The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Luciana is from Argentina. They have not seen their father very much in the past ten years, and their memories of his presence in their childhood are a bit blurry. Although they can only recall him vaguely, and although he was not always the most welcomed presence, Luciana does have a few pleasant memories of him. Namely, his role in shaping their love of music.

Dad swings his hands like a conductor when the CD starts to play. It’s some sort of opera music, and the woman singer’s voice resonates through the room. His eyes are closed as he hums along, and I sit behind him, watching his body sway from side to side.

“Do you hear that, Luciana?” he says as he turns to look at me. His eyes open wide, and I can see my reflection in them. “Her voice has perfect pitch, you see. Even though the notes she hits are far from each other on the scale, she’s able to transition without faltering. You see, you see? Now that’s talent!”

It’s true that she’s good. She very good, and even though I can’t understand the words she sings her voice gives them powerful meaning.

“I’m listening,” I say, my soft voice growing louder to speak over the music. “She’s really good. I like how-“ but dad has already spun back around to turn the volume up, and my voice goes unheard.

I don’t think he means to drown me out; he just really likes music. He’s always listening to opera or some sort of theatrical soundtrack. He isn’t the most thoughtful person, but I don’t think he does it on purpose. Music is all he really thinks about. It’s not his fault; that’s just how he is.

Later on he’s sitting at the table by himself, the CD player turned off. The house is the quietest it’s ever been. I can hear every breath, every heartbeat, and every footstep I make as I near him.

Without the music, he just seems so lonely, and so I start to sing.

I’ve been practicing for hours to sing like the woman. Although I do not have her impressive vocal range, I think I’m still pretty good for a kid. I carry each tune consistently, and hold breath in my stomach at each pause. Dad looks up at me, and a lump forms in my throat. My voice cracks as I reach a high note, but I keep going because I know that even the best singers mess up sometimes.

“Luciana,” he says firmly, and I trail off. My throat is dry and I start to cough. “Stop. Stop that. I’m trying to have some peace and quiet. Go bother your mother,” and he waves his hand, not like a conductor, but in a motion to shoo me away.

And so I go and sit in the front room to think about the future. This is only a minor setback, I tell myself. I’ve always wanted to be a famous singer, haven’t I? I’m going to be someday; I know it. There will come a time when my voice rings out from the CD player speakers, and dad will sway back and forth as I transition between notes effortlessly. He’ll talk to me all about how strong my vocal pitch is, and about how impressed he is by my singing. He’ll apologize profusely for how he acted before, when he dismissed me in favor of silence.

Dad’s still sitting at the table. He looks so lonely when there isn’t any music, but now I’m lonely, too. 

Luciana

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Argentina

Luciana is from Argentina. They have not seen their father very much in the past ten years, and their memories of his presence in their childhood are a bit blurry. Although they can only recall him vaguely, and although he was not always the most welcomed presence, Luciana does have a few pleasant memories of him. Namely, his role in shaping their love of music.

Decade: 2000s
Rating:
Recorded by Anneliese Warnke on November 29, 2014
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