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My Muse (Short Story)

I sat at my desk, my head lazily propped up upon my loosely clenched left fist while rapping the black ink pen I hold in my right hand against the empty page of the red Mead notebook sitting in front of me. I let out a long sigh, a combination of boredom and exasperation coloring the slow exhalation of air from my lungs. I’ve been in this position many times before. I am a writer but I have nothing to write. And I knew why.

It was my Muse. She was running late for her appointment.

I’d always been told to be patient; to wait, relax and meditate, and eventually, the words would come. But I knew better. I needed my Muse. Without her, I was lost. Set adrift in a sea of words and somehow unable to find any to transcribe on paper.

I leaned back in my office chair, clasping my fingers behind my head and tried to relax. My eyes remained open, staring at the bluish white wall that loomed above me. There was nothing for my eyes to focus on, so my mind was free to wander. Where was my Muse? Why wasn’t she here? I needed her here. I wanted to write but the words just wouldn’t come. Why was she late? I couldn’t stop thinking about her. My mind was ablaze with thoughts of her. I was restless. I had to get out of my room. I had to do something to stop thinking about her.

I got up from my chair, pushed it in under my desk and grabbed my keys from the nightstand and headed out towards my car. The sun, shining high in the clear blue sky greeted me as I stepped outside. For a moment, I stood there, closing my eyes and bathing in the sun’s magnificent rays. I allowed it to energize me and make me forget for a moment about my Muse not being here for me in my time of need.

And then I remembered in the next moment that that energizing feeling of warmth was exactly what my Muse radiated every second that she was around me.

I shook my head, trying to rid myself of those thoughts as I resumed the short walk to my car. As I reached the door, I hit the button on the key fob to unlock the doors and opened the driver side door and sat down in the car, the temperature inside the cabin being higher than the ambient conditions outside. I inserted the keys into the ignition, started the car and drove off, unsure of where I was going but knowing that anywhere was better than here right now. My Muse wasn’t here. What difference did it make if I was at home or somewhere else?

I turned onto the highway, heading toward a local mall. I thought being around people might give me at least a tiny bit of inspiration that I could take home with me and start to write, Muse or no Muse. I wouldn’t be stopped because she didn’t want to show up on time.

When I got to the mall and walked inside, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Above all at that moment, my desire was to write and everything else was secondary to that desire. So, I walked around the mall aimlessly, stopping in various shops along the way and browsing their wares. I ended up buying a couple of CDs from one of the music shops before stopping and sitting down on a bench. There were so many people around me discussing so many different things that I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on but the inspiration I was hoping to find was eluding me yet again.

So I stood up from the bench and walked to the food court and ordered a slice of pizza and a drink and sat down amidst the din of the noisy mall complex. My mind began to wander once again as I took my first bite of pizza and washed it down with a swallow of soda. Once again, my mind was flooded with thoughts of my Muse. I was being too hard on her earlier. I’m sure she didn’t mean to be late. She had others to help as well and as much as I wanted her attention all to myself, I knew my selfish desires would only push her away from me, not bring her back.

I finished my slice of pizza and drink and sat for a moment fiddling with my cell phone, which didn’t have any reception where I was sitting in the mall, before deciding to head home once again. Perhaps when I listened to the CDs I bought, I would find the inspiration I was looking for because there was none to be found here.

When I got home, I walked in the front door and threw my jacket across the couch in the living room, figuring I’d get to hanging it up later. I got a glass of water from the kitchen. I stood for a moment by the sink, slowly emptying the glass with small sips. I stared out of the window above the sink, trying to think of something to write. I could swear that I detected the lightest scent in the air, something sweet, inviting and familiar. I was reminded of my Muse, but I wasn’t sure why.

I set the glass down in the sink and started up the stairs toward my room. The scent grew stronger as I ascended the steps. My nose wasn’t playing tricks on me. I wasn’t sure of the source but I couldn’t help but think I’d smelled that fragrance before. I tried to discern the source of the scent as I stepped onto the landing. After pausing for a moment, and sniffing the air, I was confident that the smell was coming from my room. Strange. I walked over to my door and opened it and froze instantly as I saw what was waiting for me inside.

My Muse…she was here.

I couldn’t do anything but stare at her. She was as magnificent as I remembered. Tall, with long brown hair accented with tasteful light brown highlights draped over her shoulder and cascading down her back in elegant waves. Her caramel skin shone in the sunlight that peeked in through the window to her left as she stood at my desk, thumbing through my notebook with her back to me, giving her an almost angelic appearance. She turned ever so slightly as I entered the room and smiled at me over her shoulder. Her dark brown eyes practically gleamed in the light and her smile was so beautiful and vibrant that it made me think that it alone could breathe life back into the dead. Had she been attired in the garb of the ancient Romans, she would have appeared to be a goddess.

“Hi.” She said in her soothing, gentle and wonderfully melodious voice. “I’m sorry I’m late.”

I immediately dropped my bag of CDs on the bed and rushed over to her, giving her the biggest hug and most passionate kiss that I had ever given her before. The fragrance she was wearing, it occurred to me that she had only worn it once before. The night I met her. I wondered why I’d never asked her to wear it again as she smelled so amazing then as I held her in my arms. She didn’t know how long I’d been waiting for her to show or how glad I was to finally see her.

“Well, you seem pleased to see me.” She said, wrapping her arms around my neck, her beautiful smile alighting her face once more. “I’m sorry it took me so long to get here, I had a few emergency tutoring sessions to go to today and my cell phone died before I could call you.”

She was apologizing but she had no need to do so. I knew full well that she was an English tutor at a local college as she worked on her degree and that she has a very full workload. She was a Muse for others as well as myself.

“I tried to call you from the school before I came but I couldn’t reach you so I just came by and let myself in. I hope you’re not angry with me.”

Mad? Of course not. As angry as I was before, I realize that I was being selfish. I loved her, but I couldn’t have her all to myself. As I stood there, holding her in my arms, I merely smiled down at her, trying to tell her that everything was fine in a nonverbal way. I needed the inspiration she gave me to write these days but I was already a proficient writer and I finally realized that her talents were needed more elsewhere.

“Relax.” I said finally. “I’m not mad.”

My Muse was finally here and just standing in her presence was enough for me. I had my inspiration and now, I felt invigorated, my spirit renewed and my mind clear and ready to channel my thoughts through my pen and onto the paper.

I am a writer and now, I have something to write.