Singing, it brings back nothing but bad memories. I can’t do it. I suddenly feel hot and flushed and I get up from the tight bunch of people and sit on one of the other couches, swallowing hard, my mouth beginning to hurt. I touched the sides of my mouth slightly and gaze at the table as I feel a little dizzy, come on Gemme. Just breathe, okay? There’s nothing there, no one there that’s gonna hurt you. Breathe. I do, but it’s laboured, my chest falling heavily on every exhale. I run a hand through my hair, pushing it back.
I don’t mind singing a lullaby to Alice, or singing privately to Luca. But to hear my voice on a tape, or on a stage, no, I can’t do it. I just can’t. Luca got up and followed me over, a concerned look on his face. "What's wrong?"
“I'm being foolish, panic attack, I'll be fine," I staggered. He put his guitar down and sat beside me, offering his arms for a hug. I shook my head slightly, "sorry, I can't breathe... just a second." I paused, trying my best to regulate my breathing again. He nodded and said nothing, putting his arms around his legs instead as he pulled them up to his chest. When I had got my original temperature back, I sighed. “I’m sorry, I overreacted.”
He just looked at me, not understanding why. "I'd love to sing with you, I would. I just can't do it."
"S'ok. It doesn't matter." I nod.
“If you’re sure.”
"Yeah, its fine, we'll just have to work harder to get Phil's girl to sing it right," he shrugged.
"I don't mind teaching her."
"Up to you."
"Luca, what's up?"
“Nothing,” I wasn’t sure that was true. Something was up, I was sure of it. Maybe the fact I just walked off and had a panic attack and spoke nothing of it, I dunno.
"I'll try not to ask you to sing again, if it bothers you that much."
"I'd tell you, but I only just got you back. I don't want to burden you with my problems too early."
"What?" Damn it, just tell me. Stop it with this dodging around stuff.
"Just confused, but what's new?" he shrugged and got up, lifting his guitar again.
Then why don’t you just ask, ‘hey, what’s up?’ or, ‘I’m confused...’ don’t just dodge around everything! "Yeah, what's new?" I asked, trying not to snap. Fuck it, one thing goes wrong and he’s up, walking off to the other guys. Why can’t he just ask me? Why can’t he be more like Benny?
Alice comes running over just after, sensing my silence and annoyance she just cuddled up beside me. I sighed, asking her to move. She looked up at me questioningly and I asked her again, trying not to raise my voice. Her lip began to quiver, her eyes began to water and I sighed, trying to hug her but she pushed me off. “I hate you!” She growled as she ran off. The words killed me, the first type of emotion she’s told me and she says she hates me. I bite my lip, determined not to break down like she did. I just buried my head in my arms and rest my arms on the table. What have I done wrong?
All I did was have a flashback of my school years and suddenly everyone’s acting differently toward me. I have to get over this fear of the stage, of stardom. I have to fight and get over it. It will only make this journey harder.
She sat next to Luca and I caught him glancing up at me and then back at Alice. "Go apologise," I hear him say sternly.
"No! I hate her, I hate her!" I know kids overreact, that they get shouted at and suddenly it turns their world upside-down, but, I can’t help but feel a little hurt.
"No you don't," he says, keeping his tone even, "she's been good to you and you should be grateful to her."
"Humph. Well I'm not." Well, when she’s upset, she sure is defiant.
"She shouted at me!" Oh Alice, I’m sorry. I just need a little time to myself,
"She's just a bit upset, she didn't mean it."
"Why's she upset?" Good question, go on uncle Luca, why am I upset? I bet you don’t know.
"Because Uncle Luca was stupid and upset her." I sighed, that’s the wrong answer... “Luca, you should just ask me. It’s not you.”
Alice shook her head, “bad Uncle Luca!”
"Try explaining that to a kid?" He half smiled at Alice and nodded, "I know. C'mon, we'll go apologise together." She nodded and I sighed. You should still just ask... He got up and took her hand, bringing her over to me.
"I'm sorry Gemme," she whispered and I nodded, trying to put on my best smile.
"Good girl," he muttered, ruffling her hair and sending her back over to Rayn. "So go on then. What's wrong?"
"I used to sing, for my old school, a while ago. But there were these two sisters; they always wanted my spot on the talent show. You know my zodiac; I'm naturally gifted at creative stuff. So I won, every year. Then one year, I didn't turn up. Spiteful kids, they took a knife into school..." I swallowed, "just one of those from the dining hall and placed it, just here." I tapped the corner of my mouth, "it was only a dining knife and it couldn't do much harm. They only manage to make a tiny slit. But I still couldn't sing. I'm scared now, every time I perform, someone'll be out there, waiting. It's stupid. But God it hurt." When I told him it suddenly sounded very stupid. I mean, who has this many problems with their life? God, I’m such a loser. He sat down wordlessly and offered his arms in a hug again.
“But I’ll sing for you, that song. I’ll do it.” I don’t know why I said that, I didn’t really think about it. I guess I thought I owed him for listening to my stupid past. That was about it though I think, all that I care to remember. The father, the mother, the bullies, the zodiac’s chasing me, the mishap when I was born; yep, that was it.
"You don't have to if you don't want to, Gemme. It's only gonna be a B-side, it doesn't matter so much."
"No, its fine, you have to listen to my stupid past. The least I can do is sing for you." I laughed, with a hint of hysteria.
He hugged me, squeezing me gently and kissed my forehead. "I don't mind hearing about your past. God knows you've heard more than enough of mine." I let out a small whine, squeezing him back; life-buoy style.