Years ago my fiancé ran across something special that has been stuck in my mind ever since. It was a music box that when manually cranked would play Frank Mills’ Music Box Dancer.
The notes chime steadily until the crank reaches its last three seconds. They begin to vanish subtly and then the gaps prolong until the last note finally comes to a full stop. It hangs in the air, suggesting that the music box beholds something that will always be there, waiting for someone to come along and crank it again.
We gave the music box to my grandfather knowing this was a song he maintained a deep affection for. It is a song engulfed with joy, happiness and simplicity and this is what I saw reflected in my grandfather’s eyes the first time he cranked the music box to listen to its melody.
With his initials —C. L. A.— engraved on the lid, it was a very meaningful gift.
I imagined my grandfather sitting alone with the box in his lap, cranking it up to listen to the Music Box Dancer until those last three seconds slowed to a halt. The silence lingers, the song unfinished, forcing you to contemplate if you are satisfied with its incompleteness or if you want to crank it again.
My grandfather has since passed away and this music box now sits on my own lap. I crank it to hear the music, hoping it will never slow but knowing that it always will. I’m sure the feeling I get when I hear this melody is of the same substance that once gripped my grandfather.
Love is the one thing that transcends space and time. I must learn to love the moment when the melody slows to a halt. The instant when the last note is suspended in the air is the moment where the tension of infinity and transient life are fused into one. The song may stop but the feeling lives on.