Create a character around this sentence: Nobody has ever loved me as much as I have loved him. Do not use this sentence in the fraction of fiction that you write. The sentence comes from Guy Davenport's aunt, Mary Elizabeth Davenport Morrow, via his essay "On Reading" in the The Hunter Graccus. Resist the temptation this exercise offers for a completely self-indulgent character. Resist applying your own tale of woe to the formula here. Extend yourself, inhabit other people—friends, enemies, people who puzzle you.
(from prompt #27 in The 3 AM Epiphany)
Read my response:
"Bass guitar" by Jsome1
Bassists are the wide receivers, lead guitar is the quarterback. Why play bass? For love of the music, for love of the band, for love of the guitar. Love of the guitarist. He became successful, buoyed by the girl, by affection. And here I am, with my hands dangling, with my fingers curled, with no one to hear what I don’t have to play.
What I remember most is after. Long before now, before myself as I am now. I remember after us, before me. Let me clarify: I try to forget all the rest.
After the band, I felt free. That’s the time between being trapped, when nothings bound. Between imprisonment by commitment and by brick and mortar restriction. That free space, if I recall, lasted long enough for me to see him off, to go see about a girl. Was I angry? I ask myself. Yes. Didn’t he love the band and didn’t he know how much it meant to me? No. I don’t know how to fill in the blanks. That’s what I remember. I saw him off, wished him the best, said, don’t worry about me.
Here. The moment is the length of a hand before it snaps into a fist. When we were full, tiny pots and pans laying out in the world, collecting everything that leaked from above. Or felt like we did. When life was hard enough to sing about it, easy enough to turn into a song.
He wrote the most, I filled in the blanks where I could. What brought us together was inconsequential, circumstances like any other band. Two play an instrument, eventually it gets to testing who plays best. He did, of course. Which is why where he is is far from me. I played bass, I tried to deserve good graces, but. The struggle in playing is the audience. I always played for him, and he played for himself. I don't know how much he heard. Enough to get away, ha. Just kidding, right, it’s never so bad. I wish him the best. We played well, we both had the same audience to please. Now I try not to remember too much, did I say so? Jail cells, when they are figurative, they're good imagery. There isn’t any real imagery in real jail. I mean literally.
My music after was an ode to him, to us. I played for different bands. I played for different audiences, never for myself. I tried to focus on the music, on what its all about. That’s what I try to remember, that’s what I don’t want to forget.
Eventually, with a hole in your soul, you know the story. Drugs, right, and fights. It's never so bad as you make it sound, it never sounds right when you try to tell a story that only you know. It’s nice to hear him sometimes, on the radio. It is. It’s nicer than anything else, better than sex. Well, maybe I just don’t remember sex, ha. But here I am, there we were. It was a pause between chords, my freedom, and it’s the only thing I want to remember.