"If Someone Told Me" - River Tam
Saturday, December 7, 2002

River stays for the music



An illusory concept, one that holds no meaning for me anymore.

Furure, past, present - they're all the same now, and the chorus in my head sings on and on. I've learned how to sort them, and it's a lot more clear since ge-ge found the medicine on Ariel.

Can't talk too much, it's so noisy on this ship. Who knew space could be so loud? They are all clashing rhythms, different dances, and I can't find a way for my feet to trace the steps and follow the beat.

Ge-Ge is like he always is - guitars and the electronic beep of hospital machines. Very slow and sad when he looks at me, like something dying in him or in me - there is just too much other noise to understand totally. Sorry, Simon. I wish you could hear what I hear, but then you'd be like me, and I know that makes you scared- your inner noise sounds like someone going into shock or falling to death when you try to think about what the Hands did when they pulled me under.

The big one with the girls' name - kettledrums and horns. Loud and rude and blasting. Can't keep his dirty thoughts to himself. And he likes that shirt - the one with the faded logo when I see when close my eyes and I start to drown because ge-ge's drugs are wearing off and I can feel that which can understand slip beneath the waves. See in him the love of pain and death. He's like a little boy pulling wings from flies. Simon did that once until I cried…

Kaylee's fingers dance a ballet when she works. She is flight of the bumblebee played on engines. It all buzzes and crackles. She is a joyful tune, and it is easy to understand and dance to, and the music from her player…Bach on the tinny little system, sounding so bad, but so much like her that I do not notice and want to dance with her.

Wash is a strange noise - more guitars, but not the classical type - more modern and experimental, never the same song with him. Loud, soft, but not medium jazz or rock beat, or something that is like steel drums and silver bells. Steel drums trying to play jazz with a saxophone and maybe a cello. I cannot tell. His bride is all harsh percussion - metal xylophone or the bangs and creeks on pipes…the sound of sticks on metal, sometimes soft and gentle like wind chimes, sometimes clashing and angry and more scary than the rude man. When I hear them join in love, it is windchimes and saxophone, and it a favorite song.

Preacher likes to think he sounds like gospel. I know what he sounds like - and it is not gospel. I hear the hymns with him, but I also hear foreboding…something he think is far away in him sounds like screaming and the sound of glass breaking and gunfire. It does not go well with the hymns.

The saddest songs were those I had not expected. They are the ones who try to mask their own music.

Inara goes silent a lot. She must play what tunes others want her to play and dance to their music. When the dance is over and the song is done, someone gives her gold and walks away. Her own music quiets. She knows this, too, wonders if her own song will eventually silence for good. On some level, she wants and fears the silence. Her own music is played on harps, a beautiful tune that goes silent heartbreakingly often.

Sad-eyed captain sounds like a reed flute when he thinks the rest of us cannot hear- broken and hollow, a sad note coming from the pipes. I still hear the reed flute when others are around, but he sounds like a symphony, ranging wildly - crash of symbols, snap of snare drums, the soft violin…he takes the many instruments of the others and they all play through him, like a conductor commanding the grand orchestra. It is only when he is alone that you hear the lone reed flute.

Time has no meaning here - a bad dream of people chasing me. While I stay, I hear eight songs - all beautiful in their own way. It's the music that makes the nightmare somewhat tolerable.

Will I still hear the music when I wake up?


Sunday, December 8, 2002 2:57 PM


Great job here. My only complaint is that even with the drugs you've made River too lucid. You'll notice that when River's completly lucid she does stuff like "play with Kaylee". Fragment sentences more, mumble inarticulately and then you'll have a better picture of our River. Good work nonetheless.

Sunday, December 15, 2002 8:35 AM


Very imaginative. I liked the idea of connecting the characters with music, each existing under their own tune (or, at least, how River perceives it). Loved the analogy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003 2:23 PM


Absolutely stunning piece of introspection for River. I loved it. The accurate use of musical instruments to silhouette each character and then Mal's lone reed flute letting the others flow through him into a symphony only to be alone again afterwards. Beautiful. Poetic and full of pathos. Thank you for the gift. Shiny! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, December 14, 2003 5:37 AM


This is my favorite. I like all of them, though. You did very well. Hope you keep writing.

Keep writin'!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 11:19 AM


Music was a wonderful allegory for River's thoughts. A genius mind that understands the mathematics of music. I think a part of River does think like this, but it is pulled out of focus by the damage that was done to her brain.

Very nice!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 4:01 PM


fabulous props 2 u

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 4:01 PM


fabulous props 2 u


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"If Someone Told Me" - River Tam
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