Narrative: The Guitar Player


"To this day people from the hospital can still hear his music ringing in their heads. Although Henry was blind, he still saw the world through his music…"




On a dark, misty night, on his way back from the bar, Henry Swift had nothing on his mind except for the next morning’s staff meeting, that he just had to go to. Henry was an old man. He was a business man nonetheless, but had worked hard for the past forty years of his life. He believed that he had deserved everything that had been handed to him, and that you had to work your way to happiness.

Henry was the proud owner of a string of supermarkets in his hometown, and the surrounding areas. That’s all he had ever known really. He had inherited the family business when he was twenty two, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. After searching for countless jobs, he gave into the hounding from his father, and became the owner of the string of supermarkets that his family had owned.

Henry’s family died later that same year, so he felt obligated to keep the business running. Everything was going great, and Henry had found himself a woman. They were to be wed later that following year.

When the wedding finally came, Henry’s wife decided to stand him up. With the death of his family and the fact that his wife had just left him put him into a deep depression. He became irritable and grumpy, never answered to anyone but himself. That all changed one day as he was coming home from work. Henry’s car swerved off the road on some ice, flipping the vehicle several times. The paramedics arrived within the hour.

Henry awoke to the sound of people, or did he? He couldn’t see anyone, but he could feel someone walk by. Whoever it was stopped in their tracks, and that’s when the doctor walked in. He explained everything to Henry about the accident, eventually telling him the news that he was now blind.

The first couple of days were the hardest because they consisted of learning new things, even the simplest, like getting around. Everything just seemed to be happening to him, and Henry wasn’t too happy. He eventually had to sell the supermarkets and the family business to a new company moving into the area. He couldn’t maintain the work anyway.

After getting used to not having a job, Henry started to teach himself guitar, in the lonely hours that he was home. He actually became pretty good. Every note that he played he could feel across his hands. He would imagine the notes lined neatly upon the staff, picturing the melodies in his head. It was easier for him that way.

Pretty soon Henry was playing in clubs and bars late at night for something to do. He never asked for any money. He played to get better, and playing always boosted his spirits. He was starting to get better, and more and more people wanted him play at their clubs. Life was starting to look more on the bright side for him for once, and things weren’t looking so gloomy in the long run after all.

A couple weeks later, Henry had a follow-up appointment with his family doctor. He had one every year to check his eyes from the accident, to see if he would ever regain any vision in them at all. Then came the news.

Henry had developed cancer in his right eye from the developing scar tissue over the past couple years. It wasn’t thought to be that serious until Henry started going downhill with his health. Pretty soon he couldn’t even keep things down. So, to keep his mind off of things Henry would sit in his hospital bed and play his guitar for all of the patients to hear. It was at the same time every night, and it seemed like they all loved it. Most of the patients would wait all day until seven o’clock rolled around just to hear him play. Until one day, when Henry became too weak to play. He couldn’t even pick up the guitar, so he laid there humming words and notes to himself until the humming started to get softer, almost a whisper. In almost no pain, Henry died later the next day.

To this day people from the hospital can still hear his music ringing in their heads. Although Henry was blind, he still saw the world through his music. From the reactions that he got and the friends he made, he could only imagine the way the music could make people feel. He could picture the people’s reactions in his mind, and they were just as great as if he could see them. Henry found his true peace once and for all through music. At one time he was an irritable and grumpy man, who took everything for granted, but laying on his deathbed he realized only the better things in life. Losing his love and his family were devastating sure, but the lesson learned in the long run was worth the pain. Henry was a fighter. He learned how to love and he learned how to forgive, but he never forgot. As vivid as things were before the accident, Henry could still imagine everything as it was. He just had a whole new appreciation for things, and sometimes it just takes a little karma to recognize that.

by LACEY RIALE, English 101-003


One Comment Add yours

  1. Gracey2518 says:

    hey I really liked your story. It was awesome how you made the guy in the story find another way to express himself after he lost his vision. Way to kick ass.

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