She loved his voice. The way it sounded. The way it filled the room. Mostly the way it made her feel as its sound wrapped around her inner ear. Rachel felt her face warm as he unleashed his opening note.
Rachel waved to her boyfriend on stage. It was a subtle one, one she knew he wouldn’t return. Not because he didn’t want to, it was never that. There were very few things that Carmen wouldn’t do for her. Simply it was that his hands were occupied with his guitar.
There were some things though that Rachel wanted that Carmen wouldn’t budge on. For starters she wanted to have sex. Anytime he sang for her, her panties dampened and her wherewithal plummeted. She craved him, because of his voice. He wouldn’t play with her or let him please him while he sang. Purity wasn’t negotiable. Not in the eyes of the Lord, and not in the eyes of Carmen.
He also wouldn’t let her record him singing. They had only been together a few months, but through some light snooping Rachel discovered he had been working on a cd for her for Christmas. It was going to be a beautiful and wasted surprise. If he hadn’t chosen that as her gift, she was sure she could have recorded a little something by now. There was always interference when she tried to record him like this. Not that she wouldn’t do it anyway. It was her little treat for herself. Her smuggled piece of smut to bring back to her dorm room with her.
For a high school senior with a college girlfriend, Carmen had a lot of nerve to tell her no. Not that she normally weiled her age and status over him, but all she wanted was to melt into his hands, in his mouth, with him inside her as his voice reverberated through the room. But no. Jesus wouldn’t like it. To be perfectly frank with herself, Rachel wasn’t in the habit of sleeping around. She had only had sex with one person before. Her high school boyfriend of five years who left her before he returned to SH before his second semester.
Rachel was positive that if Carmen knew what she did to the sound of his voice he would breakup with her. When he wasn’t signing, she didn’t care. But when he was, his voice moved through her like water through a filter. It completed it. It gave her a purpose. She couldn’t live a complete, meaningful life without it. So she dealt with her frustrations by herself.
Carmen’s voice erupted and filled the air, washing over her like the sacrificial blood of a virgin. Like rain after a long drought. The familiar warmth rose throughout Rachel’s face. Carmen’s dad was next to her recording. They locked eyes as Rachel crossed her legs and massaged her knee. It was amazing how much Carmen looked like his father. A younger, less experienced, less fully developed version, but a version nonetheless. Carmen’s father brimmed with pride, reaching over he put his arm around Rachel and gave her a squeeze. Our boy he mouthed with a wink. For a moment Rachel leaned into Carmen’s father, drawing her legs tighter in, forcing them to hold in the wetness her body was producing.
When the song ended Rachel and Carmen’s father broke apart. Applause took over the room. Carmen had killed it. Making his way back to Rachel and his father, Carmen embraced both of them. He was so amped up, so excited, and yet, none of it would be for her. Breaking apart they all congratulated him once more.
After another congratulatory round of applause for all of the performers, including Carmen, the trio made their way out of the building. Carmen’s father asked what their plans were looking specifically at Rachel. She had to be getting home. Didn’t want to interfere with Carmen’s pre-game routine. Carmen looked at his watch. It was late. It would be even later once he dropped her off and then got back. Then Carmen’s father offered to drive Rachel home, if it was okay with both of them. Carmen’s face lit up. Anything to avoid a fight with Rachel about remaining celibate. Their normal fight after one of his performances. It scared him. Even though he liked it a little too.
Rachel gave Carmen a hug good night and told him how great of a job he did. He thanked her and kissed her on the top of her head. Rachel followed Carmen’s father to his car. Anthony opened the door to his car for her. They spoke briefly about where she lived – in an apartment above her parents’ garage, when she returned back to school – on Sunday in two days, how great of a job Carmen did, and how it was great to see someone so moved by his art. They discussed the things she liked to do – painting, drawing – and how art was expressed differently throughout mediums. They both agreed that there was very little that compared to the passion, the movement, the feeling of art done by hand.
By hand. Rachel had been excited to leave Carmen early to return home to the company of her hand. Her hand that was now wrapped in Anthony’s saying goodnight. Hands that moved across bodies like notes through a room, and up like brush strokes on canvas. Anthony had been widowed three years ago. He had begun dating again last year. He knew the look of an artist, he hadn’t seen it in a woman since Carmen’s mother had passed. The look moved him, physically and emotionally. It moved Rachel on top of him. There in his car.
Kissing. Moaning. Touching. Making their own sounds. Making what felt to Rachel more like love than anything else had, anything other than the sound of Carmen’s voice. The sound of Carmen’s voice which filled the car. A shitty recording, keeping the beats of their movements, the pace of their fuck.
This was so much more to both of them. Bigger than anything either were truly prepared to handle. Four loops of Carmen playing the same tired song, their bodies took over, turning over to each other in tune. Passion took them, broad strokes across a canvas. Together, they finished a masterpiece.
As their bodies pulsed against each other, the energy simmering down. They looked into each other eyes – a single tear fallen from opposing eyes. In less than an hour they had created something people took lifetimes to master. When Rachel left his car, she returned to her apartment above her parents’ garage knowing she would return to her second semester changed in ways she never understood.
Rachel wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the Arts Showcase, check out Arti’s Night for an alternative perspective on Carmen and the rest of performers.