Malcolm was a street singer. Everyday, after school, he would run into the inner city, away from the activities of his parents, and sing. Using his voice, he accomplished what many other humans couldn't accomplish with any means: he allowed his soul to take on a tangible form. There was a wide variety of songs that he particularly liked, sometimes taking popular songs off the radio even. He had out a small basket, to collect change and sometimes even dollar bills. But it wasn't really about the money for him. To him, singing was about giving someone an opportunity to see something they didn't see before, allowing some the right to relive the emotions of past experiences. It wasn't about being the greatest or being the best. It was about using the singing to direct the passions of another man. His attitude about it was just as marvelous as his singing. It was not uncommon for an afternoon to come by where he had a small crowd, sometimes old men snapping their fingers along and joining in as the chorus. And Malcolm would sing just the same, sometimes louder, even if it caused his voice to hurt -- and he would sing for them, just to appease their restless, working class souls. The money he made from it was never spent on anything extraordinary. Rather, it just went to the normal things that a young child would purchase: candy, toys, and sometimes clothing.
By the age of 16, he started to sing for clubs, along with jazz and R&B bands. Soon enough, at the tender age of 17, he had his own humble abode in a cheap apartment. But it was enough. Any place where he was allowed to stretch the limits of sound with his voice was enough. It seemed as though years flew by from then on. Record deals came and went. Love, life, adventure, all came to him. Traveling from city to city in this crazy nation of the United States, he found a sort of peace. The only thing that paralleled his appetite for singing, was his insatiable desire for sex. By this it must be understood that he was not manipulative. He did not believe that anything was justifiable in that it concluded in sex. To him, sex, like singing, was an expression from the inner soul. He pressed his warm flesh against that another's, not for the sole sake of an orgasm, but for the chance to touch someone on the inside, in a very spiritual sense. Needless to say, conventional religion served him little. What good was a church when it told him that the most spiritual thing was a form of shame? He spent those Sundays as he spent any day, in the arms of a lover, showered in intimacy and kindness. The newspapers discovered his taboo of "promiscuity" and was rebuked forever from the churches. He reportedly told one newspaper, "I have no need for the church. Its opinion of what I do holds no weight over my head." The controversy helped record sales, but after a year or so, it died down. His lifestyle went on, uninterrupted. He met and loved many women, showing them each what he felt on the inside.
Two decades past of life like this, until he met one woman who he would fall madly in love with. Her name was Tracy, and she lit a passion in him that he could not deny. He remember, until the end of his days, the first day he saw her. In the light of the moment, he thought that she was somewhat unattractive and even bourgeoisie looking. Due to his friend's coaxing -- the typical "Hey, come on, you gotta meet this girl I know" -- Malcolm ended up talking to her. The conversation unraveled, and he grew attracted to her. So she grew attracted to him as well. Upon first meeting him, she thought of him as a typical superstar -- something you can see and watch, but not something you can touch. And once she discovered the very human side of this idol, she loved him. The first night they met was the first time they would have sex with each other. And it was the sort of passionate sex that comes with engaging with someone who is almost a total stranger. One year passed of life like this. They were engaged. And then they were married. In her heart, Tracy loved Malcolm, as much as Malcolm loved her. She saw him as some phenomenal figure, some great human being, to stand out among the rest.
Another year, of great times, wonderful traveling, and passionate sex passed. This one was under the sanction of a marriage, one which they had arranged under a druidic sect. The churches referred to them as a satanic couple, and would have nothing to do with them. Only under an Eastern religion were they permitted to be wed, by a Taoist minister who was more than willing to wed the couple. However, Malcolm started to feel some pain in his throat. Whenever he sang, he felt miserable. He decided to go to a doctor. The physician recommended to him that he stopped singing, since it was now destroying his voice, and that all the times he stretched beyond what he thought he couldn't have, he shouldn't have. Malcolm nodded politely, and tears welled up on the inside, and walked away, both full of feelings that the doctor was either lying, or that it was all over, or that he can fix it, or some such instant response. He went home. The rest of the day was spent in quiet solitude, while Tracy tried to get him to talk -- almost as effective as holding a carrot over a rabbit hole. Late that night, as the clock passed 1:30 A.M., and all were asleep, Malcolm was still awake, and pondering. He slowly got out of bed, so as not to disturb the tender sleep of his wife -- who he had learned early on would awake to a kiss on the face. He walked to his bathroom, took a long gaze at the depression in his face, and then tried to sing, as long as he could, as high as he could, as loud as he could, and before he could reach the tenth second of this last recovery of pride, the pain became unbearable and he started to cough. He noticed that he was coughing up blood. This would be the last time he would ever sing.
He went to the doctor again, for a last visit, and asked what he could do. The doctor said that there was no way to recover his voice, but that he would have to keep the volume he used to an absolute minimum. Malcolm and his wife disappeared from the entertainment industry, leaving behind a big gap, and as aspiring artists would try to reclaim what he left behind, it would always seem that something was missing. Of course, by now, times were changing. Jazz was no longer a new fad. Rock 'n' Roll was started to gain popularity. Just as it gained popularity, like Jazz, it also was called the devil's music by the churches, and its listeners practiced an equally liberal sexual lifestyle. Malcolm moved from the big city to a mansion on the coast. Every morning he would awake to the calls of seagulls and the crashing of waves. He became accustomed to using his voice softly in everything he did.
The first month of this lifestyle was good, for what he thought of the lifestyle. But for Tracy, something that was once there no longer existed. She had fallen in love with a singer named Malcolm. He was no longer that singer, that man that people looked to as a great being, above and better than the rest. He was just Malcolm, retired and weak. She knew her vows, though, and she tried to accompany him and humor him. But slowly, the discontentment grew in her. Like a small fire, destroying more and more. The time came where she would go out on the town, spending her husband's money, and not returning till 2:00 A.M. in the morning. Inside, she felt a growing hate of her husband. She was bound by her commitment to him. It felt as though she were a prisoner in this mansion. That thing which kept her tied down, Malcolm, was the object of her hatred. It was a seething, dark, deep hate that continued to grow, and it manifested itself in how she made him suffer, and her smile for his every frown, her laugh for his every tear. But she would do it in subtle ways, so that she didn't have to directly confront the suffering she caused, but still to reap all the vengeance that she desired.
One night she came home, and found Malcolm waiting for her. "Do you still love me?" he asked.
She closed the door. "Yes," she said, holding her shopping back, "I do. Why would you even ask me that?"
"You've been acting funny," he said, "I can feel it. You don't feel the same."
"You're acting ridiculous," she said, patronizing him. She couldn't even face him as she said this. Her back was turned to him as she was emptying the goods she had purchased from her bag.
"If you don't love me, tell me," he said, "Because when you come home late like this, or when you don't come home at all for days, it worries me. It hurts me. I suffer because of it."
A secret smile shone forth, and then away.
"I do love you," she said, "And never forget it."
A week would pass. He was alone, home, staring in to the mirror, softly humming. It was a sort of therapy for him, to get over what he had lost. And as he looked into that mirror, seeing himself as an older person, he remembered who he was. He remember those street corners he inhabited as a child, those women whom he loved over the years, and the one he now loves, or at least thinks he loves. He thought of Tracy, and he thought of her body, the times they touched, and the love they shared. Inspiration filled him, and he had to find her to tell her that he still loved her. But she was gone. So he called her favorite restaurant. "Is Tracy there?" Malcolm asked, only to hear that she was on her way out. He jumped into his car and drove as fast as he could to get there.
He went inside, but she wasn't there. The waiter said she just left. So he exited, still determined to find her and tell her that he loved her. He found a pay phone in the parking lot and called her cell phone.
"Tracy, where are you?" he asked.
"I just left the restaurant," she said, "Someone told me you were coming for me, but I couldn't wait. I had to get to the mall. Right now I'm driving on the high way and it's really loud."
"Tracy," he said, "I love you!"
"What?" she said, "I can't hear you."
"I love you!" he said, screaming, "I love you, Tracy! I love you! I love you! I love you!" He kept screaming, blood pouring out of his mouth and down his chin, until his voice was crippled to that of a wheeze. "Tracy, I love you," he said, struggling with the writhing pain.
She dropped her cell phone, and he turned around.
He saw her.