“Twenty eight, twenty nine, thirty. Thirty white coins. Still a long way to go but I won’t give up!”
“Whatchu doin’ Matt?” Oh God here she comes.
“Shut up Arisha. I’m busy counting my money right now.”
“Because I want to buy a guitar.”
“Because I want to be like Alex. He looked so cool with his.”
“He looked cool because he’s eighteen, not because of his guitar. You’re only twelve.”
“And you’re only ten so shut up. Go play Barbie or something shuuh”
“Hmmph.” She walked away. Good. One less problem. Now back to the counting.
“Hey big bro, here,” she came back and passed a fifty pound note.
“Wha wha where did you get this? Did you steal? I’ve never thought that you’ll do something like this. I’m ashamed of you. I feel like crying.”
“Shut up idiot. I got this from helping mom selling her veggies last month. I’ve told you that the reward is big.”
“But, why?” I asked with curiosity.
“For your guitar of course. With how your money is progressing right now, you won’t even make it before you’re 18 dumbass.”
“Oh okay thanks then.” I reach for the money.
She snapped her hands, “But on one condition.”
“You must let me sing the song that you played with the guitar.” Arisha smiled.
I’ve never been interested in the idea of learning something new. But this time, it’s different. It’s like love at first sight. With the amount of money we had, we could only manage a second hand acoustic fender from the thrift shop near the suburbs. However we think that it’s pretty neat for a starter like me.
“Matt! Slow the tempo a little bit when I start the chorus. You’re making the yellow submarine sounded like a yellow motorboat!”
“Alright sorry sorry. Let’s do the chorus one more time. One, two, three.”
We all live in a yellow submarine
“Ugh Matt! How many times do I have to tell you? Play it slower idiot. You’re a disgust towards John Lennon’s chef d’ouvre.”
“Ya ya I’m trying here.” Who in their right minds would want to listen to The Beatles nowadays? Why are we even trying so hard in the first place?
“Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the Elderly Brothers!”
And here we are. I’ve never thought of playing for a show. It’s all Arisha’s idea for additional pocket money. Even if it’s just a small play in a pub, I felt very nervous. But Arisha is different. She seems to enjoy being here. If dad’s still here, he would be so proud.
“Okay big bro. Let’s start with Hey Jude. Don’t embarrass me.”
“Don’t be so cocky scum. Just do like we always do.”
“Uno, dos, tre.”
And that’s how the Elderly Brothers was born. The town folks was so keen with the idea of two children who play The Beatles that with only words by mouth, we started becoming a phenomenon. From bars to the big stages of Anfield, we’ve never failed to amuse them. Our mom has never stopped us from playing music. She loves the sound that we create and always root for us from behind. It’s like a dream come true for the both us.
“Those kids are good. I can’t believe that they liked St Pepper. Most of the crowd are people about our age,” said Arisha. We’re on our way home after a show for the orphanage at West Derby.
“We’re kids too idiot. But yeah I was surprised too.” I said as we walked down the ramp towards our house. Arisha suddenly stopped.
“Hey Matt, thanks.”
“For letting me sing the songs that you play. It was quite fun actually,” she said with a big smile.
“Hey you’re the one that started all of this right? I’m the one who should thank you shorty. I hope that we can continue playing music forever,” I get close to her and pat her head.
“Yeah I’d love to. Let’s aim higher Matt! I want to be famous like John Lennon.”
“How high? You mean like for the whole world to know us?” I asked her.
“That’s too much though. How about just Wembley for now.”
“Okay. Promise me that we’ll get to make a show there someday.”
“Yep I promise. For Wembley”
“For Wembley,” We both knuckled our fists, how bro-ish of an influence I am to her.
Year after year after year, we keep on playing music without any thought of stopping. Sometimes I dream of getting out of Anfield and make a gamble for the professional arena so that we can reach our dream of doing a gig at Wembley but we’re so comfortable with our position today that I guess it’s better if we just keep up with what we already have for now. Without noticing, it’s been six years since our first debut.
“I’m sorry sir but I don’t think that Arisha can make it. She’s sick and can’t even talk,” I talked to the director of the cabaret.
“That’s a shame. So I guess I’ll cancel you slot tonight.”
“Yes. I’m very sorry for this inconvenience. I’ll make sure that it won’t happen again,” I explained. He then go to the front desk. I sit at the backstage. I’m glad that it’s not a big event but then I still regret for not getting to play tonight. Just when I thought of leaving, a girl comes and sit next to me.
“Hi. You’re Matt right?” the girl asked.
“Yes and you’re…?” I immediately answered. I’ve never seen her before but she’s so beautiful.
“It’s amy. A solo singer from Everton. I’ve heard a lot of you and your sister. The Beatles reincarnation right?” she said as she shake her hand with me.
“Nah not much of a reincarnation. We’re still very far from achieving what they’ve had. Plus, we won’t be doing any show tonight.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Arisha’s throat hurts. The director had cancelled our slot.”
“Oh that’s sad. Say, do you want to make a duo with me tonight? It’s always fun to play a song with someone else. And plus, I can sing The Beatles if you want?” she suggested.
“Are you sure? When is your turn?”
“Right now. Let’s go Matt!” she takes my hand and pulled me towards the stage.
All of the sudden, I’m sitting in front of a crowd of people with my old fender. Amy sits next to me with her Yamaha.
“There will be a little change for the singer. Tonight Amy Lee will perform alongside half of the famous Everly Brothers, Matt Everly!” the director announced and the whole crowd cheered.
“You’re ready Matt? Let’s start with ‘Come Together’. I’ll sing the solo and do the bass,” alerted Amy.
“Okay. I’ll do the back up. Make sure that the solo’s good,” I reminded her. She nodded. I’ve played ‘Come Together’ a lot with Arisha before so I guess it wouldn’t be a problem then.
“One, two three.”
Here come a flat top he comes.
Woah. Is that how she sounded like when singing?
Grooving up slowly he comes.
Her voice is so beautiful. For the next three minutes, my hand is strumming the guitar but my mind is being blown away by her voice, far away from the stage.
Come together, yeahhhhhhhhhhh.
I plucked the last chords. The whole crowd cheered in delight. I’ve played this song a lot of time but this time, it’s different. I look at her. Through my eyes, she is the most beautiful woman on earth right now. She turns her head towards me and smiles.
I think I’m falling in love.
“Big bro! I’m all pink right now. Let’s make some music!” shouted Arisha happily.
“Nope sorry sis. I’ve got a meeting right now. A very important one.”
“Oh. So I guess it will be just me today. Never mind I can practice my voice alone, I guess,” murmured Arisha with a faint smile.
“See you later,” I said as I go. A white lie never hurts. She would be mad if she knows that I’m going to practice with Amy. Since our last gig, we have been meeting each other for quite a few times. A lot of times actually. From just a practice at a studio, it became a dinner at a fancy restaurant. From sharing music, we started sharing our feelings for each other. I’ve never thought a stranger could just come into my life and change everything, but she eventually does.
“So, what do you think about the record audition? You too have been dreaming on becoming a pro right?”
” I don’t know. I mean moving to London is such a big thing. Plus, I don’t think that Arisha would agree with the idea.”
“Then just keep quiet about it. She’s been helping you a lot but in the end, it would be only better if it’s just the both of us,” she offers a smile. I don’t think she’s right. But then, it’s Amy we’re talking about.
“Yeah I think you’re right. So to London we go!” I tried to be cheerful, but my bitter smile just shows the opposite.
“Don’t worry Matt, Arisha’s a big girl, she knows how to handle things by herself right now. And trust me, I can help you with your Wembley dream.”
It’s not mine. Its Arisha’s…
“But..” before I can even say a word, she kissed me on the cheek. Yeah maybe she’s right. Maybe.
It’s almost dawn and I sneaked into my room, packing my belongings into a backpack silently. I bring the guitar along with me and went outside. So this is it, goodbye Anfield.
“Matt! Where are you going with the guitar? Get inside its almost dark outside,” I turned my back. Its mom. I go back to her and explain everything. I just can’t lie with her.
“It’s your life, so do what you think is the best. But, poor Arisha…” said mom with a bitter face. She’s shocked with what I’m planning to do but doesn’t seem to be stopping me.
“I’m sorry mom. I just can’t do anything. I hope that you’ll talk to her and tell her the truth,” I hugged mom. I need her warmth for the last time before I leave.
“Where are you going to Matt?”
She’s standing in front of me with a questioned face. Before I can even say anything, she responded.
“Backpack and the guitar. So you’re finally leaving huh? With the girl that you just found a couple weeks back?” her eyes is starting to brim with tears.
“Look Arisha I can explain.”
“Explain what? I’ve heard from other people about that whore! Smooching like some drunken lovebirds all around the suburbs. And now you’re leaving me to play music with that bitch? Oh come on.”
“Don’t call her that.”
“Oh so now I’m not even allowed to call her names? That’s not the Matt I’ve known for so long. What’ve the whore done to you huh?”
“No please don’t go there.”
“SHE’S A FUCKING WHORE MATT DONT YOU SEE?”
I’m so mad right now I can’t even think straight. I pick up the guitar and smash it in front of her. I throw the leftovers and left the house compound. I’m done.
“Hey Matt are you okay?”
“Oh sorry. Yeah I am. It’s just that I don’t brought my guitar along so…”
“Don’t worry, they’ve prepared guitars for us to use I think.”
“Yeah I hope so,” we’re in the waiting room of the audition for the new record artists. I still can’t forget what just happened yesterday. I still remember the sight when I took a glance at my house for the last time. Arisha was kneeling on the ground, crying with mom beside her. I felt so guilty, but then, it’s her fault for saying such awful things for my Amy. Yes, my Amy.
“Number 19,” called the man from the audition room.
“Let’s go darling,” she held my hand and bring me along into the studio.
“Here’s your guitar. It’s already been tuned. Hope you don’t mind kapok.”
“It’s okay,” I hold the guitar. It’s a little different from my old fender but its far better so I don’t mind much.
“All right Matt. Let’s try Norwegian Wood. On the count of three…”
“Urm Matt, the intro.”
But there’s no intro. Only the sound of guitar being strummed randomly.
“What I can’t feel my hands…” I dropped the guitar. My hands feel numb. I can’t move even a single finger. I looked at my hands. It started to become grey-ish.
“My god what happened?” Amy came close and take a look at my hands.
And suddenly all I know is that I can’t breathe properly. I don’t know why but I got a feeling that I’ve to go back home.
“I’m sorry Amy but I’ve to go,” I get out from the studio. I hear Amy screaming.
“What about our audition? Am I not important to you?” Amy yells. I can just turn to her and offer a sad look before I run away from the studio. I get to the bus station and immediately take the one that’s about to head to Anfield.
“Mom! Where’s Arisha?” I yell as soon as I enter my house. Nobody is here. I hear sound from Arisha’s room. I get into her room and I see mom, crying beside the Arisha who’s lying on the floor. She is dressed in a white gown, with a bottle of rat poison on her right hand lying on the floor.
I get closer to her. I look at mom. She just continues to cry with her hand covering her face. I look at Arisha. Her once beautiful shimmering eyes are eerily wide-opened. There are white bubbles coming out from her mouth.
“Arisha?” I touch her cheeks but I don’t feel a thing.
I look at my hand. It’s still numb. Then, a sudden clarity surged inside of me.
I got no hands.
I got no Arisha.
I got no Amy.
I got nothing.