“Well, a lot of stuff really.” Grateful for an easy topic, I started to babble. “I have lessons in Classical violin, but some of the exam pieces are sort of jazz. It’s not really my style, though. I prefer Irish stuff, you know? More fun. But my parents won’t let me concentrate only on fiddle though I’ve been trying to persuade them for ages, so I have to carry on with my grades, for now. I have a céilí band, and we play traditional stuff, which is good fun, but … yeah.”
“Is that so?” He raised an eyebrow and I realised that I had been talking way too fast. What was it my friend Charley used to say? ‘Talking too fast for human comprehension’? Guilty. Oops. “So, what grade are you on now, then?”
E, B, E, D, E, B, E … The reel taunted me, refusing to get out of my head. An ear worm, my sister called it.
“What? Oh, sorry. I got distracted by … um …” But Sean nodded his head in understanding.
“By that tune, right?” he asked, and started to hum it for me. It was weird to heard it made tangible when it had been echoing in my head for so long.
“You can hear it too?” I asked, shocked. Maybe it wasn’t just an earworm – a tune that would get stuck in my head for days and days and days on end.
“Oh, yes. It’s not just you, you know. The rest of us suffer, too…” He stood humming. “Mind you, I’m surprised that you could hear it at all. You’re not supposed to be able to…”
“What do you mean?” He really was losing me now. I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. “You’ve lost me: I don’t know what you’re on about. Why aren’t I supposed to be able to hear it? What is it, anyway? Why can some people hear it and others not? And why ‘Drowsy Maggie’, of all the tunes in the world?”
“Inquisitive, aren’t you?” I looked at him worriedly, but he was smiling. His headphones rattled as he fiddled with them, and I dropped my paperclip guiltily. It disturbed me how similar we were. I was used to being the odd one out, the weirdo, on a different wavelength to the rest of the world.