The Song of the Nightingale

The Song of the Nightingale

A Story by yusavage
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our actions speak louder than our intentions

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The Song of the Nightingale

“Mom, I’m heading out!,” Audrey rushed out the door without waiting for her mom to respond. The cool morning air rushed past her, its invisible hands gently caressing her face. She inhaled deeply as the delicious aroma from a nearby bakery filled the air. Audrey pressed the device that was strapped around her wrist, its beeping sound recording her every step. Twenty continuous beeps, she would be at the bus stop now. Another beeping sound warned her of a person’s presence nearby. Grinning, she turned to the left and smiled, “Good morning, Shay.”

.........................................................

Shay had hurried out of her house this morning, determined to arrive on time for her classes for once. Her mother had already received multiple complaints about her daughter’s lateness, Shay shivered as she recalled her mom’s blazing blue eyes, glaring at her intensely as she lectured her about the importance of her grades. It wasn’t her fault that the bus was always late, now if they had invented buses that could fly... Shay’s train of thoughts were interrupted when she saw the girl standing in front of her bus stop. It was Audrey, the girl that had moved here near the beginning of the school year. Her parents had immediately befriended Shay’s parents and the adults would often hang out together. Shay’s parents had always instructed her to be amiable to Audrey: “Listen carefully, Shay. That girl’s been through a lot. I don’t want to hear about you being unkind or rude to her in any ways. ” Shay froze as the girl turned to her direction, “Morning, Shay.” It was eerie the way she could pinpoint her exact location. But that was what the Keller Watches did, named after the first deaf-blind person known to human history, these watches were what guided a blind/deaf person and acted as their missing senses. Her parent’s words impressed in her mind, Shay smiled back, ”Hi.”

The bus came shortly after, the morning air tainted by the gasoline smell. Audrey wrinkled her nose and she boarded the bus, Shay following her lead. The bus ride was long, so the two girls conversed about their weekend. The two girls have known each other for a while now, ever since school started a few weeks ago. Most of the time, Shay listened quietly as her friend spoke, not wanting to appear rude or whatever her mom’s definition of “unkind” was. Audrey’s hands waved in the air excitedly as she discussed how fascinating it was that bees don’t have ears. Shay yawned as she leaned back in her seat. She couldn’t help it, all Audrey talked about was bees. Apparently, her family owned a bee farm near her house, and during the weekends, all Audrey would do was visit the bee farm.

Shay let out a sigh of relief as the bus arrived at her school. She didn’t have to listen to Audrey listing facts about bees until after school. Not that she disliked Audrey or anything, but she felt that she really didn’t share any common interests with her. Shay was more interested in a conversation about art and colors. It was fascinating how some colors are so different from each other; but, when they blend together they create a stupendous, new color. How was she expected to talk about colors to someone who was blind?

She knew that it was too late for art class, the class had passed while she was on the bus. A few students lingered in the hallways, reluctant to go to their next period class. According to her schedule, she was supposed to be heading to her math class. Still, she was determined to see her latest creation once more. Yesterday, her class was instructed to paint nightingales. Her teacher, Mr. Pavetti, told them that the birds symbolized melancholy and joy, love and loss, life and death. “Let’s hope that there’s no death while we’re working,” he joked.

Shay slipped into the empty, dark classroom and was immediately surrounded by silence. Closing the door gently behind her, Shay walked towards the panels that hung on the wall, most of them were only half completed, including hers. Immediately, she found her nightingale among the others, its body a distinguishable black and yellow from yesterday’s work. Mr. Pavetti was surprised by the colors she’d chosen for the bird. “You know that nightingales are brown right?”, he pulled up a picture on the smartboard. Shay shrugged, the colors seemed just fine to her. Besides, didn’t nightingales symbolized joy and love? Black and yellow matched that description perfectly. A clatter behind her brought her back to reality. Shay turned quickly, preparing to bolt if she was caught. It was too late anyways; Mr. Pavetti stood in the doorway clutching a lunch tray tightly. Half of his lunch had fallen to the ground, his expression going from shock to anger. “Good gracious, Shay- what are you doing in here?!,” he shook his head, “You should know that you’re not allowed in here alone when there’s no adult supervising you. My students took their sweet time on their artwork, I can’t have some careless student dawdling alone in here!”

Half an hour later, Shay was calling home. Mr. Pavetti stood next to her, his arms crossed. Groaning inwardly, she waited patiently for her parent to pick up. She didn’t have to wait long, her mom was a professional housewife, “Hello?”

“Hey mom.. this is Shay.” Mr. Pavetti tapped his foot impatiently.

“Oh honey, is this the school number?” Mr. Pavett’s brown T-shirt reminded her of the school’s toilet paper.

“Yea..I’m staying for one hour after school..um..something happened-” Mr. Pavetti raised one eyebrow, clearly not satisfied by her explanation.

Shay sighed, “Mom, I have to stay for detention.” To her surprise, her mom didn’t sound mad at all,”It’s alright, honey. Just..get home safe. Oh, by the way, can you buy a carton of eggs on the way home? We ran out.”

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Fortunately, the dean was nice enough to let her out early. Shay walked to the nearest grocery store and bought the carton of eggs her mom wanted. Because she stayed after school, Shay missed her bus ride and had to walk home. Audrey had offered to wait for her but Shay refused politely. She didn’t really mind the long walk, it was a very clement afternoon. However, she froze when she saw an unfamiliar car parked in front of her house. An unsettling feeling crawled inside her stomach, threatening to spill out. Instinctively, she walked briskly to the side of the house and hid there, just as someone walked out.

“Alright Jesse, I’ll see you next time.” Some guy was talking to her mother. Daring a peek, Shay saw her mother pecking a stranger on the lips. Their faces were inches apart as they murmured to each other, his restless hands around her waist. His side features were recognizable, however, and Shay identified him immediately. He was Audrey’s dad. Shay turned away, nauseated by what she had just witnessed. She almost dropped the carton of eggs but caught herself. As soon as she heard the car driving away, her mother returned inside, humming to herself. The side of her house was deserted, she had hid near a couple of overgrown bushes. A bee buzzed near her curiously a few times, then flew off. It was difficult to process what she’d just saw. She’d always thought her parents had a happy marriage. Sure, they’ll argue with each other sometimes; but, wasn’t that what parents usually do? Shouldn’t her mom be satisfied with having her and her dad?!

....................................................

Shay clenched her fist when she saw Audrey walking towards her. “You wanted to meet?,” Audrey seemed pleased as she sat next to Shay on the swings.

“Yea, um..,”Shay didn’t know where to start. A bee zoomed through the clear, blue sky, oblivious of its freedom. Both of the girls sat in silence: Shay looking at the bee, and Audrey waiting for Shay to speak.

Shay cleared her throat, “I just..” How could she possibly explain the situation to her? She’s nothing but a blind, naive girl who thinks the world is pure and simple. She’s just like the bees she’s always talking about, they’re both flying high up in the sky, free from anxiety and responsibility. And then there’s Shay.

“Never mind, Audrey. I just.... thanks for coming though.” Audrey turned towards her, obviously confused. Of course she won’t understand, she probably doesn’t even know about the affair. How could she ever know? She can’t see. Why is this world so bloody unfair?

“Shay, are you alright? You told me you wanted to tell me something important.” Audrey giggled nervously, “You must be confused-”

“I don’t know. Why is everything so confusing? Why does nothing seem like the way they are?”Shay got up angrily, dusting the dirt from her pants. “Look, you’re lucky you don’t have to see anything. Aren’t you so innocent and carefree in your little bubble? Just because you’re blind you think everyone’s gotta listen to you and your stupid bee stories?!”

It seemed as if time has froze. Audrey sat there, her milky eyes staring at the floor. After what seemed like a decade, Audrey got up. “Sorry,” she whispered. Then, she was gone. The sun disappeared with her and was replaced by a sudden rainstorm. Shay stood there as the rain continued, a tear dripped down the side of her face without her knowing it. A mixture of anger and confusion boiled inside her. Was it right for her to be mad at Audrey, just because her dad was having an affair with Shay’s mom? A yellow glint on the ground caught her attention. Looking closer, Shay realized it was a dead bee.

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Standing outside of her house, Shay debated whether or not to go in. If she does, she would have to face her mom. She would have to face the responsibility of telling her dad. She would have to face a broken family. She would have to face reality. If she doesn’t tell, who’s to say her family won’t be broken anyways? But if she doesn’t tell, if she keeps this secret inside- she would have to let the guilt eat her away. She would have to face everyday knowing that her family was broken; and as time passed, she would eventually be worn down until she’s nothing but an empty husk. One thing at a time, Shay reminded herself.

Pushing open the front door, Shay was greeted by the smell of lasagna. Her mom was cooking dinner like usual. “Honey, you stayed out in the rain?,”her mom peeked from the kitchen worriedly. “Is everything okay?,” her dad was sitting at the dinner table, a newspaper in his hands.

Everything was so normal that it seemed just like any other day. But it wasn’t- nothing was normal anymore. This would be the time Shay will point at her mom, confessing what she saw earlier. Her mom might deny or owe up to everything, her dad would stand up and put his newspaper away. He will tell Shay to go to her room, and that he needs to talk to her mom. Then, there will be fights. There will be a broken, torn family- and it will all be Shay’s fault. But at least she wouldn’t have to face the guilt of keeping these dirty sins to herself, and from lying to her dad. Or, she could choose to be a coward and pretended that nothing was wrong, that she never saw her mom kissing another man. And maybe as time goes on, she’ll slowly forget all about it. It would all be an unpleasant nightmare, and her imagination had went wild like it always did. Maybe her parents could still be happy together; and this time they will love each other truly. Everything would all go back to the way it used to be.

.Shay took a deep breath and faced her parents. She never really noticed how gray his hair had become. Or how tired her mom looked. Putting on a reassuring smile, she chose the second option, “I’m fine.”

...............................................................

Shay smiled as she looked at her finished work. The black and yellow nightingale stared back at her. She was alone in the classroom, but this time, she had gotten Mr. Pavetti’s permission to work alone. Mr. Pavetti had finally agreed, but not before giving her a stern warning,“Now remember, don’t you dare fool around and knock over someone else’ work.”

“To be honest, that reminds me of a bee,” Mr. Pavetti remarked as he entered the classroom. Shay’s smile faded as the word bee invoked the memory of her fight with Audrey. She had forgotten all about her until now. “Mr. Pavetti, I need to go somewhere right now. I’ll be right back,” saying this, Shay rushed out of the room without waiting for a response. She knew where Audrey had biology this period, it was the only class Audrey had mentioned to her. That was because her biology class was right across a beehive outside of school. Occasionally, a bee would wander into the classroom and there would be chaos. Shay recalled Audrey’s anger that day, “These kids started screaming about a bee the room and how they were planning to kill it. Can’t they understand that the bee got lost and that they should set the bee free quickly?,”Audrey shook her head, “And I can’t do anything about it because I couldn’t see where the bee was.” She added sorrowfully, “I heard they killed it at the end.” At that time, Shay shook her head at this; not because she agreed with Audrey but that she couldn’t believe someone would get this worked up over a bee.

She peeked in the window of the classroom, and was disappointed when there was no sight of Audrey. There was only one place she would be if she wasn’t in class.

It took at least twenty minutes to reach the bee farm. Shay had never ditched school before, mainly because she was afraid of what her parents would say. However, after everything she went through, she could care less now. The bee farm wasn’t really a farm; it was just a just an empty storage room with a few domed baskets filled with bees. The inside of the farm was soothingly quiet, accompanied with only the buzzing sound of the bees. Audrey stood a few feet away from the baskets, her milky, gray eyes looking forward. It was impossible to tell that she was blind if you’ve never seen her eyes; she looked as if she was inspecting the bees. The Keller watch beeped as it located Shay’s position. Audrey sighed and turned towards her, “You don’t have to be quiet, they’re deaf.”

Audrey must’ve seen the confused look on Shay’s face because she explained quickly, “Bees don’t have ears, but they use their antenna and feet to feel vibrations.” Shay was pretty sure she heard Audrey going over this on one of their bus rides together, but she never really paid attention. “I actually came over to explain-,” her words were cut short by Audrey. “No, you don’t need to explain anything. It wasn’t your fault...I’ve been thinking things over and I realized that you were right. I was too selfish on my part, I never realized how maybe you wouldn’t be interested in the same things that I am.” Audrey took a deep breath and continued, “I’ve never had real friends. Most people assume that since I’m blind, I’m just different from all of them. And then you came.”

She shrugged apologetically towards Shay’s direction, “I was just really happy to finally have a friend. All these years I was isolated from everyone else. I was really glad when my parents decided to move here, I wanted a new start.” Shay was silent, she never really thought about these things from Audrey’s viewpoint. What if she had been born blind too? Would it be a blessing to never see the things that she saw? Or would it be a curse?

The two girls stood in silence . Then, Audrey took off her watch, “They don’t have ears but I like to hear their buzzing sound as they work.”

She chuckled, “Sometimes, I wish I could actually see. ” Audrey strapped on her watch, “It’s a warm day outside, you want to go for a boat ride?” Taken aback by the sudden question, Shay nodded. “I can swim too.”

Audrey laughed, “I can’t. But my mom left her boat outside when she left for work. We can just take one quick ride, and forget all about our fight.”

Shay smiled, she was glad that Audrey had forgiven her. “Sure, let’s go.”

............................................................

The weather outside was a perfect weather for riding a boat. The two girls hopped onto the boat, and took turns with the oars. Surprisingly, the lake didn’t look very deep. Audrey laughed when Shay said her thought out loud. “It’s deep enough to drown me,” Audrey joked.

Suddenly, they both heard a sublime melody coming from the trees. “That’s a nightingale!,” Shay exclaimed, Mr. Pavetti’s lessons had finally paid off. “They symbolize melancholy and joy, loss and love, life and death. ” “Don’t they usually come out at night?,” Audrey asked. Shay smiled, “It is commonly heard at night, but they do come out during the day.” The two girls were both entranced under the song. Music, Shay realized, was something you don’t have to see to understand.

The boat ride ended abruptly when Shay needed to use the bathroom. “Sorry,” she apologized. She really didn’t want to end the pleasant boat ride but she needed to relieve herself badly. Audrey giggled, “It’s alright. We could continue this boat ride after you’re done.”

They docked the boat and Shay. She turned around and realized that Audrey didn’t get off yet. “I’ll just wait here until you get back. There’s a public restroom right up there.”

...........................................................

When she heard the footsteps of her friend fading away, Audrey began to back the boat into the lake. She knew where the lake was the deepest, where the waves were the calmest. There was no turning back now.

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The sun was shining brightly on the day of the funeral. It was the same weather as the day Shay had came back from the restroom and found her friend and the boat missing. The search team later on found the upturned boat in the middle of the lake but Audrey’s body was never found. Nonetheless, the case was still marked as suicidal.

Perhaps she knew about the affair all along; maybe she was mad at Shay like Shay had been mad at Audrey. Maybe she was mad at herself, blaming her flaws for the reason why her dad chose to have an affair. Maybe she thought she wasn’t good enough. Maybe she blamed her loss of eyesight. But whatever thoughts were passing through Audrey’s head that day, were gone along with her.

Apparently, the death of his daughter was more than enough to make Audrey’s dad confess to the affair. Shay’s parents and Audrey’s went into havoc as the sins were admitted. It was all too much for Shay, she slipped out of the house and headed towards the lake. The good weather stayed all week, it just wasn’t fair. The sky should

be crying, it should be gloomy and dark. The lake was calm like the first time Shay seen it. Standing at the edge of it, Shay wondered what Audrey was feeling when she took her last breath. Could she possibly do the same? Give up her entire life just to escape the nightmare she’s facing everyday? She should’ve confronted her parents. Maybe that would’ve been enough to stop the affair. And then Audrey wouldn’t have to end her own life. The guilt and remorse eats away at her everyday. Maybe that was why Audrey chose death over life, it was easier facing nothing than everything.

It would be very easy, all Shay needs to do is take a few more steps, and sink to the bottom of the lake. One foot in front of the other, Shay slowly made her way towards the edge. So close..a few inches left...

All of a sudden, a familiar, melodic pitch rang from the trees- a song full with ecstacy and longing. Following, a huge swarm of black flying bugs appeared, and surrounded Shay. It took her a moment to realize that it wasn’t black bugs, it was bees. The bees didn’t sting her, they only surrounded her. As impossible as it might seem, Shay was slowly forced back, away from the edge of the lake. The familiar humming noise from the bees brought tears to Shay’s eyes. “Audrey?,” her words were soon drowned out by the bees. When Shay was a good distance away from the lake, the bees stopped and flew into the air, back into a black clump. As quickly as it had come, it flew across the lake and disappeared. Without realizing it, the song of the nightingale had also stopped.



© 2016 yusavage



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Added on November 7, 2016
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Author

yusavage
yusavage

new york, NY



About
i'm still practicing with writing so basically im a real newb at this :3 more..

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