Music and darkness lets me run free.
I can think in a zone
where nothing else matters.
nothing but the beat,
and the melodies expanding my fantasies.
No one else can hear,
and no one else can enter.
My thoughts are my own,
my music is my escape.
The heat burns away my fear and brings forward
questions and theories,
images and fantasies.
Abstract and surreal, with no concept
of space or time.
To everyone else
I'm just sitting and listening,
but to me it's more.
Stripped down to the raw detail.
Nothing but pure solitudinal contemplation.
My courageous efforts paid off about a week later. I had spent every moment up until then thinking about him, wondering whether anything would ever come of it. Maybe I should have said something. Maybe I shouldn’t have run off in the first place. I didn’t even get to see if he had smiled back, I was walking so fast. All I knew was what was I had done; how he interpreted it I knew nothing of.
It was edging towards the middle of December, which meant that the Christmas holidays were fast approaching. I had hoped to gain at least something, however small, by the start of the holidays. I would not see him for two weeks. I wanted to give him something to look forward to coming back to after Christmas was over. Even if it was only someone he could talk to occasionally. I would better whatever I achieved after the holidays, until eventually I had reached the point where I need not go any further.
I had a chance today to continue what I had started. We had been put into groups for a day project, and I was in his group. I had felt extremely lucky when I heard this. It was almost like we were meant to talk to each other after last week’s slight, not even quite existent exchange. Though what about I didn’t know. I felt I had nothing in common with him. He was male, I was female. He was intelligent, I was less so. He had a lot of interesting different hobbies and interests; all I had was my poetry and my art. My mind flashed back to the scene before in my spot. If he had been writing something creative when I came across him, then that was a starting point. I would ask him what he was writing, what for, and if I could possibly read it sometime. Then he would willingly let me, and show it to me after school one day, when we were alone and unobstructed by the structure of reality.
I zoomed quickly back into that reality, the one where things didn’t always go the way I wanted them to, and interruptions and faults were often nearby. I knew daydreaming about what might happen would not make the situation any more likely. It was only five minutes until this project started, and I tried to focus myself on it, so as to not make a complete fool of myself like I had done previously. If I could contribute, then he might be impressed. If not then I would be about as significant to him as a fly, or a spider. I didn’t want to be the lowly insect, I wanted to be the brightly-coloured bird flying high above him, swooping down and catching his eye with all my wonder.
But it’s never going to happen.
When I got into the hall, I scanned the area quickly before seeing him, with a couple of other fellow students, near the front of the room. As I walked nearer I noticed that these other students were ones neither me nor him conversed with normally.
This could be good, or it could be extremely awkward. Most likely the latter.
I was never the best at making conversation with people I hadn’t talked to properly before. I had proved that with him before. But, a whole group of them was even worse. Several more joined the table before I had the chance to get there. One seat remained by the time I had reached my destination, one not next to him, but close enough. Enough so that I could maybe talk to him, but also so far that my awkwardness would easily show with me surrounded by such people. I pulled up the chair, and sat down, trying to avoid eye contact, until remembering my character change and pulling up my head and smiling at everyone around me.
Some replied, some didn’t. He looked up. It was only for a couple of seconds, but his gaze was intense, far more so than any other gaze I had received recently. I looked away, almost embarrassed at his intensity. I instead drew my eyes towards the papers on the table, and looked at what we were supposed to be doing.
Revision techniques. No need for knowledge, which is good. Now, think of something to contribute later and get noticed.
He went to speak, and so did I, but a speaker on the stage stopped us short of any particular words. She explained the task ahead of us, almost too enthusiastically for such a topic, and then, after the fifteen minutes it took, left us to our own devices. He went to speak again, but I kept quiet. While he was talking I fixed my eyes upon him; when another girl spoke I drifted back down to the papers, trying to work out exactly what was going on. We appeared to be looking, at that moment, at music that could be used in revision sessions. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t in my best interests – I had my own revision style and I didn’t need advice off someone who sounded more like they should be working in kids’ entertainment.
The others in the group started talking, not about music, but something entirely different, something I could not contribute to. I sat there, taciturn, noticing once or twice quick glances made by him to me, and a slightly furrowed brow. I looked up at him again, this time showing no signs of weakness. He opened his mouth as if to say something, closed it, and then opened it again.
“What kind of music do you revise to generally?”
I was quite shocked. I sat there, still, for at least 10 seconds, before seeing his eyebrow raise slightly prompting me to answer.
“Well, any really, I guess...Whatever I feel like.”
There. That was vague enough to not hint at any personal opinions that he might disagree with, but not unsociable either. He looked at me again, before speaking, softly and deeply like before.
“What do you like then?”
That was a question that required a display of personal opinion. I was unsure about his musical tastes, and wanted to impress him, so tried to keep the vague answers up.
“A lot of stuff really...Some rocky, some softer. And more different music as well. I have a wide taste in music.”
I was impressed with myself. Not only had I not disclosed anything worth arguing over, but I had actually said words. Real, correctly-ordered words! I had not faltered, I had not stumbled, I had not run away. I had spoken, even though it was only a couple of a sentences. It was the start of a conversation I very much did not want to end.
He wasn’t replying. I questioned him also to balance out the answering.
“What about you? What kind of music do you like?”
He paused from his distance thought for a while, far deeper into his mind, and brought his body forwards slightly, resting his elbows on the table.
“I like a lot of stuff too.”
He was being vague as well. Now I didn’t know how to react.
“Any particular style?”
“Rock, acoustic, alternative and punk. Real music, nothing processed or mixed. And songs with meaningful lyrics.”
I sighed mentally with relief. He had a music taste I could relate to in some ways. Nothing too extraordinary that I didn’t know the definition of or had never heard before.
“Anything in the charts at the moment that you like?”
“I haven’t listened to any new music in about two years. So who knows.”
If anyone else had said this, I would’ve thought to myself how odd they were, missing such a big influence over such a long period of time. But with him, it was different. That last statement made me respect him further – it showed authenticity and realism. He wasn’t trapped in a superficial world where the current times were the only thing present. He still acknowledged the past, more so than the future, and I found that an almost irresistible quality in him. I could relate to him there.
“I prefer older music as well. It’s more...genuine, and original.”
“Yeah, I totally agree.”
He just agreed with me! Now that is advancing!
“Who are your favourite artists?”
I told him mine, and afterwards he told me his. They were sometimes surprisingly similar, and this brought my mental progress bar up slightly higher each time. He looked for the same deep lyrics and the same catchy rhythms as I did, but he also similarly liked a lot of songs with emotion in them, ones you could relate to from experience and feelings. I felt that maybe something went on within his otherwise perfect seeming life that caused this almost dependence on music the way I had it, and it made me even more eager to get to know him, so I could find out and maybe even be the one helping him through it. He went to speak again, and I turned to look at him, fully engaged in what he was saying.
“I’ll have to send you some songs some time.”
“Yeah, that would be good.”
Sensing the conversation was drawing to an end, but still feeling overall satisfied at what I had ‘achieved’, I turned to the others in the group. They hadn’t even started what we were supposed to be doing. We had less time than when we started, and a lot less ideas than the other groups appeared to have. I knew me and him would end up doing all the work together, without the others. I wasn’t complaining.