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December 6, 2022

here comes the sun

Christie Curry

          Blades of grass stick to my patent leather heels as I step across the damp lawn, the musty scent of wet dirt swirling around me, imbedding itself in my mind as a core memory. A hint of sunlight peeks through the overcast sky.

          Without warning, strums of a guitar play in my head.

          Four simple chords.

          The opening to "Here Comes the Sun."

          I close my eyes and see his face. Dear old dad. His wild eyebrows in desperate need of a trim. His mustache—once blacker than the bottom of a well—now stark white.

          And his scowl.

          He didn’t smile much, especially not when I was around. I only managed to underwhelm him.

          Whether it was with a 98% on an exam—why not 100%?

          An award at my senior ceremony—only one, huh? You were nominated for two.

          Or my college acceptance letter—a state school was the best you could do?

          No matter how much I tried to win his approval, the scowl barely flinched.

          Until one day, when I learned to play his favorite song: "Here Comes the Sun," written by his favorite Beatle, George Harrison.

          He loomed in the doorway of my bedroom, arms folded ominously across his chest, waiting for me to disappoint him.

          I strummed the first four chords, and in my peripheral vision, I saw it—the grisly scowl rose into a whisp of a grin.

          I had done it!

          My hands quivered as I struck the next chord.

          The wrong chord.

          An A7 instead of an E7.

          I froze, my shaking fingers clenching the sharp strings, the piercing metal indenting my skin. Although my lungs were full, somehow, I was still suffocating.

          Waiting.

          In mere moments, the grim lines would return, creasing his face. And then he’d voice his disappointment. 

          What would he say this time?

          I clamped down on my lip, waiting for the harsh words.

          But then, instead of an insult or a back-handed compliment, he said, “Keep trying, you’ll get it.”

          I jerked my head to face him. “W-what?”

          He tilted his head as the corner of his mouth crept up into a half-smile. “Keep at it. The first part sounded just like George was playing.” Then he tapped my doorframe and shuffled down the hall.

          I leapt up and shut my door, then played the chord again. And again. And again.

          I made my way through the entire song without error.

          My door flew open. And there was my father—his eyes sparkling, a dazzling smile stretching up to his forehead.

          He wasn’t just clapping—he was applauding with vigor.

          An actual standing ovation.

          Tears puddled in my eyes, and then he said, “Atta girl! I knew you could do it.”

 

          I swipe at my eyes, flooding now like they did that day.

          My mother nudges me with her elbow, her lip quivering. “It’s your turn.”

          I stoop down to collect a handful of damp soil and give it a firm squeeze. 

          When I unclench my fist, the moist, gritty dirt falls from my hand, floating down until it pitters against the polished oak casket.

          As if on cue, the clouds break, and hot rays of sunshine warm my face, my back.

          The soft melody plays in my head once more.

          Hey, Dad.

Christie Curry spends her days as a data analyst and her nights escaping into a world of fiction, dreaming up characters to bring to life. A stress baker, she spent the majority of quarantine mastering the chocolate chip cookie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and a tiny dictator masquerading as a tuxedo cat.