Chloe took a deep breath. This can’t be happening, she thought, tears running down her cheeks. She was seated on the hospital bed, with doctors all beside her, examining her reports and x-rays. Her voice, her beautiful voice was gone forever. She shuddered brokenly remembering the times, the lovely moments she had with her father. Chloe’s Dad was the famous singer/songwriter Josh Markosis. Chloe was raised by her Mom, Marissa Depp. Her parents had gotten into a fight shortly after Chloe’s birth and Josh had left them to pursue his Hollywood career. Chloe always longed to meet her father, but Josh never replied to their messages or calls. When Chloe was 14, Marissa lost the battle of cancer and passed away. It was then that Josh saw sense and went to his daughter. For four amazing, yet so short years they shared a strong bond.
Chloe wiped her face with the back of her hand. Life had been unkind to her, she thought. It was heartbreaking that her Dad had to go so soon. Just 6 months ago he died in a car crash. The loss still pained her and she knew it always will. She took after Josh in so many ways; looks weren’t just all. She had her father’s courage, and his cheerful manner. She was hardworking, yet hated chores and just like him, she loved chess. Furthermore, she was as musical as her Dad was. They both shared the love of music and a beautiful singing voice. Her head buried in her arms, Chloe broke down in tears again. Her fateful cold took away her strength, the only thing she was best at. Music was her life, she sobbed. Now the doctors told her she can never sing again.
After her father’s death Chloe had moved in with her Grandparents, Drew and Rosemary Depp, in their cozy little house beside the lake. She found solace in music, writing songs and singing. Until that fateful night, she thought painstakingly, that robbed her of her voice. She was in the backyard, on her favorite swing when it began raining. It had been 5 months since her father’s death and she was still in mourning. She sat there in the cold, harsh rain for hours without moving a muscle. Her Grandparents found her and forced her to sit by the fire. A few minutes later, Chloe walked up to her room, closed the door and lay in her bed, her face wet with tears. She slept the night in her cold and wet clothing. This was how she caught the unfortunate cold, which according to her had destroyed her life.
Later that night after coming home from the hospital, Chloe sat on the porch looking at the frozen lake and dark, snow covered trees. She felt miserable. Miserable… Miserable… Miserable. The word held no meaning yet she truly and heartbreakingly felt it. Her breath formed puffy white clouds of steam, big enough for her to notice. The front door opened and Rosemary walked over to her.
“Chloe,” she called out sweetly, “Honey, wear your muffler, you’ll catch cold again.”
Chloe slowly shook her head, her face betraying no emotion. Rosemary put the muffler down and sat beside her. They both looked out at the big, black sky. It had stopped snowing but the wind was pricking her face like tiny yet sharp needles.
“This is not the answer, Chloe,” she said after a while, her voice soft.
Chloe turned her head, and Rosemary with a clench of guts, saw that her grey eyes swam with tears. She felt her heart tearing up. Her granddaughter had lost so much. She had gone from cheerful to feeling depressed all day. She had to make Chloe smile again; she thought gently stroking her granddaughter’s face.
“I don’t care, Grandma…” wept Chloe, “I’ve completely lost Dad now… My life is over.”
Rosemary, choking on her own tears, clutched Chloe to her bosom.
“No, dear, don’t say that,” she shushed her distraught granddaughter, “It’s been a month, Chloe, please do start afresh…”
“Grandma, music was our bond… It brings me closer to Dad,” sobbed Chloe, “Now I can never sing again… I’ve lost the connection; I’ll never be close to Dad again…”
Rosemary stroked Chloe’s hair, letting her weep her eyes out. Tomorrow morning she’ll pay a visit to her doctor and straighten things out, she thought with a sigh still cradling Chloe in her arms. Her poor granddaughter had cried herself to sleep. Rosemary gently got Chloe on her feet and guided her to her room. She tucked her granddaughter in and placed a kiss on her forehead. Turning off the lights she went into the living room to talk to her husband about Chloe’s problem.
Chloe woke up the next day in a mess. Her eyes were puffy and her jet black hair charged with electricity. It had been a month since the doctor gave her the frightful news. She was sad ever since, and no one could blame her. Music was in her blood, how can she part with it? she thought brokenly looking at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her eyes looked bruised and hurt. Josh had a very good voice and this talent was passed onto her. She glanced around her messy room; her guitar was upside down on the floor. She picked it up and sat on her bed. This was her most prized possession; it belonged to Josh. She ran her fingers on the guitar smoothly, remembering the time when her Dad pushed her into trying out for the school talent show. She was shy to go up on stage, but Josh helped her get over her fear. She still remembered the moment when she came home with the winning trophy and she dearly missed the big smile her Dad flashed her. To the world he was a dazzling celebrity but to her, he was the perfect father. Chloe’s shaking fingers found the strings. Gathering courage she strummed them with a heavy heart, still thinking about her father.
Rosemary stood in the corridor, silently watching her granddaughter play her guitar. She and her husband had paid the doctor a visit early in the morning and the news they received was not different. Chloe’s tonsils were heavily infected, and moreover she suffered a severe Laryngitis attack which damaged her vocal cords. Her speaking voice was fine but she will never be able to sing like before.
“I am sorry, Mrs. Depp,” the doctor had said with a shake of his head, “But there is no cure. Be rational, your granddaughter can not sing without gasping for air or cracking her voice.”
Chloe started playing the song she wrote with her father. After a while, she opened her mouth and started to sing. Her voice seemed normal at first, and then it got worse. After hearing her voice crack, Chloe screamed and threw her guitar on the floor. She fell back on her bed, burying her face in the pillows. Her sobs were loud enough to send Drew, her Grandpa, working in the garage, to run up the stairs. Rosemary was holding Chloe and telling her to stop screaming. Drew sat down beside his now quiet granddaughter and sent his wife to get Chloe a glass of milk and some cookies. Rosemary hurriedly left. Drew took hold of Chloe’s arm and turned her face toward him. Tears caught on to her lashes, looked like tiny diamonds in the night sky.
“Don’t do this to yourself…” Drew said achingly, “This is not the end of your life, Chloe. Sure, bad things happen but you can make the best out of it.”
Chloe hiccupped. Drew looked at his granddaughter, her eyes spoke volumes. He could almost feel the pain she was feeling. As he held her hand, his gaze caught onto something on her nightstand. It was Chloe’s journal. Picking it up, he flipped through the pages.
“Chloe, darlin’, do you see what I’m holding up here in my hand?” Drew, after a while, said calmly.
Chloe rubbed her eyes and saw her journal. It was thick, covered with pink fluffy fur all over. She wrote her own songs in this journal. As she sat up, Rosemary came into the room carrying a tray with a tall glass of milk and a few home baked chocolate chip cookies. She placed it on the table before sitting on the bed.
“Yes, Chloe, your journal,” said Drew in a bold voice, “I see your poetry, your lyrics in here. Do you really think you have lost music?”
Chloe rested her head against her pillows and slowly nodded yes.
“No, darlin’, music is in your heart,” Drew gently repeated again, his finger pointing to Chloe’s heart.
“And as for your Mom and Dad, they’re also in there,” whispered Rosemary stroking Chloe’s hair, “They can never leave you, not until you choose to let them go.”
Chloe looked at her Grandparents with tears in her eyes, her pain now seemed less, almost gone. Her mind cleared up and her heart felt light as if someone took off burden from her. She could breathe again. The feeling overwhelmed her.
“I see it all now…” she whispered blinking back tears.
“Music will never leave you, darlin’. You are a gifted songwriter.” Drew spoke softly, “Laryngitis has taken your singing voice but it hasn’t affected your ability to write music. You’ll do just fine, Chloe.”
“You will start a career as a songwriter; I’m sure many of your father’s colleagues will be happy to help you out,” Rosemary handed Chloe a cookie.
Chloe nibbled on the cookie, her mind working up. It was true that nobody can take away her writing skills. Her parents had always been proud of her songs. If she can’t sing her songs, she’ll find someone who can. She will write to her heart’s content, she thought with a smile. She picked up the glass of milk, and dipped in a cookie. She felt invisible hands pull her close- tight, together and her heart beat again. Rosemary and Drew breathed a sigh of relief. God knows how worried they were. They kissed their granddaughter and exited the room. Rosemary saw Chloe pick up her guitar, grab a pencil and her journal before settling comfortably on her bed. Once again, the house echoed with beautiful and soft music. Rosemary smiled as she and her husband sat down for a cup of fresh, hot coffee brewed with just a dash of salt.