For our new clan member: Dara Fearghus
My final wires were slotted into their grooves. Cool fingers glued and pressed my last pad into its home. I felt vibrations of human speech through my core. ‘Time to engrave.’ I felt a tickling, painful rush as a machine’s needle engraved me.
A lower voice barked, ‘Adam! You done there?’
‘Just engraving, Sir, then I’m finished,’ said the chap holding me.
‘Good. Told you you could do one all on your own.’
Adam dusted the engraving. ‘Pearl,’ he said. He tipped me in the light. I could feel his gaze. He dusted then tipped me again. His cool hands adjusted my head-joint and slotted my foot-joint into my body. ‘Let’s see what you’re made of then, Pearl my girl.’
Then, I can hardly explain to you what I felt as a soft, warm breath rushed through my core. It was like I came into being and understood my purpose upon this earth. ‘I am a FLUTE,’ I said to myself, as I heard the sound I made. I felt it and heard it at the same time. From what I know about humans, if you put your fingers in your ears and hum, your humming sounds much louder than normal, like a foghorn. That was what it was like for me suddenly to hear my own voice. I was voice. It was a shock and a revelation.
It was so much of a thrill to be making this enormous sound that I was overwhelmed. I certainly at this point never understood that the sound was called music or anything to do with that. I did start to grasp however that I was allowing this person, the owner of the delicate fingers, to pour out feelings that could maybe come out no other way. Adam put me down and looked at me for a moment, thinking. He put me back into the clamps. I braced myself as the needle buzzed again. ‘You will be Pearl-y,’ he breathed. ‘Pearly, my own special creation.’ Just as he was finishing the ‘y’, with his own hand directing the engraving machine, his phone started to buzz. He jumped. His hand slipped so my body popped out of the clamp and I felt a painful gash over my surface.
Adam found his phone. ‘What?’ he gasped. ‘Already? At the hospital? Oh my God, hold on, I’ll be straight there.’
‘My baby…the baby’s coming,’ he yelled, ‘I’ve got to go!’ Another man took me out of the clamps, tutting over my scratch, cleaned me, put me in a soft velvet case and closed the lid. I slept and relived the rich vibrations. What could they mean? They felt so right, but were so complex I could only grasp shadows of their meaning.
I slept in my case all night. The next day, I was picked up, by someone else’s hot, pudgy fingers. They slotted my joints together and put me in the window on a stand. I was standing upright. I could feel the sun on me. I enjoyed the warmth and light, and knew I was glinting and sending sparks out into the world. It felt good. I must have looked good, too, as people kept coming in that day, asking to try me out. I did my best but a little boy let me slip and cracked my head-joint against the counter. Later, a little girl spluttered and spat into me. One child covered me with sticky finger-prints. By the end of that day, I felt battered and shaken. Would every day be this bad?
I registered the voice through the glass of the window. A young girl’s voice. ‘Ya-ma-ha,’ she read out. ‘Boo-sey and Hawk-es….Pearl….Trev-or James…Jupiter….’ As she moved along the row of flutes, I felt her shadow block the sun. She then moved slightly to the right so the light caught my keys again. I concentrated hard, held onto those rays and shivered very slightly so my lights would flash. It worked. ‘Pearl…y,’ she read. ‘Pearly?’ There was a pause. I could detect her intent gaze upon me, even through the glass. It’s like I could read her energy. I could feel her colours, pale greens and pinks, radiating out towards me. ‘Mum? That flute, that’s the one: Pearly.’
‘Oh, don’t be silly, Lucy,’ came a deeper voice, ‘You’re going to play violin, not flute.’ Lucy was dragged away.