Still here.


Sound check, we're a group of twenty something musicians. Each of us has done this process so many times before, check our equipment, ensure we all come through loud and clear, make sure we're ready for what will happen next.

The crowd below, the usual murmur, wondering what will these fools bring to the stage? I'm always the most nervous at this point, with all eyes on me, just because I sing. I would love to just hide in the background, let my guitar be my voice. The instrument feels warm in my hands as I begin to go through the process.

I wonder, how did I go from a skinny 16 year old runt to this? Where are all those who should be with me tonight? My mind wanders back to the garage, where a group of budding musicians were trying to become something grand. One of my closest friends, our merry crews roady, had helped us move our equipment in for the first time, he decided to relax and listen to our particular brand of music for awhile, the girl sat beside him. She was the quiet one of our little party, but she probably spoke the loudest to me. She just eagerly watched, drinking in the music we created. This content smile on her face, little did I realize what role she would play.

Fast forward, three years later. Our first gig, I tuned my old guitar and stared at the crowd, these were people I saw daily, who barely know who I am. Are now paying money to hear me, the first song starts. Mainline, I open my mouth, nothing, I'm totally frozen on stage. She's watching me from the crowd, she's frightened for us. The others on stage dont' know what to do, finally the quiet girl took action. She clambered to the stage, running to my side, and plants the longest kiss I've ever experienced. I feel fire, it's running through my veins. She tells me the words I've clung to with all my might.

"You can't be a spectator all your life," I grabbed the microphone once more, and that night, I poured every ounce of energy, spirit and blood into my music. At the end of the night, the crowd was electric, the sound was deafening, but the only sound I heard was from her.

One year later, we're yelling at each other, things happen. An angry young man is now kneeling at her grave, he doesn't understand why, or what was so wrong she never came to him? In some ways, that man's still waiting on his answers.

Back in reality, the new band, we're all here for one reason or another. Bound by our love for music, we still start with the same song as before. I search the crowd, looking for the same sad girl and hoping one night I'll hear her applause one last time. I drop the guitar and walk off stage, these people annoy me. I'd still trade the world for one more never ending chess game, rehearsal at the garage, or one more night out doing nothing more then staring at the stars.

The End

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