An Absurd Fable In Which Bowed String Instruments Prove People Wrong
I suspected something was amiss when I smelled onion-induced bad breath on Elijah’s left cheek. I decided to ignore the weird event; I doubted my boyfriend cheated on me with a woman who licked his face after chewing on an onion bagel. Agreed, stranger things have come true in our neck of the woods but I trust Elijah. And I’m too pretty to cheat on. Besides, we were stepping in the shower so the smell didn’t bother me for long.
We cuddled in bed that night and fell sound asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to a disturbing sensation which only confirmed that something very wrong was going on. Once my mind snapped out of slumber, I shivered under the soft and humid pressure on my big toe. I shook my foot and grunted in disgust, waking up Elijah in the process. The thing wouldn’t let go of my toe. Elijah turned on the light to reveal the intruder.
At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at. Stunned, I followed the curves of baby cheeks and woody bouts.
“What the…” I exclaimed trying to force the toothless gums to stop sucking on my big toe.
“Crap. It must have confused our feet.” Elijah jumped out of the bed and grabbed the baby-headed violin. He pulled the thing away from my feet which drove the freakish object to start crying. “I’m sorry. I thought I played enough with it today.”
“What?” I glanced at the clock and sighed. If I didn’t go back to sleep soon, my weird curse would kick in. All the electronic stuff around me would fall asleep until I took a nap. Damn it. “Explain.” I ordered with annoyance.
The violin baby still bellowed. Elijah covered its mouth so I could hear him.
“I didn’t want to learn the violin like the rest of my family so mom had this plague made by your grams.” I knew Granny Kianga had something to do with that disturbing thing. “If I don’t play it enough each day, it bothers me at night.”
“Well just play it then. I need to sleep or the alarm clock won’t work in the morning.”
The violin managed to wiggle out of Elijah’s grasp enough to bite his hand. The absence of teeth dimmed the effect but Elijah winced under the pinch nonetheless.
“You have no idea how much of a pain it is.” My boyfriend complained. “I swear it’s the unholy child of a Stradivarius and Chucky.”
“I don’t care. You can’t fight Granny Kianga. Play it so I can sleep or I’m going back home.”
Elijah walked out of the bedroom. I tucked myself back in and tried to find sleep. From the living room, the screeching of the violin ceases only to give way to the falsest note I had ever heard. It sounded so horrible I thought my ears were going to fall off. Elijah cursed then produced another equally horrifying sound.
I pushed the covers back angrily as the third note tore the silence. I changed to yesterday’s clothes and packed my things. As I crossed the living room, I saw Elijah, attempting to play the violin. Each time he produced a false note, the violin’s baby head stuck its tongue out and blew splutters all over my boyfriend’s cheek. That explained a lot.
I waved him good bye and headed home. For the next couple of weeks, we tried just about every thing to spend sometime together but between work, the forced hour of violin playing and the uncanny ability of the violin to come bother us anywhere we slept if the mandatory practice wasn’t completed, we fell apart. Pissed off by the situation, I stormed in Granny Kianga’s house.
“Fix it!” I ordered. She looked at me with the fakest “I don’t know what you’re talking about” eyes I had ever seen. “Face the fact you made a mistake and fix it!”
“I don’t make mistakes.”
“You matched Elijah and I. Then you cursed me so I would be forced to sleep and gave Elijah a violin that wakes us up at night.” I harangued. “Somewhere in the middle of these curses, you contradicted your own actions. Admit it and fix it or I swear by the loas I will learn voodoo just to get back at you!”
“Oh! That’s why we aren’t together.” Granny murmured to herself. It made no sense to me but then, a lot of what Granny Kianga said fell in that category. “Tell Elijah to bring me the violin.” She resumed her knitting.
“Admit you were wrong!” I hammered.
“I’ll say it to Elijah but not to you.” Granny Kianga dismissed me with a movement of her hand. I could stick to it and try to convince her but it might make matters worst. I chose to walk away.
At least, I managed to get my boyfriend back in my bed.
The moral of my story is, as you all know, twofold. First, negative reinforcement isn’t a good way to teach something to someone. Not to say that it should never been used, only the intrinsic reward of an action can truly push a person to better themselves. Second, even the more complex schemes cannot force someone into a role they don’t want to occupy. Trying is wrong.