Whistling Your Tune
You whip your head around. The man continues to walk away from you without turning.
He is whistling a tune.
That tune. That melody.
It is your melody.
That tune that has been playing in the back of your head for years, like an animal that crawled back there and slips around the hand that tries to pull it out.
Where did he hear it?
You start to push your way through the crowded sidewalk. The man continues to walk away from you. Arms spread like a child pretending to be a plane. He glides through the groups of people. They split around him like water around a rock.
“Wait,” you yell. “Wait, please.” That tune. Crossing highs and twining lows. Not something you thought anyone could whistle, not alone.
The crowds get thicker. You start to shoulder your way through the masses, looking up occasionally to ensure he hasn’t flown out of sight. He drifts farther and farther away from you, however. Faster, you’ll lose him, and that whistling that you can hear over the crowd.
It begins to rain. The man takes one of the complementary city provided umbrellas that float about people’s heads. Something is off about it though. Normally the semi-conscious umbrellas are black; he has found a red one.
No time to grab one, you can do with being a bit wet.
His whistling continues. It filters over the sounds of traffic now as you enter downtown. How is he still ahead of you as you jog through the ever growing crowds? As your frustration grows, the whistling gets louder.
The man turns into an alleyway.
You knocked a man over in your haste to make it to the alleyway. Could’ve at least helped him up or…the melody pounds in your head, thumping behind your eyes and making your ears throb. You feel a lifting sensation, a bit hard to explain. Something is happening. The musical tune of your mind matches perfectly with the whistling. You feel your brain pulse with every note.
Your breathing comes in tattered gulps now. The melody squeezes you. It becomes even more difficult to breath than an average Friday. Now difficult to think, the animal in the back of your head is drawn forward at the sound of the melody. It pushes past your consciousness, disrupting your train of thought.
“Wait,” You wheeze.
The man stands at the end of the alleyway, facing a blank brick wall. He has on, bright blue scrubs with cartoon ducks on them. A stethoscope hangs around his neck. Arms now holding a tablet that he reads as he whistles.
“Not good. No signs,” he mutters. The tune does not stop.
You shuffle down the alleyway. A knot in your chest grows into a small cherry tree. Your breathing labored. Your vision starting to constrict.
“Where,” you are whispering now, “Where did you hear that melody?”
The man looks up and speaks to the wall. “Not long now.” He takes in a deep breath and lets it past. “Bring me his contacts. They need to know.”
You collapse to your hands and knees, crawling down the trash-strewn alleyway.
“Please,” You force out. “Please.”
The man looks over his shoulder. He looks through you, past you, without seeing you.
“It’s a shame.”
Your arms shake and give out. You crumple to the ground. The pavement feels cool on your cheek. Your eyes won’t stay open.
“The melody,” You breath failing you. The words reluctantly finding your mouth. You have to actively think of each one, to pull each one from the depths of your memory. “Please.”
“He won’t last long,” says the man. He turns and walks past you. “Let me know when his family gets here. They need to be here when he passes.”
He begins whistling again.