He was given his first guitar when he was four years old. It was green, plastic, with no strings; still it obsessed him. It played tunes when buttons were pressed but it was limited. Guitar lessons started age eight, after his father bought him a ‘grown up’ guitar, and his teacher taught him to play three blind mice and other tunes that were too embarrassing to share.
Eventually he found sheet music for the latest and most popular pop songs of his generation and he spent hours plucking at those strings until he could play them all. He did it all for her, his sisters best friend, his love obsession from the moment he was old enough to understand what true beauty was to him, but she never saw him. His guitar playing never impressed her.
Age fourteen things changed a little and he had hope. When she came round to see his sister she would stop and listen from time to time but never for very long because she had things to talk about, secrets to share only his sister knew. By age fifteen there were other boys who stole her attention from him but he never gave up. He soon found out that these boys she liked kicked footballs and became lead singers in boy bands.
Age sixteen, he played heavy metal until she said it hurt her ears. He moved into soft rock melodies that caressed and words that melted most female hearts but not hers, she said it was too weak and geeky. What woman would ever want to date a guy who thought music like that was any good he heard her asking his sister.
Age eighteen she left for university and he was heartbroken but eighteen months later when he entered his first year at uni he found the guitar helped him find girls. Over three years there were lots and lots of different girls but none of them close to her magnificence. He thought about her as he made love to them.
Age twenty four and settled at work but not married until age twenty six, after finding out she had left the country to live in Oklahoma, he decided to find a lovely wife. Shortly afterwards marriage, a mortgage and two kids added to his overwhelmed life. The guitar was placed abandoned and tuneless in the hallway cupboard. It came out at family gatherings and the odd music festival but that was all.
Age thirty two and she returns from Oklahoma divorced, looking after her only son, and revelling in the huge alimony payment her wealthy husband gave her to leave his life. He sees her for the first time grocery shopping and they exchange hugs. She is still the same. Life has given her love handles and laughter lines but she is still overwhelmingly beautiful to him. To her he will always be her best friend’s geeky younger brother only he has filled out too and whispers of white hair now decorate his semi-toned chest.
At the welcome home party he convinces his sister to throw for her he picks up his guitar and plays. He sings too. She spends most of the evening ignoring him but the hurt isn’t as painful anymore. Before she leaves she kisses him on the cheek and they make plans to have dinner. She invited him, much to his wife’s annoyance. There is a mysterious glint in her eye he has never noticed before and despite loving her for over twenty years with complete candour and without hope he believes a lifetime of guitar tunes might have finally helped her to see him in a new light.