Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2014 - Page 43

Adam McAlpine Clark | 43

Occasionally, we would find the traces of someone else's presence in our closed haven: vague, circling trails in the grass from where small feet had pressed the blades flat against each other. At other times, we could hear quiet movements back in the shadows of the pine trees. The presence drove us, one evening, to curl up in the center of that clearing, and wait for morning, listening to a quiet pacing around our perimeter. Mason seemed to read danger in that sound of footsteps moving through the brush.

Waking up, cold and wet with dew and the forest finally still and quiet, we stumbled through the shadowed morning dampness of the woods. A week later and we were both sent off to daily music lessons, separated for four hours of every day

for every day, four hours. For every day, four hours of lessons separated.

For weeks, four hours of blowing hard on those green cheeks. Afterwards, a quiet standstill in our terms of gaze. Wanting to know what his fingers had pressed upon, pressed into ivory and ebony keys. A means I felt I knew, sore cheeks but something just starting anyway. Blowing into that horn, trying to visualize, maybe just see those keys smashing in my own warped reflection on the brassy curve of the sax's lip. So there are those keys showing in the sax and I don't know what I'm doing but I'm hitting some notes.

And it seemed, after some time, that we weren't losing anything for it. After some time, we played together in front

The eye had gotten it started in a way, people shying away from eye contact, but really it was the music that set the first distinctions into motion. It wasn't really anything, those people. I was just the stranger twin to them. But when we started doing things with those instruments, there was Clay and there was Mason and whatever the two of us may have been there was just something we couldn't say. By the time we were thinking about going off to college, I was composing and Mason was improvising. He was more than that, though. There was something in his playing, some action you couldn't quite put out there.