Abbey opened the mailbox, tentatively looking inside. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw there was a letter, a long-awaited letter, from a well-known music studio. She knew what it was about; her submission. A keen pianist since she was a child, Abbey had been submitting a melody she wrote to various studio’s and music companies but to no avail. The melody in question was a haunting piece she had spent the best part of a year perfecting and although her friends and family told her how much they loved it, she needed that validation from an outsider that her music was worthy of being released to the world. She wanted people to love the tune as much as she did.
Before she could stop herself, Abbey tore open the letter and read it.
‘Unfortunately, it is just not what we are looking for at this time. Thank you for your interest….’ The words blurred as small tears started to fall, despite her best efforts to stop them. Abbey promised herself she would not get her hopes up about this submission, but secretly she really hoped this would be the studio that would be interested in her piece. Now she would be adding this letter to her ever-growing rejection pile.
Abbey stood at her mailbox and sobbed as she thought about all the rejection and heartbreak she had faced over the last year. She loved music – she lived and breathed it – and she had hoped it shone through when she played the piano, her hands effortlessly playing the notes she dreamt about in her sleep. She loved it too much not to try and get her music out there, but she feared it was just not going to happen for her. It seemed her music was only destined for the ears of loved ones.
Abbey was turning to go back inside when she heard the voice of her elderly neighbor, Esme. “Hello, Abbey dear, how are you today?” Esme asked in an ever-present happy tone. She was a wonderful neighbor and her and Abbey were always engaging in deep and meaningful chatter over their mailboxes. Before Abbey could stop herself, she turned around and let her neighbor see the tears, see the mascara streaked down her face. She needed to be comforted and she craved the positive, wise words Esme was sure to soothe. “Oh, my,” Esme gasped, “Whatever has happened?” Pouring her heart out, Abbey told Esme everything. The rejections, the time she spent pouring her heart and soul into this melody, the love she had for music. She quietly admitted she was nearly ready to give up. “Oh no, never give up, dear, never. If you enjoy it, you keep at it,” Esme gasps, “I hear you play and you are breathtaking. You have a real talent there kid.” She then starts humming a familiar tune and asks, “Is that the piece you’ve submitted? It’s such a beautiful and memorable tune, it reminds me of my late husband for some reason. It’s reminiscent of happy times but also stirs up some sad memories, in a wonderful way of course. It’s brilliant. They are nuts to knock it back, nuts. What’s it called?”
Abbey breaks into a grin as she realizes her neighbor is not calling her bluff. She does hear her music and has heard her tune, and likes it. She had touched someone. That thought alone made the pain of all those rejections worthwhile. “Its name?” she asks, “I have called the melody ‘Hauntingly Beautiful,’ as that’s what it is for me – haunting and beautiful. It’s been with me a long time and I have only just begun to get it out there.”
“Hauntingly Beautiful,” Esme repeats, “What a fantastic title, and appropriate. Well, I tell you what, the world needs to hear this my dear, it does. Keep at it. No matter how down you may feel, keep going. Even the greats got rejected before they got their break, you know, and they kept going. You should too. Besides, you make this old duck happy with your music, and that has to count for something, right?”
Laughing, Abbey pulls Esme in for a hug, thanking her and feeling a little uplifted after their conversation. Saying her goodbyes, Abbey went to go back into the house when Esme called out, “Tell me dear, do you have any plans Saturday afternoon?” Shaking her head Abbey replies, “No, why?” Smiling, Esme answers, “Why don’t you come over to my house for afternoon tea. Oh, and bring your ‘Hauntingly Beautiful’ piece with you. I assume you have it on disc, or whatever you kids call it these days, right?” Confused Abbey replies, “Of course.” Turning toward her house, Esme casually calls out, “Perfect. See you around four o’clock, and don’t forget that tune!”
Once inside her home, Esme picks up her phone and dials a familiar number. A voice on the other end announces she has reached a rather prestigious music studio. “Yes, I’d like to be put through to the CEO, Ms Doris Pass, please”, Esme requests. After a brief hold, Esme is talking to her old friend Doris. Thick as thieves, they grew up together and share the same taste in music. Doris started this company and could have retired long ago, but her love of music has kept her there and the girls often chuckle that she will be doing this job until the day she dies. Esme knew Doris had to listen to Abbey’s tune. She would love it.
“Hello, Doris!” Esme exclaims, “Listen, what are you doing on Saturday afternoon? There is someone I would love for you to meet and a piece of music you need to hear. They’re both hauntingly beautiful.”