In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘likha’ or ‘to create womething through intelligence and skill’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!
Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.
The last sample of music from Irene was perfect, it had a strange kind of rhythm that fit the prompt for ‘peace’ beautifully and dropped into the playlist without any tweaking.
“Dad? Dad, come listen to this!” he called, setting the record to play.
His father shuffled into the room, gripping the doorframe heavily until Jo manoeuvred the chair into a suitable sitting position. The groan as he sat gave Jo momentary pause, his father was not particularly mobile but would rather have a tooth pulled than show any outward sign of discomfort.
“Are you ok?” he asked but was waved away with a scowl.
“Just play it, you’ve gone on about this whole message thing enough as it is,” his father replied.
Jo pressed play, eager to hear the collection of music play as a single entity for the first time. His palms itched with a fine sheen of sweat and he rubbed them against his jeans, eyes focused on his father’s reaction, as the piece began. He’d planned every section carefully to represent an emotive learning experience, something that would emphasise a flavour of earth; its history, its people and the desire to pave the future.
It was of moderate length and the first passage was linked to the ideas of creation and dawning, but every section was linked by the use of the key sounds from the signal woven into the underscore. Jo knew the moment Irene suggested the idea that it was perfect and he could hardly wait to send her the complied track. Her lawyer was still looking over the basic paperwork they’d put together, but it was Jo’s hope that they would finish up in the next few weeks in time to meet the first submission deadline.
“What do you-” he began, but was cut off by a sharp glare and a raised finger; a sign that he should be quiet or be in trouble that his dad had used since childhood.
Silenced, Jo began to pace as he listened to the next movement. Irene had responded to prompts for history and evolution by weaving together technical styles, composition and instruments from varying cultures and time periods until a much more modern sound developed. His breath caught as he realised the elements of conflict and peace had merged seamlessly and his heart sped with the tempo then dropped as the original Void Sounds sample filled the air and spilled into the idea of future and possibility.
As it finished Jo realised his face was wet and wiped his cheeks with the corner of his shirt, blaming the soreness of his eyes on the late nights of editing and merging different samples.
“Well, that was different,” Jo’s father said, his chin turned from Jo. “I’m sure it will do very well indeed.”
He stood, wobbling slightly, but pushed at Jo when he tried to offer a helping arm.
“No, no,” he said, and Jo noticed how gruff his father’s voice had turned. “I can get about just fine.”
“Dad?” Jo frowned, he wasn’t sure of the kind of reaction that he’d expected; although he’d have guessed either effusive congratulations or outright disparagement. His dad had become blunt in his old age and discomfort. “Is something wrong?”
His father turned slightly and for the first time since his mother’s funeral Jo saw tears on his face.
“Don’t embarrass an old man!” came the snapped response. “I’m going to go watch the news, get a view on your competition maybe. I’ll let you know if there’s anyone better yet.”
A half smile crept across Jo’s face as he watched his dad shuffle away. It wasn’t the response he’d expected, but maybe it was better.