Melody’s Melody

Last Friday, Melody called me in a frenzy. She'd insisted that I meet her for coffee because she had to ask me something. I told her I was busy, and I was, I was backed up at work and I was determined to finish as much as I could before the weekend. But she didn't sound well, her words were short and frantic, and she seemed to be out of breath. I could hear the stress in her voice. I saw her with frenzied hair, wide eyes that lacked sleep, and a physique that lacked the nutrients of food. I eventually agreed to meet her at a coffee shop that was at a good halfway point between us.

I arrived on time but it was clear that Melody had been there for a while. She wore a faded old hoodie that I hadn't seen her wear in years, she didn't wear make-up, and she had prominent circles around her eyes. To her left was an abundance of scrunched-up straw wrappers, to her right was a plethora of chewed-up straws. She was gnawing away at a straw, saliva dripping down her forearm, her eyes looking frantically around the coffee shop. Eventually, our eyes met. I walked over to her and sat down across from her. Cautiously.

"Melody... are you okay?"

She removed the mangled straw from her mouth, a thin line of saliva following it to the chewed-up straw pile.

"Rachel...Rachel, I'm so glad you decided to meet me. Thank you for meeting me. Thank you so much." She whispered.

"Sweetie, are you okay. You don't look well." I said calmly.

She laughed and wrapped her arms around her head. She clenched up her left fist and banged it on the table repeatedly.

"Melody. What's wrong?" I questioned. I scanned around the coffee shop. I was thankful that it was relatively empty but people were staring.

Melody's bloodshot eyes met mine. She wiped a dribble of snot from her nose. "You don't hear it, do you?"

I narrowed my eyes. I could hear the generic coffee shop music that was playing softly over the speakers but that was it. "Hear what exactly? That music?" I pointed upwards to the speakers above us.

Melody frantically shook her head. "Rachel that melody."

"What melody...Melody?" I joked.

Melody reached over to her pile of chewed-up straws with shaky hands, retrieved one, and continued to gnaw away.

"I didn't think you'd hear it. No one can hear it."

"Hear what Melody? You're starting to scare me."

"Rachel. For the last week, I've been hearing a melody. Non-stop. I hear it as I'm going to bed, as I'm at work, as I'm eating as I'm showering. I hear it while I'm asleep. Everywhere. Non-fucking-stop for the past week. Rachel, I'm losing my fucking mind." She said frantically, her hands jutting out in sporadic motions with certain words. She was drawing attention. The baristas were looking over at us with concern.

I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to ask. I paused and cleared my throat. Flashing a nervous smile at the baristas.

"What kind of melody is it?"

She shrugged and started giggling to herself. "I don't know! I don't fucking know. It's just a melody. It's like the same few beats over and over again, it’s never too loud, never too quiet. I can't get it out of my head!"

"Can you replicate it?"

She frantically shook her head.

I shrugged my shoulders. Struggling to find something to say that was comforting. "I mean, is it from a band?"

She frantically shook her head again.

"Have you gone to the doctor? Or an ear specialist?"

"And tell them what Rachel?? That I keep hearing a song that I can't identify??!" She shouted.

One of the baristas, possibly the manager came walking around the front counter. I gave a nervous smile and held up both hands, mouthing the words "It's okay." He gave me a nervous look, eyes wide from beneath his glasses. He cautiously backed up behind the counter.

"Melody. Umm...What would you like me to do?" I asked.

She shook her head. Tears ran down her cheeks. "There's nothing you can do. I didn't think there was anything you could do. This was a mistake. Rachel, I'm sorry. I’m so sorry. I should have never called you."

Melody pushed herself up from the table and ran out of the coffee shop. The little bell on the door went back and forth in a frenzy due to how hard she pushed the door open. I snatched my purse from the floor and followed her.

But I couldn't find her. I repeatedly tried her cell, I even drove around the area looking for her or her car. Nothing.

I tried calling her for the next couple of days, but I never got a response. I tried her social media pages and still got nothing.

Melody’s mom called me yesterday. I'd only met her a handful of times, with nothing more than a simple hello. But right off the bat, I knew something was wrong. I knew that something bad had happened.

She told me that they’d found Melody's body in her apartment. The neighbor was the one to inquire about a smell. When she didn't get a response from Melody, she got concerned and called the authorities. They entered her apartment and found her body in the kitchen. There were no signs of forced entry, no signs of self-inflicted harm.

I gave her Mom my condolences and asked her to call me if she needed anything. I told her I'd be there for the services.

This morning I woke up, and it wasn't because of my alarm...

But because of a distant melody.

Comments 8