Three gentle raps on the white painted door. He waited a moment then hit it again, louder this time. No answer, he said “honey? I’m coming in.” A turn of the knob, he peeked his head through a sliver of an open space. His daughter at first was nowhere to be seen. Upon further inspection finally spotted her in a corner of her room, headphones on, sitting Indian-style in front of a record player her mother bought her when she turned sixteen. Seems like yesterday yet she’s about to be eighteen, ready to leave the nest.
He entered slowly but not stealthy. Sitting on a corner of the bed he gently tapped her shoulder. She wasn’t startled but did twist around quickly. Removing the headphones she looked into her father’s eyes with a half smile. “Sorry dad.” The rock music blared out of the headphone speakers, the singer sounded angry. An empty record sleeve displayed a woman resembling Pat Benatar but with pink hair.
“We’re cleaning up the garage and attic. A few of the things belong to you. Go through them and see what you wanna keep and discard.”
“You can just throw everything away, it’s fine dad.”
Her father frowned. “You might wanna take a look anyway. Okay sweetie.”
She shrugged. “Okay, just let me finish this record.”
Her father bent down as he got up and planted a soft kiss on her forehead to which he noticed her features soften dramatically. The father then rejoined his wife in the attic as she was fanning herself. “She’ll come around. Just give her a chance.” The wife said noticing a look of reluctancy on her husbands face.
Once completed, the daughter got up and made her way to the garage after hearing both parents shuffling about the attic. Entering through the kitchen, she flipped the light switch and entered. At first she noticed nothing significant until finally moving around the car where the Fender Stratocaster her mother purchased on her fourteenth birthday stood in its stand next to its companion, a Fender bass, her mother bought for herself and the drum set for her father. It was at the beginning of her rock phase that turned her life around. Who knew the power of music could do such a thing. Then again, she was pretty sure every teenager all over the world felt the same way.
She plucked a few strings on her Fender and the memory of her learning to play and then performing every summer night echoed in her mind. It lasted only two years. She can’t even remember why the urge to play vanished and in the same breath understood why her father brought her down here to find it. Graduation is only a few months away with the final summer at home before college looming behind it. Sure there will be summers after but they knew it would never be the same, having gone through the experience themselves. They were trying to let their little girl know how proud they were but miss the time they used to spend together. How much her father missed teaching her to play the simple chords and singing praise when she strummed difficult riffs with ease. She knew she would never be a professional and playing wasn’t about that for her- it was something that brought the three of them closer during every session. Her parents simply wanted an encore.
As if possessed she picked the guitar up, plugged it into the amp she hadn’t noticed beside it, tuned it, and let memory muscles in her fingers do the rest. After fumbling through When Doves Cry she began playing Hotel California and halfway through it felt as if no time had passed since the last time the instrument was in her hands.
At the end of the song clapping erupted from behind and as she spun saw her parents inching towards her, then they all hugged. In her father’s ear, while a lone tear fell from her eye, she said “thank you, daddy.” The father kissed her forehead again and soon the three of them were jamming as if stepping into a Delorian.