A Day in My Life

The barber was almost done with my haircut when I heard the beginning of a song on a tiny radio. First, a single beat of a drum along with the piano, followed by the guitar and then the vibrating organ. The first sound grabbed my complete attention with its beautiful melody. 

I couldn’t understand a word. The lyrics were in English. Before I heard this song, I had listened to the Beatles and Elvis: great music, but nothing quite like this. The song went straight to my heart. At that moment, I would’ve given anything to be able to understand the lyrics. 

Until then, my young mind had refused to accept other kinds of music. For me, only rock existed. My mind blocked everything else. My inability to understand the lyrics wasn’t an inconvenience for me to enjoy it.    

I was fourteen years old, living in Mexico in the summer of 1966. In those days, I didn’t have a friend who liked rock and roll as much as I did. 

By the time the barber finished, the song wasn’t over yet. I stood there paralyzed. I looked at myself in the mirror, wishing for the music never to end. Then, I noticed the barber staring at me. I was sure he was thinking. ‘what’s wrong with this stupid kid?’

But he was right. I was a stupid kid because if I could run to my house fast enough, I could listen to the rest of the song and catch the title. I was three blocks away from home. And I ran. I didn’t see the cracked sidewalks, the unpaved roads, my friends playing soccer on the street, the grocery store, or the butcher shop. I didn’t hear the birds singing, the dogs barking, or any noise. I was still listening to the most beautiful song I had ever heard.

We used to live on the second floor of a two-story house. I was up there in a flash. When I went to my room, I could still listen to about a minute of it. The humble authoritative angry voice, the sweet, sad harmonica drilling the core of my soul. And the part where the organ cried full of joy or pain. It induced my first mental orgasm. 

They said the name of the song and who played it. I knew that very instant that I had to buy it immediately.

I went to ask my three sisters for money. The first one, to no avail. She was the stingy one. The second one, the pious one, I asked her for church money for the next day. And the third one, the one that loved me the most, I told her the truth, and she gave me the rest.

I got the record. People used to call them 45s because they used to turn forty-five revolutions per minute (RPM). I played it all afternoon. I even marked the record and counted how many turns it made in a minute. They were right; forty-five times per minute, about 280 times. I played that song dozens of times that day, loving it, even more every time I played it. At that moment, I promised myself I would learn English before I died.

Anybody could get bored after listening to the same song a few times in a row, but not me, not with that song. That night I didn’t even watch TV. I had dinner, then I took a shower and went back to my room to listen to “my song” a few more times before falling asleep. 

It was probably past midnight when the sound of music woke me up. I stood up and turned the light on, then turned the record player off and returned to sleep. But the music woke me up again. This time, it was the radio, but it was playing the same song. And once again, I turned it off.

The same thing happened once again. Pissed off and scared, I disconnected the cable from the plug and the radio. I pulled it from the wall, removed the batteries, and put it under the bed. That should do it. 

The next time it happened, I was out of my mind. I didn’t want to open my eyes. I thought Satan was playing tricks on me under my bed. I gathered all my courage and went under the bed. I was having terrifying thoughts. I imagined Lucifer grabbing my arms and dragging me to hell. But no, the only thing down there was my record player. Still shaking, I threw it to the cement floor downstairs, where it broke into a million pieces.

In the morning, my mom was poking my ribs and saying, “Wake up, son, we have to go to church.”

I opened my eyes and saw my record player in one piece with my new record still on it, unbroken and ready to be played. 

But first, I had to go to church and pray. 

And I begged God to allow me to enjoy music again without receiving any punishment in my dreams.

The End

© US Copyright Office / Submitted / Pending

“Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. Duration: 6:31

2004 Best Song of all time. Rolling Stone Magazine.


Visalia, CA. 06-04-2012

Author: Edmundo Barraza

Edmundo Barraza was born in Durango. He grew up in Torreon, Mexico. He now lives in Los Angeles, Ca. Even though he became an American Citizen in 1990, he still considers Torreon his hometown. He was seven when he saw his first movie. The screen was the exterior wall of a church at the top of a hill. A Spanish film about a baby left outside a church by his mother. He never stopped watching movies after that. He began writing short stories in 2009. His love for cinema pushed him to turn his own stories into scripts and then to film. In 2015 he shot his first short film, "The Corpse Is Alive," which won thirteen nominations at different film festivals worldwide. "Drugs And Chocolates" and "The Psychic" have also won numerous awards. Some of his favorite film directors include Luis Buñuel, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Sam Peckinpah, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and many others. His favorite music includes The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Clash, Temptations, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and many others. "Playing pool, listening to rock music, and having a beer is great, but reading a book, writing a story, or watching a good film is even better. I hate guns and evil political leaders, racist people too. I love good people. Children are the most precious thing in the world. I aim to shoot a feature film based on one of my stories." Edmundo is married to Consuelo Barraza. They have a daughter and a son, Michelle Solano and Carlos Barraza.

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