Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wind Chimes by Lisa Rusczyk

I’ve always liked wind chimes, but these are different. Long, sleek metal tubes hang from a wooden disk and the notes they play when I swing the string are dissonant and melancholy, like the song of a ghost that might live in one of these Cape May beach hotels. I stand there listening and each time the song fades, I shake the string again.

“You like those,” a man’s voice behind me says. I turn around. He’s not much taller than me, short, dark hair and eyes as blue as can only be seen in stained glass windows. It’s like there’s light shining right through them.

“Yes,” I say. “I’ve never heard any like them. Usually wind chimes are happier, or nostalgic. But these, they ring with sadness.”

“Do you have wind chimes?”

“None this nice,” I say, having already seen the $150 price tag.

He reaches out a smooth, thin hand and strokes a pipe. “The wind chimes pick the owner, you know. These might be calling to you.” His eyes are back on me and I feel a shiver up my spine, like I’m the chime he’s holding. And quite suddenly, I want to be. I’m not used to this kind of feeling from a complete stranger. Usually, the men I’m attracted to are ones I’ve known for some time. But this man, I don’t even know his name, and he’s making me feel warm inside. I feel a flush on my chest and cheeks.

“Wind chimes,” he continues without breaking eye contact or blinking, “evoke personal feelings in everyone. I’ve never seen anyone react to these as you have.”

“You work here?” I manage to get out, despite my dry mouth.

“Yes. I make them. These have been hanging here for over a year. And then you came in and haven’t been able to move on.”

I look at the chimes shyly. “I can’t afford them.”

His voice is as smooth as a beach breeze. “People are like that too.”

“Like what?”

“Drawn to one another. Unable to move away at first sight.”

“And some people are repulsed by each other.”

He runs his fingertips down to my hand and takes it in his. “Which is stronger?” Then he rings the chimes and the haunting melody fills the shop. I realize we’re the only two people in the store, and I’m very aware of how warm his hand is in mine.

“I can’t buy them.”

“But I can give them to you.”

“I can’t let you do that.”

He squeezes my hand. “I’ll do it for one kiss. That can be your payment.”

As the sound of the chimes fade away, he takes me in his arms and his soft lips press against mine. I feel heat between us as he strokes my back. Then he pulls away as the last chime rings.

“My best work for my best kiss from a stranger,” he says, and he takes the wind chimes down from the rack. He hands them to me. “Remember always how you felt the first time you heard them.”


Cherie Reich said...

Aww! Great story, Lisa! I've always loved wind chimes. I can't go by some in a store without touching them. Yeah, I'm one of those people.

Cats! said...

Thanks, Cherie. I gotta ring them, too!

Aubrie said...

Oh this is wonderful! I'm melting...

Lisa you are AWESOME.

Cats! said...

Thanks, Aubrie! :)