I wrote this after listening to a folk pop playlist on Spotify that I’ve been obsessing over for the past few months. One of the songs on the playlist is sung in Simlish, the fictional language of The Sims, which is just straight up weird. What makes it even weirder is that it’s actually pretty good.
It got me thinking about the power of music and how, regardless of language, it can draw you into its own world. It made me wonder if there was simply something about our voices that make them a universal connection between us — similar to a smile, or seeing someone cry; it’s all the same no matter what language we speak or where we’re from.
Deep for a song sung in a fake language, right? Hopefully this story can hold its own against these thoughts. Enjoy!
There are at least a hundred unfamiliar faces packed into this tiny venue, which is exactly what I hoped for when I was walking down the tiny, cobblestone road and heard the band tuning their instruments and the singer getting her voice ready for her performance. I’m the type of person who, when they get lost, likes to get lost in the midst of everything going on around them. I’d rather be invisible in a crowded bar than forgotten in the woods on the outskirts of town — or in my parents’ basement that I swore I’d one day escape.
I’m ready to find out who I really am. I chose this no name town because no one who lives here would know who I am, where I’m from, or how to speak to me. If anyone wants to try, I won’t shut them out. I’ll try, too. For now, though, I’m here to listen to the girl on stage get her voice ready for a show I hope takes everyone’s eyes off me. I want to get lost in the sounds of another language takeover all our thoughts, bodies, and the ringing in our ears that will make the walk home all the more enjoyable.
Her voice does more to me than I ever could have expected. She hits the same notes any other singer back home would hit, and she holds them for as long as anyone else as well. I can’t understand a single thing she’s singing. She could be making up a song right on the spot about the guy (me) standing in the middle of the floor awkwardly bobbing his head to the music while everyone else around him jumps to the beat of the drums and the rise and fall of her arm and upper body while she hangs precariously over the edge of the stage, and I’d have no idea. It’s okay though; her voice makes it all okay.
The language takes a little effort to get used to. I catch myself trying to find certain patterns. For a second, I believe if I listen close enough, I’ll understand everything she’s saying, despite this being my first night out. I’ve been here for a few days, but jet lag is no joke. I’m just starting to feel human again. I could go up to her after the show, despite her not knowing a single word in English, and convince her to let me buy her a beer. Alcohol, like the eyes, can help tell us all we need to know about a person.
Her eyes meet mine during a brief pause while everyone around me claps to the beat of a new song. It’s enough for me to think this was the right move. I can feel the pulse of the clapping hands guide my heart to the stage. Tunnel vision sets in. I could be in love. The rise and fall of her voice begs me to go to the front of the stage, but I stay back. I’m not ready to make my presence known. She senses it and looks away. My embarrassment quickly fades and I feel free again.
I look down and I’m dancing along with everyone else. Their heads come and go in the overhead lights: red, blue, yellow faces smiling and singing along. She looks over again, but I’m so caught up I separate her from the music. I look around and everyone is dancing up and down in slow motion. The bartenders are bouncing up and down while they pour drinks for the crowd five, six people deep, all only half paying attention. We’re all collectively relying on the singer to guide us through the rest of the night.
As the music slows down, and the ringing in my ears begins to grow, I release myself from her voice’s hold and walk outside, not quite ready to leave. I feel the need to get my bearings. Reality comes way too quickly. I try to get the sound of the singer back in my body, but the effort is as fruitless as trying to get a good dream back after waking up too soon. In the morning, I’ll have to find work. The goal is to make it to next week and meet someone who can help me get by around here. Everyone appears to be nice. “I was at the show on Friday,” I’ll tell them. “I’m new and I need a job.” Someone has to know English.
And then it hit me: I can ask the bartenders. Before the show started I bought a drink. I instinctually asked in English. I could clean tables, serve food, work the kitchen. Back home, I’m a host at Buffalo Wild Wings. I can deal with crowds. The more I’m around these people, the less I’ll feel the need to be invisible. Being invisible is something I brought from home that serves no purpose here. I have the opportunity to start fresh. I have as much control as the singer had over all of us to turn myself into the person I’ve always envisioned myself being.
If you’re interested in submitting your own flash fiction story, see my submission guidelines for more details. I’m very lenient and willing to accept just about anything that fits in with the rest of the work on my blog.
Books of the Month
I am going to leave the books I have listed up on the page. I created the Books of the Month page in the middle of the month and I want to give these great books a fair amount of time in the spotlight.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, please do. I won’t tell you to buy them, but I believe they’re all worth looking into. Each book listed is unique in their own ways: through the structure, language, and themes explored. All of these can be used as prompts for your writing, the goal being to get you out of your comfort zone.