May 1, 2009 § 3 Comments
“Hello, my name is Kino Pavane.”
That’s my name. I bowed to my new classmates politely, my hand holding onto my other arm tightly. I looked around scanning them, yet avoiding eye contact. Everyone had the same colour hair, black like mine. In Grandia, because everyone came from different places of the world you would see blondes, brunettes, red heads, and even the odd brightly pink dyed hair. Some girls were plain looking, and some painted their faces ready for the treacherous battle of love. The guys looked as carefree as men always are. That hasn’t changed. Everything was the same; the classroom had four walls, two lined with glass windows; a chalkboard at the front; and rows of desks. Nothing has changed. Nothing except the people. Yet, this feeling of anxiety and agitation inside couldn’t be erased as my nails dug into skin ever so slightly. They must have thought I was an excited new transfer student.
One of the boys “kindly” gave me a tour. I say kindly because he probably had ulterior motives, like everyone does.
It was a simple public school. The standard gym, track field outside, and classrooms. One thing I noticed is that the school was no where as huge as Grandia. They definitely picked the right name for that school, Grandia for Grande egos, sums of money. A school where little old me wouldn’t, couldn’t possible fit in. As we passed by a small practice room with an upright piano, I looked through the window and was disgusted at how I murderously made ears bleed. Sure I played, but if nobody could listened to me then there wasn’t a point trying to understand what Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin were trying to say, let alone myself. There was a reason why I never was able to move the audience, because I’m a terrible person at heart, a monster.
Can I take a picture of you?
They asked as if I’m some kind of tourist attraction. The girl told me to smile to the camera and I tried to remember how. More muscles are used to frown compared to the number used to smile. And even though it isn’t hard, for some reason it was excruciating. Like slitting your wrist, it’s not hard but it just hurts so normally people (who are sane) wouldn’t be doing that.
I stood up and tucked my chair in before leaving behind another day. A woman who blended in with the students, despite her out of uniform outfit, and grey hair, came up to me and gave me a few encouraging words. I smiled to her weakly and left.
“If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask,” the teacher called out to me kindly with a mature smile. When has this happened before? I faintly remember. It was déjà vu, but I was anticipating something to happen if I rushed out to the raw cold. There was a sea of chattering students disrupting the calm sound of winter’s snowfall. I loved the snow. I watched it fall gently into place as the burning sensation returned eating me away. My mouth trembled, wanting to say his name, but I forced myself not to.
The snow I loved burned my skin cold as some happy couple pushed me into a snow bank unknowingly. I stood back up and my plain expression amplified the non-caring atmosphere shielding each individual, including myself. I noticed a girl in my class was lassoing her arms around another guy, while telling another one to shut up. I looked away. I hate those kinds of people, the kind that wears the smile of a last Duchess. Not to mention the fact that she reminds me of Fiona because the only word in her vocabulary was “shut up.” But I have no right to say such things because I’m the same as her, unpleasant.
Then I return to my household, and was interrogated by a woman with a disturbingly pleasant smile. Sometimes I would wonder why she tries so hard to pretend to be my mother when both my parents died long ago. If there was anyone I wanted to drag across the city, it would be this obnoxious child.
“What were you doing?”
“I picked up the groceries.”
“You don’t need to do that.”
“I was walking along the way, I might as well.”
“You should have called and I would have picked you up.”
“We shouldn’t be wasting gas,” or else we’d have to bomb places to solve this childish problem called “climate change.”
“Why should a child like you worry about that?” why should a child be asking a child an adults question? The sound all became like mush as I shut myself in. I heard something like don’t disrespect and screaming, but why should I care? No use respecting someone who doesn’t act like an elder.
The day ends with nothing happening, with nothing changing, with nothing out of the ordinary. As if he never existed in the first place.
I eventually found myself returning to what I look down as society. A society where nobody cared, where nothing matters, and where time stands unchanged. I woke up, went to class, got satisfactory marks, and everything else I lost when I went to the dream world I retrieved. I wish I could return, but I reminded myself that happiness could never last, and that even if I returned, I would just end up being the annoying third wheel. It was nothing more than a fairytale, a dream, a figment of my imagination. He never existed, was never there. As long as I continue to deny and avoid the subject of existence, I will be ok. I think…
I heard a melody being played during break. It was familiar, and it was tragically left unfinished.
What kind of song is that?
Something I made up for my theory classes.
It’s very pretty.
But it’s not finished yet.
You might want to get on that.
There I sat infront of the black piano, made by a lesser known maker. As I recalled how that oh so sweet melody went, little by little, it began to fade, one note, one rest, one bar at a time. Each time, I felt my skin burn. Why did I play music? Why did I even start to learn to play on this large instrument? Why am I so hopeless without it?
“Umm, you’re Kino right?”
The girl’s face lit up, and was full of cheerfulness. Something I wish she would share.
“I’ve seen your recitals at Grandia, and I’m actually a big fan of yours. I’m studying piano at a small studio in the city, and I’m having trouble with my Chopin waltz.”
“So you want me to play it for you?” It wasn’t too hard to guess what she wanted.
“Sorry, I don’t play anymore.”
“Oh but please! Here, I’ll lend you my score; you don’t even have to play through the whole thing, just a little bit,” why was this girl so desperate for help? It’s not like she’s going to make it big anyway, so why try so hard? She’s probably going to give it up anyway.
“I’m sorry, I’m asking for too much. But just, after seeing you play the waltz, I was left totally speechless. It was amazing, and it really inspired me, and—“
“I’ll help you,” the words just suddenly came out of my mouth, and now I’ve put myself under the spotlight.
A waltz…it’s a type of ballroom dancing in ¾ time. I’ve played many waltzes in the past and I’ve never danced a waltz before, or have I?
“What’s that mean?”
“It’s French for easily, as in you should play with ease. Chopin wrote, played, and taught in that style. So when you’re playing your arms shouldn’t be ridged, but fluid.”
“I still don’t get it.”
I looked at the black and white keys; I put my foot down on the pedal, and tried to remember.
“Like this,” The first arpeggio was played, and the sound rang in my ears, the second and third arpeggio was played, and the sound resonated in my fingertips, the minor third in the high register was played, and the sound rippled in a pool of memories. This sadness came from the Earth like oil shooting out. The opening of the first theme followed, and I couldn’t help but remember that touch when our hands met, and when our feet floated on cloud 9.
“In order to achieve the right amount of tension in the arpeggios, fluidity in the arms is important. Applying force will only make it choppy, and that’s not what Chopin wants.”
“Ok. So maybe it’s like, you can’t dance the waltz with stiff body’s kind of idea?”
“Precisely. You just have to remember that Chopin never intended to have his music be accompanied by people waltzing around.”
“That explains the faster tempo.”
“Hmmm, I guess you could say that.”
“Could you play the whole thing for me? I’m sorry for being selfish, but I kind of want to here you play this again. If you want you don’t have to play for me now, I know! How about you play at our school festival?”
I didn’t know how to respond to such enthusiasm.
Opening the score and tracing my finger over the melody and the writing, before I gripped onto flesh and read it in my head, hearing everything as it all came back to me. The first time I touched the keys of my father’s piano was when that bitch took him and mom away. I hid in that room for days, reaching for books, and tears pounding away before my fingers. Without knowing it, I was infront of that old studio again, key in hand. I opened the door to darkness, and went in.
The name was Petrof this time. But no matter what the name was, nobody can ever steal him away for he was far too big to carry, or even move for that matter. To think I could just leave him, was idiotic of me for together, we make music.
People held their breath; what was going to happen next? A sudden short pause before I told a sad story, about a lonely person who just wanted to be true to her passion, and unchanged to her friends. But she was stalked by a shadow. The sunny skies were filled with stars, and the ground suddenly became clouds carrying everything away into the non-existing moonlight. Just when they thought I would let them off this ride, Petrof pulls everyone back on for the girl’s story was not done yet. When the girl’s heart wavered with feelings of unrequited love she smiled, freezing her tears. Nobody noticed at first, but she called out not once, but twice, only for me and Petrof to notice her shatter into pieces—when I shattered into pieces. Scattered across the audience, I heard the percussive sound of clapping. Before I knew it, I was picking up the pieces bit by bit, trying to piece myself back together, so I could play again.
I wanted him to hear my music. I wanted to waltz together again. I wanted him to see me, not the monster, but I can’t, for there’s nothing left of me as I peeled it off. I regret. Regret for leaving the dream, but unfortunately all dreams must come to an end as I looked down at my filthy hands.
“That performance, it was good—No, it was beautiful. The sadness was just overwhelming, but at the same time I could feel myself float.”
“Don’t be modest, the piano was out of tuned, and I haven’t played that since last December.”
“Kino, you should keep playing. I know you might not think you’re great, but you are! You really love the piano right? Why should you give up on something like love? That’s kind of silly if you ask me.”
I thought about those words. I wanted to make things right, but there’s no way I could ask him anymore. It seems after digging so far deep, I couldn’t climb back out of my hole.
I stood in a little huddle of girls. How I got here, I can’t remember. Something about how a concert pianist doesn’t belong here and because of my performance, everybody was talking about me. One girl blew a large bubble from her pink bubble gum, two other girls giggled. Another girl inhaled a cigarette’s poison and blew it back into my face, as if hoping I got second hand smoking. They were all “comforting” me because I was apparently kicked out of Grandia. I just threw a twisted smile and the girls all moaned in disappointment.
“It must be because some rich guy at Grandia threatened you.”
“Yeah, rich guys are all jerks, like Yuki Pelletier breaking up with Lily and Mayu just like that.”
Instinctively, I punched the girl. My blood suddenly boiled beneath my skin, and old anger resurrected from inside me. People were still blaming him when it was my fault. I hated it, people like them. I was hit across the face, and a cigarette butt was spat at me burning my white dress shirt, and stained it with nicotine. The other gasped and then soon commenced the torture.
Gum was placed in my hair, which was then soaked in water. Scented chemical fumes were sprayed without consideration as it burned my eyes and I was pulled from left to right by the roots of my hair, and pushed into the wall. I looked at them and they laughed at their trash. It was really funny watching them act as if they were all high and mighty, when this type of bullying wasn’t much. It was no different then when I was in grade school. But then they called their delinquent boyfriends so that I can eat my words. Off course I fought back, but this was a sign, this recognizable feeling of something corroding the walls of my insides.
“Excuse me, you aren’t from this school are you?”
“No I’m not.”
“I’m afraid I can’t let you in.”
“Oh no I’m just picking someone up.”
I was in the hands of the guillotine as the executioner was about to deliver my punishment. I closed my eyes and heard my name. I laughed at how God was toying with me and the scientific Doppler Effect. Despite the doubt, my heart was racing as if it said otherwise. A warm wind swished past me and I fell back to sleep into dream land. The world started to sparkle, I wasn’t sure if I had a concussion but…
“X marks the spot, time to dig out my buried treasure.”
“What are you? Some kind of pirate?”
“The King did a great job hiding the diamonds. But it was nothing.”
It was nothing, he said. I was still readjusting to one month of lost time.
“Who the hell are you?” inquired the boy as he obviously did not recognize him, but everyone else did and so they crowded around the scene of the crime.
“Nice of you to ask. Hello, my name is Yuki Pelletier, most people know me as the Pelletier’s president, but someone stole that title from me. You can just call me Yuki”
He cleared his throat trying not to show his irritations to my snide comment.
“It seems my girlfriend was causing some trouble here. Please forgive her.”
As instinctive as the first punch was, I smacked the side of his arm. There was no mercy. “Hey! Why are you mad?”
“I’m not…” He picked me up, and carried me off unwillingly before I could answer.
…and then we were in the back seat of a car. The still awkward silence did not affect the driver at the front. But anxiety filled the air as I looked one way, and he looked the other. My hand and mouth kept everything a secret. After an hour, I noticed nothing has changed. The tall evergreen trees were covered in snow, and the tall fence blocked outsiders like me from entering their castles. But it seems I’m being returned to my proper place, says the pirate who kidnapped me.
I breathed in the fresh mountain like air as I looked out into the sunset, and felt frustrated for some reason as I walked at a breakneck pace away from him.
I didn’t want to hear anything, but he continued playing this childish game.
“I can’t play with you all day,” I tried to tell him off seriously. I tried to move my feet, but they were rooted to the ground. What on Earth was I doing? My irritation burned.
“How long are you going to avoid me!?” He grabbed my arm with his warm hands, and I flinched for a moment.
“Ow, let go of me!” I said pulling it away, and hiding it behind my back, “sorry…” I apologized with a smile, as I looked at him hoping, just hoping he didn’t notice…
“I can’t believe it, you…”
I couldn’t do anything anymore but make excuses.
“It was an accident, you know? I was in a lot of fights and—, “ the sleeve was rolled up, and I closed my eyes. Not because of my own dirtied presence but because of the kind of expression he would have worn when he saw the evidence of the monster inside of me.
“What do you think you’re doing hurting yourself?”
“You think you can just smile the pain off, no big deal. You think you can just disappear into thin air without saying good bye, no big deal. You think its ok if other’s hurt you or if you hurt yourself, no big deal?”
Stop it. “I told you…” I didn’t want to hear it! I didn’t want to hear his angry voice.
When I willed myself to move, I collapsed into the cold snow, but it was all numb to me. I opened my eyes at the coldness of his words and saw something that had me perplexed. Melted snow? No…it was tears.
“You didn’t tell me anything! But refresh my memory anyway; maybe I’ll remember something not hearing!”
“Why does it matter to you?! Why does it matter whether I’m hurt? Why does me disappearing from you matter so much? Why does it matter if I smiling or not? I’m just a third wheel to you. A disgusting monster…“
“I love you!”
Yuki’s voice echoed through the open air. This wasn’t a dream.