Posted by: miilee | January 26, 2011

The Trapped Melody

I wish I could play the piano, she thought to herself as she looked out of the window at the sheets of rain as they lovingly cascaded onto her garden. She always loved the changing seasons and the monsoons had always been her favorite. There was a gay abandon in the way the water fell upon the world; like someone falling into the trustworthy arms of a lover. Yet there was a bitter sweet agony in those heavenly tears.

I wish I could sing about it, she thought, putting her charcoal stick down on her desk. Her sketch was just about done. She sighed wistfully as she swept her glance across her cozy and neat room. She had everything she needed. Everything placed neatly in its rightful place. Well, despite the short comings, she told herself her life was good and smiled. The smile had the effect of the ray of the purest sunlight upon her face. Seldom does one chance to see such a beautiful work of nature’s art; such was her beauty. A youthful face with soft features, as if crafter with petals of the freshest lilies; Pink lips with a permanent smile tugging at the corners, soft blue eyes, gleaming like sapphires, a head of rich black hair cascading to her shoulders in gentle, laughing waves. Everything about her was pleasant, like a very well written lilting spring melody. She was thirty years old.

Resolutely, she got up and began getting ready. There was work to be completed; a life to be lived. She dressed up quickly and efficiently, with the air of someone who didn’t make it a habit to rely on others for help. When she was done, she looked at herself in the mirror. What she saw pleased her. She dressed to impress; to yank the rug from under the feet of the people she met and who spoke to her so that when they faced her, she could see admiration in their eyes. And not pity, said a little voice in her head. She quickly brushed the thought aside, picked up her handbag and made for the door. On her way out, she saw Mariette, the housekeeper hustling to her room with a pile of freshly laundered clothes. She stopped and looked at Desiree with a puzzled expression and asked, “Where are you off to Little Miss?”

Desiree smiled and turned to show her the bad on her right arm. The older woman smiled a benign smile, “Oh yes! I forgot it was today! Have fun Little Miss. I hope you find some wonderful young artist to take under your wing.”

When she stepped out, she let the drizzle touch her face for a few seconds before opening her umbrella. She had a spring in her step suited for a bright sunny day and the beauty of it was felt by the others on the street who seized to complain about the drizzle for the few moments that they watched her go. For those few moments, the sunny day extended from her jaunty steps right into their hearts and they smiled at her. She smiled serenely, back at the faces that greeted her as well as to herself as if all of the world was one big reason to smile.

By the time she reached the hall where they’d organized the exhibition and sale of paintings of amateur artists, the drizzle had stopped and a little bit of sunshine snuck out of the fluffy grey clouds. She knew most of the people here; they all belonged to the world of people who appreciate art irrespective of the status attached to the artist’s name and work. She smiled at the familiar faces, shook hands with people who came forward in admiration and allowed herself to be introduced to the young artists who’d put their work on display for the day. One or two friends she knew intimately enough even came and hugged her for making it to the show.

When Alice spotted her, she dashed across the hall and squeezed her in a joyous hug, jumping into speech, “I’m so glad you came, Desiree! One of the young artists was furrowing his brow a while ago about how an exhibition in the rains could be a problem. I said to him, ‘Patience Angelo! A sunny day is on its way!’ and sure enough, here you are!”

Desiree returned her warm hug with peck on her cheek. “Angelo!” Alice called to the young man across the width of the room. “Here is the sunny day I was talking to you about!”

He smilingly came over, openly appreciating the woman who seemed to know everyone in the room since her arrival a few moments ago. Desiree smiled back at the brown eyes; she knew she wanted to see what his work was like the moment she glanced at his shapely fingers which still had the hint of hurriedly washed off paint. Alice made the introductions and after the small talk, Angelo offered to show Desiree around. “Oh she wouldn’t need that, dear.” Alice told him, chuckling. “She’ll first spend a good hour without looking at the paintings but meeting the people here and then slowly proceed to the works when no one’s seeing her.”

“Oh!” Said Angelo, “Well, then. I’m glad we met Miss Lance. I’ll be around here if you wish to speak later.” And he politely turned and walked away, before noticing the splintered glass like expression that had entered Desiree’s eyes. Alice looked after his retreating figure and put a seemingly casual arm around Desiree. “He doesn’t know it yet sweetheart.” She whispered. At that, Desiree gave herself a mental shake, smiled at her and moved to meet the others. Slowly, she made her way through the hall, listening to people, waving to someone who greeted her from across the room; a bright spot of light distinctly visible in the general hubbub.

Alice looked at her friend with a sad smile. Here was a woman who was making the best of life without a single complaint. She didn’t notice Angelo standing by her side until he said in his warm, appreciative voice, “Quite a celebrity she is, that Miss Lance”


“She’s so pleasant. Yet she doesn’t seem to be talking much.”

Alice glanced at him; his eyes were fixed on Desiree’s slight form. “She talks through her paintings Angelo.” She said, looking back at her best friend across the room. “Maybe her skill with the art is God’s way of compensating for her voice…”



  1. I love your stories so much. Perhaps, you cannot guess, all through the story, that there has to be something amiss in Desiree, since she comes across as this perfect picture of beauty and grace. The ending is so beautiful.

    • Glad you liked it Meher…. That’s what I wanted to show… something so seemingly perfect could have a flaw that could undermine anyone had they not had the strength to take it the way Desiree had…

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Meher Manda, Maithili Desai. Maithili Desai said: The Trapped Melody: […]

  3. I feel a flaw is God’s way of telling us that “Life is not perfect, but it can be beautiful if we will it”… Beautiful story Maithilee.. Loved it 🙂

    • I think is a Flaw is nature’s way of telling us that there is much more to perfection than filling in the gaps of ’emptiness’ in a life… it is more about rising above them rather than trying to level them..

      I’m glad you dropped by to read and am glad you liked it.. 🙂

  4. This was sad .. frankly i was planning for a sinister plot to turn up .. this was nice .. touching .,.. and inspiring too 🙂

  5. ‘The best thing about creativity is that the creator is within you..’ 🙂
    Creativity is what an artist has and it does suffice, i feel so after reading this post.
    I loved the character, totally graceful.
    Keep writing 🙂

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