I spend too much on something? Why am I missing money? Didn’t my recent published works bring in enough to pay it?
“Thank you. There are three weeks left in your extension. We will contact you at that time.” The phone on the other line clicked, and Frank ended the conversation abruptly.
Recent publications of my works had been slow… I had writers’ block for some time now, and it was definitely showing in my finances… I ran into the spare room and began to frantically shuffle through all the unpublished stories I had stored in boxes.
So many stories were in front of me, but they weren’t enough… I’d have to write twice this much to catch up with the debt anvil floating above my head. Thoughts exploded inside my head, and I began to become confused. What will I do? There’s not enough time to catch up… I’m done for.
…And that’s when that beige, untouched letter came into play. I didn’t even look at who it was from or what it was about. I needed something to read; maybe I could gather some kind of inspiration from it. As the letter sat peacefully atop the mountain of printed pages, it beckoned me to finally open it.
I picked it up and shredded the top, and pulled the letter out.
Dear Mr. Glass,
I know who you are. You will disregard this letter for thirty-three days, and something unfortunate will occur, inspiring you to read this.
Read this carefully, word-for-word. You are in need of assistance now, in a dire time. I am here to help. My return address is 58 Mellville Drive, in Redmond, WA.
You have less than three weeks until you lose something dear to you; Call the number below and I will tell you everything you need to get back on your feet.
Pritchard Albora, PhD.
I immediately jumped up, dropped the letter, and sprinted to the portable phone. I pounded the TALK button once more, and I dialed in Pritchard’s number. It rang two times before a deep, calm voice responded on the other line.
“Who… Are you? How did you know it was me calling?”
“I know many things; I also know how to help you.” Pritchard replied slowly. His voice never changed tone, but it didn’t sound like it was in a droning monotone, either.
“What can you do to help me, then…?”
“Meet me at the Borders downtown and I will tell you everything.”
The bus pulled to the nearest stop and I hopped onto the pavement. It was three PM, the exact time he told me to meet him at the entrance. He made me nervous; maybe he was just some sort of scammer…? No, he wouldn’t know the precise times that all of this would happen.
I slowly approached the front doors, and I saw a man in a tan suit with long hair and thick black glasses staring at his watch. From the ten foot distance I was from him, I thought I heard him mumble to himself,
“Four, three… Two… One.”
I walked up to him slowly; was he the man who mysteriously knew everything about me…?
“How are you today, Mr. Glass?”
“It’s not my best day ever.” I looked at the ground and stared at the marble tiles. They were so clean that I could see my reflection.
“I’m glad you decided to come here.”
“What do you know about how to help me?”
“What would you like to know?”
I felt as if this was just all an elaborate advertisement for some sort of sketchy timeshare in Alaska or something… But, I decided to ask him anyway,
“What can I do to get out of this foreclosure? I have less than a month until it’s all over…”
“You have the income right in the boxes in the spare room. Write a few more and I will buy them all from you.”
“No amount you’d be sanely willing to pay would help.”
“I will pay you five thousand dollars for every story you put in my hands.”
“What?! That’s ridiculous. I don’t have the talent to deserve that much pay.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.” He handed me a slip that looked like a check and continued, “Here, let me prove to you that I’m not kidding.”
I read the numbers in the middle: Five thousand dollars and 00/100. My legs became weak. I just held two months’ worth of payments for the mortgage.
“What’s to say that this check won’t be bounced? How are you serious about this?”
“Because. I know you possess the words to save yourself from this predicament. You just have to write them down.” He chuckled calmly and walked away.
“Wait, come back here!” I held out my arm, trying to command him to return to me. But, he just continued on his own merry way, and I was here on this concrete island with a third of my salvation in my hands. He turned around, and said one last thing to me,
“Write, damn it. Write like the wind. Write like you’ve never written in your entire life, but express it all with the inspiration of a thousand philosophers. Slam the words on that paper and make a symphony out of it. Nothing’s stopping you; not even you yourself can stop what you can do. Don’t let anything bind you.” He gave me a benign look, and smiled. As Pritchard turned around, what he said pierced through me like a sword of inspiration. I felt a mix of random feelings; at first, I felt somewhat insulted, but then my spine began to tingle from it all. My hairs in the back of my neck rose, and I smiled from cheek to cheek.
The next four days consisted of a barrage of sleepless nights and an arsenal of words at my side. Nothing would stop me, not even impending homelessness. Writing was my main focus, and if anything got in my way, I’d destroy it.
Story after story added to the pile of filled white sheets sitting happily next to my desk. Metaphors became my weapons and blank page that became filled turned into another conquered enemy. My smiling never ceased, and eventually I was unable to stop chuckling.
This random man, whom I’d never met until less than a week ago, just saved my house, and my life. After I filled the final page of my series of stories, I decided to drive to the bank; I had disregarded that check, because I had just spent ninety-six hours writing ceaselessly.
Fatigued, I started the car and drove right to the bank. Every single negative thought that hanged over me and pushed me down had completely evaporated in the wintry air.
I parked right near the entrance, jogged in, and gave the nearest bank teller the check. She entered all of the information, and replied,
“It’s been added to your account. Anything else?”
From that day, I have been eternally grateful to the man I had no connection to… The unknown savior…
…My guiding light.
“Yes, I’d like to make a payment, please.”
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