“Isaiah? Isaiah, wake up.” Chelsea shook him gently, but Isaiah didn’t budge. He was still asleep after a long night and he was still dreaming. He saw the familiar backdrop of a music video he did about five years ago. He shook his head at himself, “What was I thinking with that lion mane of hair? If that’s me at 40, I don’t want to be anything like that when 50 comes around.” He then heard a voice calling his name. He turned around and felt his heart leap like it hadn’t in a very long time. He knew that voice and he ran towards it. Then the place went black…
He slowly opened his eyes and heard Chelsea’s voice calling his name. He shook his head, “I’m up.”
“Are you all right? You were moaning in your sleep.” He turned around and looked at Chelsea. He looked down, disapprovingly. He shook his head at himself and whispered, “Her voice wasn’t the one I heard calling to me, but that really isn’t possible, is it? Not anymore.”
“Isaiah, you’re talking to yourself. Are you sure you’re all right?” He nodded, “Yes Chelsea. Would you be so kind as to bring my breakfast up here? There’s something I want to work on and I don’t want to lose the idea.”
“Sure, what will it be?”
“Just scrambled eggs and herbal tea, thanks.” He let a small grin escape, “Why don’t you join me?”
“I already ate, but I’ll keep you company if you like.” He nodded, “I’d appreciate that very much.”
When Chelsea gave the request to the chef, he gave a sigh and continued with his work. It was a well known fact. When Isaiah ordered scrambled eggs, which he claimed were the most boring breakfast item ever invented, something wasn’t right in his mind. Chelsea hadn’t been working for him long enough to know that bit of common knowledge, though. During that time, Isaiah sketched in his notebook and wrote down a few more ideas for songs. That brief revisit to the past made him want to renovate a few techniques that worked for him then.
As Chelsea returned upstairs with the breakfast platter, she saw one of the maids walk into the master bedroom. She let herself in and saw Isaiah direct the maid to the bathroom (to clean up the shards of that champagne glass). His gaze met Chelsea’s and he smiled, “Thanks so much.” He started eating and asked, “So, how’d you sleep?”
“Oh, very well, thank you.” She noticed the maid discretely exit, holding a trash bag meant for the recycle bin. She asked, “What was that about?”
“Oh, just taking care of a few little things, that’s all.”
“Isaiah…” She said in an almost stern tone. That made him look up from his meal. Chelsea never used that tone with him before. “I don’t mean to pry, but you don’t seem like yourself today.”
“What makes you say that?” He placed another bit of egg in his mouth.
“First of all, since when do you order scrambled eggs?”
“I’m in the mood for simplicity, that’s all.” He shrugged it off. Another lie. He asked, “Did I worry you this morning? Is that why you’re looking at me that way?”
“I’m merely your employee, but I do care about you. You’re a wonderful person, so kind, but…”
“But?” He insisted.
“Today, your eyes don’t have the same shine that they usually do. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”
“I appreciate your concern, Chelsea, but I’m fine.” He continued eating, not saying anymore about it. She got up, “I’m just saying. I’m here if you want to talk.” Without another word, she walked out of the room and shut the door behind her. Isaiah just shrugged it off and finished his breakfast. He knew Chelsea meant well, but his personal life was something he wanted to keep personal. She was good at what she did for him and that’s all he wanted of her. He didn’t want her companionship; he didn’t need another friend.
After breakfast, he played on the grand piano until Patty arrived. He played around with the song he wrote the other day as well as a melody that just came from deep inside him. It had a certain spark, an “other worldliness” about it. Somehow, it felt like the perfect title track for the album he had been working on, although not the same as the “acoustic album” he mentioned to Patty. That might be a little side-project he’ll be working on and ask for a few others to collaborate on it. For no reason at all, he felt the music leap off the piano keys. He shut his eyes, feeling it flow through his fingertips. He got around to the chorus, which started with him sliding his fingers over the keys all the way to the left.
The music started flashing pictures in front of his eyes. The “other-worldliness” became literal when he felt himself floating up to where the sun, moon and stars linger. Somehow, more instruments came to mind and he knew he couldn’t quite do this track on his own. He would need the right set of drums, the right vocals to back him up and one of the most amazing guitar solos he’s done in a long time. Instead of taking off to the studio, he trapped himself with the grand piano until he played out the perfect sequence.
He didn’t know what he’d do about the word yet, so when he hit a new sequence, he just sung. Unbeknownst to him, Patty just arrived. The butler took her coat and she heard Isaiah’s playing. She went down the hall past the staircase and saw him completely enthralled in his work. She hadn’t seen him smile like that. He seemed so free and so happy, the complete opposite of how he appeared yesterday. In the years she’d known him, she hadn’t seen him quite like that. After he finished, he opened his notebook and wrote down the key and the basic schematic of the song. His grin slowly grew, “Hi Patty.”
“I had a feeling it was you. Just a slight disturbance in the resonance in this room was all I needed.” He didn’t look up; he just kept making notations.
“That was incredible. Did you just think that up?”
“Yes ma’am. Just started playing piano and I couldn’t stop myself.”
“I’ve never seen you like this before, but I think its because you’re not holding a guitar. I haven’t seen you play piano, at least not like this.”
“I appreciate it.” He closed up his notebook and put it aside. He looked up, “I’m sorry about yesterday. I was up tight about something and…”
“Just forget it. It doesn’t matter anymore.” He thought for a moment, “How about we move somewhere a little more… secluded like my personal studio? I want to show you something I’ve been working on.”
“Yeah sure. I just want to get something out of the car. I’ll meet you down there.” Isaiah tucked his notebook under his arm and went to the kitchen. He asked someone to brew some herbal tea for two. He took the liberty of bringing it down to the studio himself. He set the cups aside, away from the switchboard and instruments. Patty came down the steps with her acoustic guitar in hand.
“Wow, I haven’t seen that baby in a long time. Does she still run as well as she ever did?” Patty grinned at him, “Won’t do you see for yourself?” as she handed it over to him. He returned the smile and gently took it into his arms. He started strumming a familiar tune, something that all of his listeners would know. It was his greatest hit and he started writing it after his father’s murder. Patty was in awe, remembering hearing Isaiah work this out for his first album. He smiled for a moment and handed it back to her. “She still purrs like a kitten, Patty.”
“Well, I haven’t really picked it up and played since we went our separate ways. I went to the fashion industry and you stayed with the music.”
“C’mon, let me see you play. I’ve been far too long.”
“What should I play?”
“The same song I was just playin’.” He looked at her and she looked down, seeming unsure. “C’mon, you know this. I know you do. Music isn’t something that just goes away. It comes from in here,” he patted his chest, “and when something comes from here, you never forget it.” He quickly grabbed his own acoustic guitar. “Just do as I do.” He spent an hour or two helping Patty remember the different notes and chords. Slowly, but surely, she was catching on. They had their tea reheated when they took a break.
Patty took a sip and said, “You’re a great teacher. You know that?”
“Nah, I’m all right.”
“You’re better than all right. You’re self-taught, right?”
“Music isn’t necessarily something that you can teach, not even to yourself. You have to feel the musical energy flow through you. The music is what teaches now to use that energy and transfer it into something beautiful. There isn’t a more beautiful sound than an electric guitar.” Patty just shook her head, “You’re still the musical philosopher you always were.”
He acknowledged that with a nod before finishing his tea. “On that note, there’s something else I want to show you. I know you can play the notes, but you need to feel the music flow through you. Let your emotions flow through it so your heart connects with the notes you play. If you’re going to help me with some of these songs, I’m going to need to ask you to grasp this. Can you do that?”
“Wow, that sounds like a huge order. I do have my job to worry about as well. I might not necessarily have the time.”
“I’ll make it affordable to you.” Deep down, he knew she was just making excuses for herself to disguise her doubts. He reached to pat her shoulder, “I have faith in you. That’s the reason I hired you for my first band. I knew you had the potential for great things. You just need to find it within yourself to go the extra mile.” Patty was speechless; she could only nod and accept Isaiah’s teachings.
She enjoyed working alongside him for the next couple of day. He was always generous and refused to give up on her no matter what happened. As she observed him run everything but his two studio engineers, she knew he was happy to get something done. At the same time, she noticed there was a subtle sadness about him that she couldn’t put her finger on.