Mary and James gasped when they heard Joanne tell Blake that they needed to spend the summer apart.
Mary and James lived inside Blake’s desk drawer. They were identical guitar strings. James lived in one package, while Mary lived in the other.
They were a world with a population of two, and shared interest after interest. Never once did one’s tone move away from the other’s. They finished each others sentences, and spoke in one tone, a pure, rich A.
Joanne and Blake, meanwhile, dressed alike, spoke in unison, and played guitar perfectly in sync with each other. They ate the same food, listened to the same music, and drove identical cars. A friend, in fact, joked that they were so alike one of them wasn’t necessary, and for the first time, Joanne began to wonder if maybe their friend was onto something.
And so, in spite of Blake’s pleadings, Joanne was firm in her decision. When she said goodbye, Blake gave her a set of strings...and Mary and James all but sobbed as Blake and Joanne strung their guitars with the separate packets of strings that been in Blake’s desk drawer.
James, like Mary, expressed his sadness in a steady 440 cycles per second, but was suddenly startled when a low voice said hello. He looked above him, and for the first time became aware of a string other than Mary. Shyly, he said hello to Vincent, a low E string who had been in the same package as James all along.
Vincent introduced James to Gabe, Carl, Leonard, and Charlie, the other strings who had been in the package. Slowly, James came out of his shell, experiencing, for the first time, what it was to have a conversation in which everyone had a different voice. And as Blake found ever more things to play and sing about that summer, James found himself in ever more fascinating discussions, and discovered, to his amazement, that he could raise and lower his voice.
When Blake returned home, he shared tales of his travels with Joanne. She, in turn, did the same with him. Mary, meanwhile, excited to see James once more, introduced him to her friends Rachel, Amy, Kim, Sarah, and Laurie, who all said hello in clear, chiming voices.
This led to a spirited discussion among all of them. Voices occasionally clashed jarringly, but always adjusted and found common ground. James found himself thrilled with the ways Mary had changed, and she felt the same way about him.
Blake and Joanne embraced, and their guitars met between them. James and Mary embraced as well, but now knew that they no longer had to be so near each other--or so alike--to be together. From that day on, they always seemed to find someplace to meet in the center of the music that Blake and Joanne played, different voices with different styles singing the same song.