After Thanksgiving dinner, I washed the dishes and he, belly full, plopped on the couch. The sudden movement of the air in the room pushed my guitar — which was leaning ever so slightly on the wall — and gracefully knocked it face down on the floor.
“I broke it!” I heard him cry. I didn’t turn around. Kept washing the dishes.
I could hear him trying to fix it. How can you fix a broken guitar without epoxy?
He fiddled with the strings and the wood, wishing to turn the moment around. He was upset. But what’s done is done. It’s over. In my head, it was dead long ago, even before I sent it to the guitar store to fix the first time.
Today, I sat on the stool, like an acrobat, balancing my own weight against the glossy Fender. “It’s nice,” I said and looked at him. But my gaze faltered as my elbow slipped off abruptly, and when I changed chords, the guitar neck tilted. My fingers pressed strings faster to hold on to the instrument, and they hit the wrong notes. “Well, at least I have an excuse for playing bad,” I thought to myself.
The light in the store was yellow, unyielding, and the notes in the air made me want to run.
I tried a child’s guitar. A three-quarter sized Yamaha, a half-sized Taylor later. It was nice, but it felt like a cop-out. Too easy. I would learn too soon, and then I would feel handicapped. I’d never be a rock star.
Finally, I grabbed a longish guitar off the wall. It was hanging up high and it was out of my price range, I figured, since the tag was blank. In fact, it was all wrong: The neck was too wide for my fingers, the strings were nylon, tied in complicated knots at the bottom. And then I played. The sound wasn’t gorgeous like the Fender’s, but it was sweeter. And the neck was shorter than the Fender’s: It only seemed long because the body was narrower — a perfect fit for my short elbows.
It was love, at third sight. Almost as cheap as the Fender.