Marie studied at Michigan State University four years in English (creative writing). She writes content, poetry, and stories.
The following story is a piece of fiction. The characters are purely imaginary. Similarities to any real person or event is only coincidence.
Clarel Crewse stared at the locked closet door. Having lost his mother and brother, he now found himself in a Michigan farmhouse with his uncle Sal. The boy had no choice. His father was deployed overseas as a Recon Marine and had emphatically insisted Clarel stay with his bachelor brother, Salamon Crewse.
"Where am I going to hang my clothes?" Clarel wondered as tried to peer into the keyhole. Strange there should be a lock on a clothes closet. Seeing nothing, he took a deep breath out of exasperation and threw himself down onto the bed. It was bad enough that he had to come here, hundreds of miles from all that was familiar. He still hadn't gotten over the loss of losing his mother, either--that was the hardest part. He could barely remember his younger brother, who had died five years previously, but Mother . . . her soft, smiling face was something he would never forget . . . and her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. He would miss hearing those soothing melodies as he fell to sleep at night.
Tears came into his eyes and he swallowed. Another deep breath.
Uncle Sal suddenly appeared at the open bedroom door. "How's it going?" he asked.
Clarel quickly wiped the tears from his eyes with his sleeve. "The closet seems to be locked," he began. "Why is there a lock on the door, anyway?"
"Sorry about that," Sal said. "A family heirloom is stored inside, an old bass. I'll find another place for it. I have the key downstairs. In the meantime, let's have some lunch. I'll get you situated right after."
Clarel didn't feel much like eating, but he didn't want to disappoint his uncle either. "Okay."
Meanwhile, in another world where trees have thoughts, a memory becomes stirred within the maple panels of the heirloom sitting in the closet's darkness. Trees have memory, even when they are cut and designed into other shapes and made into other things.
The tree in the double bass used to be part of a magnificent forest that housed all manner of song birds, flowering shrubs, and aromatic herbal plants. A cottage sat near the edge of the forest, and a woodsman had strung a swing for his little daughter to enjoy. The tree grew fond of the little girl whose name was Daisy.
Every day Daisy swang in her swing draped from the old maple tree until she had grown to adulthood and moved away to live with her betrothed. The maple tree, however, never forgot Daisy and kept the memory of the little girl stored in its bark and into the very grain of the wood itself.
"Gee, Uncle Sal," said Clarel, "I didn't know you composed music, too!"
"Oh, yes, music's my life, Clarel," the man said with a new light in his eyes. Sal sensed Clarel's mood lifting too. The two of them would be good for each other. Sal opened the bedroom's closet door.
The boy's eyes widened. "Wow! It's taller than I am."
Sal smiled. "For now, I'll put it in the library with the piano. You can start hanging some of your clothes."
"Thank you," Clarel said, but he did nothing except watch his uncle disappear down the staircase with the bass. Slowly, he began unpacking, daydreaming all the while.
The Bass' Experience
"So much light--more than I have seen in years!"
The bass could feel itself lifted and carried . . . down, down, down, then through the hallway into the grand room. "My goodness, another creature like myself--only different!"
The maple wood in the baby grand piano shimmied lightly upon the arrival of the bass. On the most primitive level, the instruments acknowledged one another.
"I used to be a tree," sensed the bass. "I'm beginning to remember."
Clarel's First Lesson
Day by day, Clarel's relationship with his uncle began to grow. Slowly, sadness turned into curiosity and even a certain kind of excitement.
One day, while Clarel sat in the armchair near the piano and listened to a new composition on which his uncle was working, an irresistible urge overcame him.
"Uncle?" the boy blurted. "Could you teach me to play the string bass?"
Sal stopped composing and looked at his nephew. "I was hoping you'd ask."
Soon the two were arm-in-arm, wrapping around the bass. Uncle Sal showed Clarel how to hold the French bow. The bachelor musician-composer felt so overwhelmingly proud to be needed, as much as the young nephew felt grateful to be nourished and attended.
"This feels so wonderful!" the bass vibrated.
Fingers moved along the ebony neck, the bow glided back-and-forth across the strings, and a mutual depth of harmony merged between the bass and the boy.
"E - A - D - G, G - D - A -E," the boy repeated under his uncle's instruction as the bow first moved upward to the higher tones, then downward back to the lower ones repeatedly.
"Good!" said Sal. "That's enough for today. Let's take a walk through the garden and then join for supper."
And that's just what they did.
The Bass Gets A Name
Lessons continued day-by-day and, after several months, Clarel was really beginning to feel ease with his practice.
"You're sounding pretty good," Sal said. "I think you're ready for your first bass recital."
"You mean to perform, like, for some people?"
"Yes, exactly," Sal said.
Clarel took a deep breath and then was silent. His thoughts wandered while a hint of flush seeped into his cheeks. "You know, Uncle, I've been thinking. . . .The bass kind of reminds me of a lady--the curves, you know? . . .A very grand lady, but a friend. Do you ever think of your piano as a friend, Uncle Sal?"
"Well . . . I never really thought of it that way, Clarel," Sal mused. "The piano is definitely a part of me."
"I'm beginning to think of the bass as part of me too," Clarel admitted. "I'd like to think of the bass as kind of a lady friend."
Sal chuckled. "I guess if that's how you want to think of the bass, I'm sure it won't mind."
Clarel was again quiet for a bit. A daydream image came to him of a young girl enjoying herself in a swing. "I'm going to name her Daisy," he finally said.
"Daisy?" Sal queried.
"Yes, I don't know why, but it seems to suit her."
"Okay, whatever works for you--a lady double bass named Daisy!"
A Grand Finale
Clarel Crewse became a fine bass player under his uncle Sal's continued tutelage over the years and even became a member of a symphony orchestra. It was at a summer concert that Clarel's father Marshall was first able to hear his son play. The concert's theme was "Best Romantic Symphonies," and pieces from Schubert, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Bartholdy, and Brahms lifted the spirits of everyone in the audience.
Yes, it had been a spectacular evening, marking Marshall Crewse's retirement and, coincidentally, the wedding anniversary of the man with his first and only wife, Clarel's mother Bernice. The day was Saturday, September 2, 1961.
Daisy, the double bass, was reborn. "It's so wonderful to be alive!"
© 2020 Marie Flint
Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on June 10, 2020:
Thank you, Patricia. Yes, this was just a fun piece wherein I allowed my imagination to flow.
I have, in fact, read THE GIVING TREE. I remember feeling sad about the ending the first time I read it. I think had I been that little boy, I just would never have grown up and played with my tree companion forever.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 09, 2020:
What a lovely tale...a twist on connections you have made so real. I must confess....it may sound silly but I often say that I must have been a tree in another lifetime because I love them so!! And if you have not read THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein you may wish to. Angels headed your way this morning.ps
MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 12, 2020:
Its a nice story that is interesting.
Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 12, 2020:
Thank you, Denise. This one was just plain fun.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on May 11, 2020:
What a beautiful story. I was enthralled with a story woven into a series called The Zion Chronicles about a Jewish lady who played a viola named Victor. I could almost hear the viola play during the story it was so real. It's the same with this one. I could almost hear the Bass speak.
Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 05, 2020:
Thank you, Carrie, Bronwen, and ShoZib. I always appreciate having my stories and articles read. Comments always encourage me to take another look at a piece. Usually I catch a little comma or something. Much appreciated.
ShoZibSays on May 04, 2020:
Beautiful story with a beautiful bonding!
Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on May 04, 2020:
What a delightful story, I loved it. My elder son is a cellist and composer. While the flute was my instrument, I love the rich, deep tones of the cello and double bass.
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on May 04, 2020:
Thank you for sharing :) Very beautiful. Have a wonderful and safe week :)
Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 04, 2020:
Thank you, Liz and Dora, for reading and commenting. I do get a little carried away at times with my imagination, but it's so fun!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 03, 2020:
Really beautiful story. You pulled me in with that "Another World" and climaxed the two worlds in joyful celebration. Wonderful ending. Thanks for a good read.
Liz Westwood from UK on May 03, 2020:
What a lovely story. Your imagination is amazing. To have the idea is one thing, but to carry it through in a story like this is a real gift. It's lovely to see how Clarel and his uncle bond over music.
Marie Flint (author) from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 03, 2020:
Here's my take on the family string bass, folks. I'm hoping to read some more stories.