Silence of the Banjoher

Today’s nonsense word is Banjoher.  For Example: ‘He decided that if he held the banjoher in his hand it worked so much better.’  Your task is to create a story in which you use the word ‘banjoher’ in such a way that clearly illustrates the meaning you are intending to give it.  Please TAG your post: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and Tale Weaver.

Marabella was a beautiful woman; well-read, talented, possessed of significant intellect and spectrum of interests—and she was lonely.  Her husband Conrac was a seafaring man, gone for frequent and lengthy periods of time.  He craved traveling to foreign ports, and the seemingly measureless miles of ocean between home and wherever he was headed next.  Did he love his wife?  Yes.  Did he love the sea, and where it took him, more?  Neither of them spoke entrance to such risky territory.  Was he faithful to his marriage vows?  Well, rarely do people answer truthfully…

Marabella decorated their home with the lavish, exotic gifts Conrac brought back; and she wore the jewelry he selected, whether or not it suited her.  She kept busy in his absence, filling her solitude with needlework tapestries and the poetry she wrote between books devoured.

Sometimes during long hours of a voyage, Conrac reflected on their relationship.  Years ago he’d fallen hard for her quiet mystery and mystique, as well as for her classically stunning features.  She had always loved him more silently than women who chatter on, he thought—even in their most intimate physical communion.  He was clueless how to bridge the distance he’d only now become aware had crept stealthily between them.

Marabella met his return with a warm embrace and kiss, appraising him with lingering sweeps of her dark-eyed gaze.  She asked if he was hungry, but he was too excited to show her his latest treasure.

Knowing her passion for music, he’d been delighted to find an odd instrument called a banjoher—somewhat similar in appearance to the mandolin she considered romantic.  The banjoher had five strings—and when he handed it to her, she discovered that no sound came from strumming it with her slender fingers.  She looked at him curiously.

“Kind of like you,” he said shyly—“exquisitely formed but the music is mute, enigmatic.  It must be imagined.”

She nodded, smiling graciously, and thanked him in her mellifluous soft voice.

Later, after he’d fallen asleep, she went out to the living room to look at the banjoher again.  Holding it delicately, she turned it over, caressing the light satiny wood.  She saw a small square of loose paper inside the heart-shaped opening.  Thinking it was just the manufacturer’s information, she shook it out.

In tiny print it told the myth behind the unusual stringed instrument.  Perhaps someone made such tales up, just like Chinese cookie fortunes, she suspected.  Nonetheless, it was intriguing to read that ‘a certain man’ crafted the banjoher for the woman he loved, who didn’t speak—in hopes it would unlock her words in song.  Sadly, it failed to produce the magic or miracle—and the man died, never hearing his darling’s voice.  ‘Still, the charm remains in each banjoher made, with potential to heal mysterious mute curse’, the thin paper promised.

Marabella sat with the banjoher held against her breast until dawn began to paint silk ribbons across the new day’s horizon.  Then, as though in a trance, she moved dreamily to her husband’s side of the bed.  She resisted the impulse to stroke the perfect planes of his brow, cheekbones and jawline.  Instead, she memorized the handsome youthfulness he’d retained for nearly thirty years…and how he lay so still, his breaths gentle whispers.

As sunlight broke through the mauve bedroom curtains, the room filled with coppery tang of blood that bathed everything—spattering splinters of shattered bone and banjoher. 

~ Fini ~

©Jael Sook, 2017 All rights reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Silence of the Banjoher

  1. Well Jael that came as a surprise. I had the sense that as I read there was a soft expectation of satisfaction in the ending but you shook that notion right from me. Again I thought it was one of the best pieces of writing I have read of yours. I can see quite plainly how you enjoyed this prompt. Thanks so much for contributing to the tale weaver….you explored the character so well.


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