Here’s another story that didn’t quite make it to fruition. I thought it would be interesting to write a story about a superhero who saves lives by possessing others.
I had no interest in living somebody else’s life.
I wasn’t the kind of girl who was oblivious to the suffering of others. Even when my life sucked the worst kind of butt imaginable, I knew someone out there, probably someone who sat next to me in class, had it much worse. It helped keep my mouth shut, because nobody likes a complainer. I didn’t want pity. For all I knew, I had it great and it was just my teenage angst making it out to be horrible.
Course, I admit, this made me rather impatient whenever one of my friends lost themselves in said teenage angst because their Dad wouldn’t let them get a car or something stupid like that. It might be that reason that most of my friends assumed I was naïve and annoyingly happy-go-lucky. I just wouldn’t understand their hardships. And, to some degree, I guess they’re right. It was hard for me, and to some extent still is, to understand why one could be so upset over not getting a free car when I only felt safe asking for soap and a shampoo other than the dollar store brand for Christmas.
But, like I said, I’m sure others have it much worse.
I didn’t want to see ‘much worse.’ I had so little faith in the world as it was.
Which was probably why I would have never discovered my…ability on my own if it hadn’t been for Jackson.
Jackson was tall, dark haired, more handsome than was lawful for a sixteen year old, and frequently moved our entire orchestra to tears with his cello solos. Of course I had no chance of making him look my way—I knew that. I’m not stupid. Nor did I think myself in love, because, after all, I’m just a teenager. Most teenagers thought themselves in love at one point or another and ended up being wrong, right? He knew my name and that I played third seat back in the first violin section as well as sat two rows back from him in advanced Biology.
Then, near the end of the lunch hour, when I was feeling particularly anti-social and thought I’d go practice violin for a bit, I happened to stumble on him crying. Handsome, talented, smart, popular Jackson, and there he was with his long legs crumpled up to his chest like a child in that dark corner usually taken up by old bass cases in the storage room.
He stared at me like I had caught him shooting up heroine. His legs shot out to take a more manly position, but he had taken care to fold himself up in that corner, which meant one of said bass cases keeled over and squashed him. I would have rushed to help him if it weren’t for the leaning towers of violins and viola cases in my way. Our teacher had given us many a guilt trips and lectures on our lack of care in storing our instruments, to no avail.
Luckily, basses are hollow light things, but he took his time in lifting it off of him. By then he had dried his face off, though his eyes were still too bright.
“Don’t mind me,” he said with a wobbly smile. “Am I in your way?”
I sighed. Another reason I didn’t think myself in love. He was well trained in the art of saying the stupid things that made up most of conversation in polite society. “You’re in a corner under a bass. How could you possibly be in my way?”
He faltered, thrown off, as many were, by my bluntness. Usually I kept it at bay, but today I wasn’t in the mood.
“Sorry?” he said.
“Don’t be. You’re the one trying to have a good cry in peace.” I glanced behind me to make sure the orchestra room behind me was still dark and empty before closing the door. The emergency light in the hallway shining through the little window of the storage room was all the light I had to see by, and I thought that good. It would give him some privacy from me and others. “You don’t have to tell me this,” I wanted so bad to be tactful. “But what’s up?”
Top ten default answers of the century.
“Right,” I said, finding my violin case right where I left it, properly filed away in the shelves to my right. “I take that as a ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ Would some company help?”
At least he was honest that time. When he tried to sniff covertly, and failed, my heart twisted in my chest. This wasn’t the first time I wanted to know the right words to say. But I also knew, from all those times, that more than likely I would end up making it worse, and I found I really, really didn’t want Jackson to hate me. Was that too selfish of a want?
I was wondering so as I stepped out and closed the door tightly behind me. Grown seventeen year old boys don’t just break down and cry for silly reasons, like Daddy not buying them a car. At least, that’s what I assumed. It was harder for boys to cry than girls, wasn’t it? Something about testosterone and stuff?
And someone who could create such moving music shouldn’t be huddled in the dark crying. Everything would be alright. It really would.
But because I didn’t know what was going on, I might just make it worse.
Aching, I walked into one of the little used practice rooms across from the storage room and locked the door behind me. In the dark, I found a wall, slid down it, and slipped out my violin to hug to my chest like a little guitar. There, in order to stop myself from crying as well, I plucked the strings one by one and listened to the vibrations die off in the darkness.
If only I could know…
Focus on the sound. Went a thought through my head. It wasn’t a voice I was unfamiliar with. It often spoke to me when I was upset and alone at night, saying soothing words I needed to hear. Just focus on the sound and breathe…
G string, low a humming in my gut. D string, then A, and the high bing of the E string.
Then I thought of Jackson.
And as the sharpness of E faded off, the weight of a bass pressed down on my knees and on hands I hadn’t realized I had lifted—I couldn’t have lifted, as they had been filled with a violin.
The First Life
I didn’t process that I wasn’t me anymore until I stood up and found the floor in front of me filled with violin cases—and a lot farther down than I remembered. Still, I guess it was kind of like getting your leg cut off: the shock kind of turns off your brain. That’s why I was able to step over the violin cases (long legs are really useful for not knocking down stacked violins) without fainting. When I made to open the door into the practice studio I had just left, though, that same soft voice in my head told me not to.
This is just some weird dream you’re telling yourself, right? It said. Besides, don’t you want to figure out why he’s so upset?
Yes, but I would rather he just told me—though he would never do that. After all, I was just that first violin hidden behind the first and second stands. I didn’t even know if he knew my name. Though, perhaps everyone knew my name, but not in a good way. I had a knack for being uncomfortably blunt in class as well.
But the foreboding in my chest kept me from opening that door. Instead, I breathed in, feeling about the numb shock that held me as I looked down at the big, knobbly hands that weren’t mind, and instead turned to head towards the office.
Big feet. Big legs. And what was that weird flesh between my—I didn’t want to know.
Calling Jackson’s mom wouldn’t hurt. Going to his house was sure to at least give me some clues, and if anything going home for the day would give him the privacy he needed to be upset in peace.
That’s right. This is all just a weird dream. You almost fell asleep in History today.
I almost always fell asleep in History. It was the first class of the day and if you bothered to do your reading homework, you knew more than that teacher’s stupid powerpoint said anyways. And I often had dreams where I knew I was dreaming and decided to manipulate it rather than wake up.
Still…this was a freaking weird dream.
A few people waved at me in the hall. Even without them calling out his name, I knew who I had become. I made sure Jackson smiled and waved back and them and figured, since this was a dream, I probably had pulled it off just fine. It was all about tricking my own brain into letting me stay in control of the dream rather than tossing me off into even more unfamiliar territory.