At first, she is scarred. She wears several necklaces, even a candy one which strangles her fragile skin. She wears sunglasses, big ones, like pretty much everyone here.
Her family is here. It’s a mingle of French and English and smiles and tears and secret wounds and mending hands. Her hands are scarred too. She burnt herself and her nails are fragile.
Her parents brought her guitar back. She hasn’t sung in two years. It’s hard for her to start. I am guessing the darkness she fought with, against, within herself. The little charms dangle on her slim body. She wears a pyjama with little unicorns on it.
Her hands are seizing the guitar. The fingers are so soft, like the inside of a baked, warm, loaf of bread. Her family is here. Story is here. I am here.
And then, her head goes to the sky and something gets out of her. It’s a voice, so raw, so deep, so full of nightmares and illusions and suffering and shivering. It’s a voice that goes beyond the darkest hours of the night. She closes her eyes, because if she kept them open, she would burn the ground. She bursts into notes of music, and I start tearing up.
I don’t look at her face: we are diving into her soul. When she sings, she sings her fight, she sings the Bigbang and the stars that are dying but still shine for us. She’s not singing: she’s transcending something from the Gods of Olympia. Even Thor cannot lift his hammer: he has to listen.
We do not listen: we are flying, close to the ground, the feathers of our wings touching the grass and the fire of hell. We are flying so close to the clouds we feel the drops of rain on us. But we cannot be penetrated by the mist of the sky, because she sings.
Fifteen years ago, my eldest sister tried to kill herself. She swallowed pills after pills and remained in my mother’s bed for two days, between life and death. I didn’t get it, at first. I just didn’t. I thought she had the flu.
She sings, and her voice is scorching my soul as well as putting balm on it. Her voice looks right through me, and there is light as well as coals. Her breath reddens them. She sings and I cry. My tears are so precious right at that very moment. I am here. I am really here. Even the wind stops fucking up the branches. Or there is a storm, and she commands it. Her voice, her voice is coarse and of course she has this voice. Her heads gracefully dances as her whole body sings.
Fifteen years ago, my sister told me to call the doctors, then the firemen, then an ambulance, then Le Samu Social. At each call, she told me to leave the room. And I did. I had just gone back from a private maths class. My died hair were wet as I started cooked green beans. I take the phone back and forth, back and forth
Back and forth her body goes, as her sweet, sweet fingers bleed on the cords of her guitar. Is that even a guitar? Does she even play? Or is it all together, bending, expanding, dancing as she’s singing? I don’t know. I am here, I am really here! I feel my face reddening as my tears, like the flow of the sea, fill my face. It feels so beautiful. There is, in the sadness of her voice, her voice like an alto or all the chords of a piano, or better yet, the orgue at a church I have never been to, but would recognize in an eye-beat, there is light. There is, little by little, the victory of hope over the night. There is her past, her scars, her loneliness, and she has the courage to take it all in, and to beat the fuck out of it as she beats the cords of her guitar.
Fifteen years ago, I had to go out into the cold to wait for an ambulance. I didn’t know whom to call. They got up with me. Or was it before? Or was it after? After my eldest sister couldn’t hold her head straight any longer, and my hands held her neck and her head as she was bent in a weird angle. Her eyes, her eyes
And all I can see now are your eyes, Gaby. You are a fucking star and your blue eyes have a fierceness which take us all in. I have never seen it before. It is like the green ray, do you know, Gaby? Right before the sun is swallowed by the sea, its last shine goes through the water and a green, a green no one can paint, a green no one can describe, goes right into your eyes. All I can remember
Are the cockroaches in my eldest sister’s eyes, they are swarming and their carapaces are shining with fright and sweat and the light. But there is no light as she’s crying and begging for my forgiveness. It is the night, where is the light coming from? Why didn’t you tell me anything? Why? And the bats are coming in too
But you chase them away with a simple beat, and you sing, and you sing, Gaby. And I am crying, because you make me think of Ariane, of my Ariane, who was so talented in music. Who could play the piano and the Earth would stop spinning. Who could sing and the angels would get high. Who taught herself to play the guitar, and the hobo, and who could have been a fucking star. Sing, Gaby, sing. Please never stop. Please go on, because
Fifteen years ago, my heart was broken as I took my Ariane, my Ariane to the hospital, the sirens wailing, her voice shaking, my hands, my hands holding her head. Keep singing, please keep singing.
Sing for all of us. Sing for the ones who are mute and bling and sing to mock the wings of the bats and the wings of the cockroaches. Sing to mend our hearts.
Fifteen years ago, my sister survived, but I took in the awfulness and the pitch black darkness.
And as you sang, you set me free.
Thank you, Gaby.