The music coming through the record player is my own personal language. Many can listen to this language, but only some can understand. Jasmine Michaels thought to herself as the record turned. She had never been sure of what she wanted to do with her life until that moment. Jasmine knew that music was what she wanted to do and what she needed to do.
There were sounds until there weren’t. The record had needed to be turned. Jasmine looked frightened at the silence. Silence was not something she enjoyed. She removed herself gracefully from the sofa and walked up to the beautiful machine, the one that gave her life meaning and substance. Jasmine held the record on her finger tips and the old vinyl smell circulated through her nose and equally in her heart. She carefully flipped the record to “Side Two” and then placed the record back onto the player. Jasmine gracefully positioned the needle and dropped it down into the groves gently and with thought.
Again the music began to play and all at once, Jasmine wasn’t afraid anymore. She played with her silky blonde hair that felt smooth between her fingers and gently bit her lower lip with a smile. It was as if she was in a trance that would last as long as the music played.
“Jasmine!” A voice called from the kitchen.
The beauty and tranquility had suddenly been replaced with shouting. Jasmine ran to the turntable and lowered the volume.
“Yes?” Jasmine called, she was slightly annoyed but yet she seemed polite.
“Come in here, please.” The voice called again.
Jasmine now recognized this voice as her mother, Mrs. Michaels.
“I’m coming.” Jasmine dashed into the kitchen and slid across the newly washed floor with her wool socks.
When Jasmine arrived in the kitchen she instantly smelled the fresh fragrance of sweet chocolate cookies, baking in the oven. Her mom was obsessed with baking, Jasmine didn’t mind this because she got all of the treats!
“Can you help me reach the flour?” Jasmine’s mother was probably the kindest person on this earth, but she was also probably the shortest. Jasmine was taller than her by the time she was ten years old and that was five years ago.
“Sure Mom.” Jasmine reached up on the top shelf and grabbed the bag of pure white flour. She handed it to her mother.
“Thank you.” Her mother spread out her short arms and grabbed the bag. She poured some into a measuring cup.
“So, what are you making?” Jasmine inquired. “Cookies?”
“Yes, they are for tomorrow’s party.” Little bits of flour sprinkled onto the counter. “Oh, Jasmine. I forgot to ask you, but I hope you wouldn’t mind being the entertainment for tomorrow’s event. You have a lovely voice and everyone enjoys your guitar playing. Oh, Jasmine, please won’t you?” The eyes of the little woman twinkled into the mind of young Jasmine. She couldn’t refuse this offer, nor did she want to.
“Oh, mom! That’s wonderful! I would love to play at the party tomorrow!” Jasmine hugged her mother.
Jasmine’s mother was always having little “gatherings” with her friends from her knitting class, her book club and with some of the mothers of Jasmine’s old friends. Jasmine and her mother were often lonely—having a great big house and not many people to share it with; yet they managed.
“I’m glad you are pleased. I was afraid you wouldn’t want to, I already told everyone you were going to play.” Mrs. Michaels spooned batter onto a small tray. “Oh, Jasmine dear, my friends really like it when you play. They always tell me that you are going to be famous someday.”
Jasmine smiled, but didn’t say anything. She thought of the word, ‘famous.’ It was a word she had always been interested in, but didn’t truly think it was real. Just a myth or a fairy tale. It seemed more real than ever—coming from her mother.
Mrs. Michaels lifted up the tray of cookies and ‘popped’ them in the oven.
“Pop!” Jasmine’s mother would say after she closed the oven door. This always made her daughter laugh.
Jasmine dashed upstairs to her room. She was greeted by the posters of her favorite bands and musicians and a calendar that read, “June—1964”
Her four pink walls were decorated with the faces of The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Most of the “posters” were newspaper or magazine clippings, some were record covers she had taped on the wall. She put her hand across the picture of Buddy Holly, who had tragically passed away five years ago. Jasmine was only ten at the time, but she was in love with Buddy Holly. When she heard he had died, she cried for a month and practically refused to go to school. She still cries sometimes.
Jasmine had recently discovered The Beatles. She called them her bandage on the wound that was left by the death of Mr. Holly. They made her smile and dance on the saddest of days. Jasmine knew that she would always be a fan of them, even in fifty years, even in one hundred years. She bought their new album, “Meet the Beatles,” that came out six months ago. Jasmine constantly listens to it on her record player in the living room. Mrs. Michaels doesn’t mind The Beatles, but she does mind them being on repeat in her living room.
Elvis was someone that Jasmine couldn’t live without. Every time the song, “Hound Dog” played, Jasmine cried. There was no good reason for it, she just cried. She loved his voice so much and admired his music like it was her own religion. Music was her life.
Jasmine opened up an old rusty guitar case and then appeared an old rusty guitar. It was her grandfathers, it wasn’t that great of a guitar, but it sounded genuine and sweet. The wood was fading and the strings were on their last legs, but they kept on playing—knowing that their owner was going to make them famous someday.
Jasmine strummed a few chords and tried to play a song that she wrote. Carefully, Jasmine tuned the instrument, to make sure it sounded just right. When she finished, she continued playing and playing. Eventually hours had passed, though for Jasmine, it felt like minutes.
“Jasmine! Time for dinner!” Mrs. Michaels called from down stairs. Jasmine looked at the clock, it was 5:32pm. When she started playing, it was only three.
Jasmine was shocked back into reality and put the guitar back into its case. She blew a kiss to her posters and walked down stairs.
The smell of pasta and vegetables filled the kitchen.
“Hi, Jasmine. I was beginning to worry about you, you were up there for two hours.” Jasmine’s mother said.
“I know, sorry. I was practicing—for tomorrow.”
“I see. Well come now, I’ll fix you a plate.”
“Thank you.” Jasmine sat down at the kitchen table and waited for her dish to arrive.
“Mom, do you mind if I play some music?” Jasmine inquired, she felt like she needed to listen to something.
“Go ahead, but keep the volume down.” Her mother said.
Jasmine jumped into action and grabbed her box of records. She looked through them, dismissing one after the other, but then she found “the one.” Her favorite record, “Please Please Me,” by The Beatles. She readied the vinyl and placed it on the turntable. Once she heard the first note of “I Saw Her Standing There,” Jasmine began to dance. Not just, dance—but jump and prance around the room.
“Jasmine! Haven’t you heard enough of The Beatles?” Mrs. Michaels shouted. To Jasmine and many other Beatles fans at the time, these were like curse words.
“Of course not! I love The Beatles!” Jasmine defended the British pop group and continued to perform in front of the sofa.
“Alright, fine. But please lower the volume dear, please!”
Jasmine lowered the volume and returned to her seat at the table—still secretly moving her feet to the rhythm. She would die before anyone could stop her from acknowledging music that was playing.
“Here you are, Jasmine.” Jasmine was handed a plate of food, along with a knife and fork.
“Thank you.” Jasmine replied.
Mrs. Michaels sat down and started to eat—Jasmine did the same.
“Mom.” Jasmine said.
“Do you really think I’ll be famous one day?”
“I do. As long as you keep at it—your guitar, I mean.”
“Yes, but I don’t see how. I’m only playing “concerts” at your parties. That doesn’t exactly make you famous.”
“No, it doesn’t. But you have to start somewhere don’t you?”
“Eat your dinner darling and remember that tomorrow you’ll wake up and play for my friends and the next day you’ll be as famous as The Beatles.”
Jasmine didn’t quite believe this, but she liked the thought.
The next day was exciting. This was Jasmine’s first performance in a while. The last one was at a talent show at her high school. She won first place but she felt as if she could have done better—she played one of her chords flat and almost stopped playing, she continued in order not to embarrass herself in front of everyone. Jasmine’s worst fear is that she’ll be embarrassed on stage. She felt as if the reason she got applause was because she played a song by The Rolling Stones, a popular band at school and one of Jasmine’s other favorites. Jasmine loves figuring out how to play songs that other bands have written. She mainly has to figure them out on her own—just listening to the song over and over and matching the chords to the sounds of the record. It takes a long while, but there is nothing she loves more.
When Jasmine awoke, there was a large vase of flowers beside her—on her bedside table. They were lilacs mixed with some daisies. These were Jasmine’s favorite flowers.
There was a note attached to the vase. Jasmine unfolded it so gently—as if it might break. The note read:
You’ll do just fine today. Remember to smile! I love you sweetheart. Please write to me when you’re famous. I’ll be here.
Jasmine ingested the word again. Famous. It was beginning to become more real. Maybe she could become famous. Maybe it was possible after all. All of her idols did it. They were once just like her—dreaming and pretending until everything became real. The moment they knew that this was their life and this was what they wanted to do more than anything else in the world. Nothing is impossible, though that doesn’t mean everything is 100% possible.
Jasmine shook all of the thoughts of being famous out of her head and she could hear them fall to the ground. She decided to stay in the present—for now anyway. There was a time and place for everything and right now was the time to focus; focus today and dream tomorrow.
Jasmine’s morning was spent plucking at the strings of her guitar and studying the lyrics of her newly written song. She looked over at her posters and then at the vase of flowers. They made her feel like everything was alright—which it was. There was no reason for her to be nervous or worried. She wasn’t anyway. She felt lonely. To cure this feeling she played again. All at once the melody fell upon her and she felt better. Not perfect; better.
“Jasmine! My friends are going to be here in twenty minutes, you ought to come downstairs. Are you ready yet?” Jasmine could hear her mom clearly, even though she was all the way down stairs.
“I’m—I’m coming!” Jasmine shuffled to carry her guitar and lyrics down the stairs. She was mentally preparing herself for what was to come. What time is it? She thought loudly, though no one could hear. She breathed softly though she felt as if the whole world knew what she was doing. There is no word to explain the feeling that Jasmine Michaels felt on this day.
When Jasmine arrived in the living room. Her eyes rested on the “stage,” which was really just a clear and bare corner of the living room. It seemed so grand and important to Jasmine. Though this performance was no more important than her talent show. Maybe even less.
Jasmine rested her guitar against the soft couch and breathed in and out. Then she looked at her record player. This was what she needed. Music. She picked up a record and positioned it on the turntable. Buddy Holly was the best choice for today. The record started to feed Jasmine the sounds and she slowly felt better. Mr. Holly’s voice soothed her nerves—the ones she thought weren’t there. Jasmine closed her green eyes and bit down gently on her lower lip with a smile. There were no more nerves, no more worries, just music. That was all she needed. Music.
“Jasmine! Turn that down, they’re here!” Mrs. Michaels directed.
Jasmine rushed to stop the record. It was almost time. She walked into the main hallway, her blue checkered dress flowed beside her and her shoes clacked to the beating of her heart. Jasmine and her mother greeted their many guests. “Hellos” pinched Jasmine’s ears, but she had no time to heal them, she had to preform and she was ready. Why shouldn’t she be? One day she would be famous and that was a fact.
“Thank you all for coming. My daughter, Jasmine, is going to play us all a few tunes on her guitar. She is very excited and is most pleased to play for you today. Jasmine, why don’t you get ready?” My mother announced Jasmine to her friends. Jasmine nodded.
“Hello everyone.” Jasmine started. “I’m going to play you two songs, I wrote the first one.” Jasmine sat down on a small and crooked bench and positioned her guitar across her chest. It was complete silence except for a few stray voices in the back of the room—whispering. Jasmine looked up and then back down at her guitar and started playing her first song. The chords were perfect. The lyrics were perfect. Everything was beautiful and wonderful. Jasmine was beginning to feel famous already as she saw the smiling faces in the room. Her biggest fans were all fifty year old women, but she was glad anyway. The stinging smell of lavender perfume and cat hair no longer bothered Jasmine like it used to when her mother’s friends came to visit. This was all her, no one else.
When Jasmine finished, clapping became common. When the clapping ended, Jasmine began her second song. The same feeling rushed over her all at once. It was wonderful.
Jasmine knew this was her life. She knew she was famous in some small way no matter what anyone said or thought. She was a star and she would stay that way for as long as she lived. As long as there was music, there is no reason not to be famous—for Jasmine at least.
After Jasmine’s performance was over. Compliments replaced the odor of perfume and cat hair, they were all for Jasmine.
There were no doubts in anyone’s mind. Jasmine Michaels was famous and she would stay that way as long as she played her guitar and sang to the beat of her heart.