The First Sound 2: Dawn Walk

Evangeline Osseti

Angela~

The concrete steps of the desolate building were a little slippery. I knew i should have taken the elevator, but then i heard it open so suddenly, i was afraid some old guard would just strangle me and bring me to the Everest Security Team, if ever they had such a thing.

But then i thought, if entering the top floor was illegal, they should have posted a sign board in front of the door, saying, “No Trespassing,” or “Restricted Area,” or “Turn Around and Get Going,” right ? It seemed pretty open to me. It seemed public, you know ? Although by the time i reached it and sniffed the cool air of the night, the floor was empty.

Empty, as if it was just waiting for someone to walk in and … and stay, at least for a while.

It was so inviting that i had the strangest feeling that right there, in that very spot, i belonged. Like it was waiting for me the whole time.

This is what they call Nostalgia, i presume?

Like it was fate that led me here.

Like I’ve been here before … i don’t know …

… in a dream, maybe?

Ugh. Whatever.

I can’t risk being in trouble again.

I hate the fact that whenever I get involved into something, they always find a way to contact  Mom. They don’t know her. They don’t know what she’s capable of. They have no idea what she’s willing to risk just to get me back.

I’ve been back. In fact, I’ve always been there, waiting.

It wasn’t me who walked away. It was HER. It wasn’t me who left us hanging~ me and Dad~ and rendezvoused with that bitch of a man who used to be my Father’s most trusted friend. It wasn’t me who never showed up even by the time Dad got sick and was so weak he lost his ability to speak.

Moreover, it wasn’t me who showed up in his funeral, claiming to be the rightful heir of everything dad had ever worked for~ the money, the company, and all that shit.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I don’t blame her for my … conditions.

The time i spent hating my mother was the worst days I have ever had~ pushing her away, judging her on the spot, and not admitting that deep inside, i did miss her.

I missed her with every bone in my body, i longed for her every waking day of my life, i wished she was at home, cuddling me, telling me stories, lulling me to sleep.

Oh, yeah. Dad was always in charge of the lullabies.

But uhh … I guess, it took time for me to realize that even though she’d done all those horrible things, i never could hate her.

She was my mother.

She still is.

She is only human, and people make mistakes. It is beyond my power to reject someone who is asking for forgiveness. So yeah, i do forgive her. But forgetting about everything that has happened will take quite a while for me to accept. Tons of questions are still waiting to be answered. And since she won’t speak up, my heart continues to ache with seeing her everyday and thinking how unreasonable this woman have been, how she manages to still be able to keep secrets from me, how she can take it all in without her own conscience bothering her.

No, no, i can’t live with that.

I can’t live without an explanation.

I love her. But she’s … she’s not ready yet.

So I’ll give her time. Yeah, I’ll give her some space so she can think.

Hopefully, she’ll tell me everything when i get back.

*sigh*

Unfortunately for her, I don’t think I’m ready, myself, to come back.

All the secrets, all the lies, all the pretenses~ that, i think, might have gotten the best of me. Now, all that’s left is a … a strange, strange girl with a wrecked past, a messed-up present and a twisted future.

The stairway seemed to be infinite. I just kept walking and walking til i felt the sides of each toe of my feet swell just like an irregular insect bite, or something like that. Well, what should I expect ? This is EVEREST, after all, named after the tallest mountain, itself.

So, yeah. I gave up.

I rode the elevator when I finally had the chance, went down to the ground floor and cat-walked to the front door, leaving the building. I entered the busy city streets, crossed roads, ignored the traffic light, bought some cinnamon rolls in the newly opened bakery~ Olivia’s Place, went to the library to return two books i borrowed the other day~ Arie Antiche Volume 3 and A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks which I never get tired of reading over and over again, and then passed by the Cinema to see if there are any new movies to waste my time on. Seeing that there weren’t any, i found myself walking to the narrow street of Route 11, a shortcut to Isla Ferrera, an old, yellow-walled, not-too-shabby condo unit, a few miles from the ocean.

I gazed through the horizon, visualizing light seeping through that horizontal line which separated the sea and the sky. Not a minute or two, that light spread out and colored the air above me, turning indigo into orange, then orange into blue until finally, the clouds show up.

Isla Ferrera isn’t exactly the most luxurious of all condos, but the view, aww man … I’ll never get tired of this.

Glancing at my locket-watch, i saw that it was already 6. Granny Agatha, the old owner of these units usually tends her yard this time in the morning. She’s about 80 years old already, but still insists on staying here for some reason i still haven’t figured out yet. She’s a nice lady and all the tenants like her. Including me, i guess.

I rode the elevator, once again, now here in Ferrera, and got off of it on the 5th floor. Room 38 was my apartment. I fished for my keys inside my white shoulder bag and entered the room, seeing the cream, super boring wallpaper, the polished wooden floor, and my huge, pink suitcase in the blank surface.

I closed the door and sat lazily somewhere there.

I just moved in a week ago.

And classes starts in two days.

Darn it, Angela. You’re alone now, okay? There’s no one to turn to but yourself. You are the master of your own future. You better start working and quit dreaming for a while, think about tomorrow and just … be independent.

You can do this, okay ?

You can do this.

You can do this without them.

You can do this without anyone’s help.

You can.

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The First Sound, Evangeline’s Cry.

William North

Will~

The moment i wake up is the most dreadful part of the dream. And the thought of not remembering was seconding the list.

Forgetting, or even forgetting to remember; it doesn’t matter.

Both felt like hell, and this isn’t exactly an exaggeration.

The first thing i do is wipe the droplets of sweat that lingered on my forehead, long enough for them to fall on my eyelashes, making the view of my apartment a little less crappy, yet a little more cloudy, like there was mist floating through the room. I reach for the side table, where my wrist watch was, checking the time.

It was 3 am~ how usual.

I’ve been waking up this early for days. Trying to go back to sleep was a struggle. Closing my eyes wasn’t exactly the hardest thing to do, but  it was the thoughts that ran across my mind that had tolerated my misery.

And when i finally fell into peace, that voice comes back, yet again.

“Will?”

“Will …”

“Will, smile for the camera, will you ?”

She sounds fine, then. She sounds happy.

But wait, there’s more. The scene changes.

“Will,”

“Will, i~ … i don’t  know what~”

She stutters.

“Will, aaaaagggggh, no!”

“Will, please,”

“Please~ …”

“…”

“…”

“…”

I heard nothing more but sobs and sighs …

… and the voice of a girl, crying.

Her cry led out from a forte into a decrescendo, until the little voice faded out into nothingness.

Then, i wake up.

I knew there was a picturesque! Deep within me, i know, there was a scene to go with the sound! There always is!

But then, all i remember is the music of her cry, and everything that went with it remained blank.

If i were awake in my dream, if i just knew, at that present time, i was dreaming, i might have seen it. I might have seen HER.

I get up, throwing my stuff around, not really in the mood to welcome the day ahead. I reach for my towel in the rack and get into the shower, thinking that maybe a bath might be able to cool my head a little bit. Maybe, i could wash all this madness away, and just forget. Yeah, I’m good at that, aren’t i ?

“Dararum-daram-dum-dum,” i hummed the tune of Rascal Flats’ Changed, picturing myself onstage with the gang. It was a week since we had our last gig, and i felt my fingers itch, thirsty for the touch of a string instrument.

Which reminds me~ the Junior recitals are coming up, and i haven’t had a chance to chose at least one of the available pieces.

Oh.

So, that was why i asked Emmerson to cancel the performance in the Trecker’s.

Good Lord, what am I, an amnesiac? Should i get a doctor or something? I may not have a degree in medicine, but i do know the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Or is it just this shitty dream that keeps my mind away from all the more probable things to think about?

Maybe.

But at most, it is her voice that drives me crazy all these rough nights.

I toss, i turn, my heart crashes and burns, and yet, not a single trail of memory i have, except for the sound.

This is no use.

I can’t keep my mind from thinking about something that’s buried at the back of my neck. I can’t ignore the pain of waking up and regretting doing so. Mostly, I can’t accept the feeling of not being able to do anything about it.

*sigh*

Well, there is still a cure.

Whenever i’m down and out and i have no one else to turn to, music is always here, lighting up my life.

I wear my hooded sweater and snatch my case from across the bar. I open the door and look back inside the room, blinking at the mess, and asking myself why i haven’t had the time to clean it up. Piles of scores are scattered at the foot of the thick, wide bed, the stand is thrown at the surface of the bar, spilled with vodka from the other night, and my guitar, hanging on the wall, had it’s strings detached and became little braids that hung up the old record samples.

We were so drunk that time, Trusty took a photo of me, pissing on his mom’s homemade casserole. It wasn’t that big of a deal, though, coz we’re celebrating Harper’s immediate contract with the Osbourne Philharmonic Orchestra in Milwaukee. Those kinds of things, i can tolerate embarrassment.

I close the door and swear to myself that i’ll fix everything up when i get back. The keys jingled as i shove them into my pocket and for some reason, i knew exactly where i had to go.

Everest was the tallest building in New York city. I almost fell asleep on the elevator every time i took the ride to the top. But it was worth it.

Everest might not be a mountain, but it was my own personal mountain top.

I go here whenever i needed to think and sort things out or just ease the tension a little bit, rather than involve myself with the business of the world below. I go here when i wanted to be alone and bond with myself, which i haven’t done for quite a while and every single thing is just piling up and covering the whole place. I go here when i had nowhere else to go, and realize that you can never really rely on anyone else, than yourself.

And what do i like most about the top of Everest? It’s not the view, just like anyone else would think so.

It’s … the peacefulness of the place.

Far from the ground, i hear less of what is beneath my feet and more of what is above my head.

I hear nothing of the chitchats of the busy people on the sidewalk, arguing with whatever nonsense there is. I hear nothing of the noise of the cars and the beep beeps and the wang wangs and the vroom vrooms of the vehicles passing by. I hear nothing of the pain, nothing of the sadness, nothing of the anger of the world.

High above, i hear the twinkling of the stars in the night, if they ever did have a sound. Maybe it is just my imagination, but indeed i am glad to have experienced it. I hear the rustling of the wind as it kisses my face, and the tune of the raindrops hitting the rubble. I hear my heartbeat and my breath and my pulse and every little thing within me that is alive and beating.

Beating, like a metronome in my head, encouraging me to create music.

And then, i take my violin and lift up my bow, cradling it altogether.

But wait.

Something’s not right, here.

The elevator door opens and finally, i had a view of the staircase, leading to the top floor of the building.

But what is this?

Is it music, i’m hearing?

I took slow steps, letting myself get melted away in the vibrations.

It was a woman’s voice.

It was opera.

Quando Me’n Vo, an aria in La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini.

This … Oh, God, this is masterful!

She is masterful!

The vibrato, the sustains, the longevity of her angelic voice is …

… is superior!

This is something everyone will totally appreciate.

It is only a simple song but the way she sings it … oh …

It takes my breath away.

I stop in front of the door for i can take the magnificence no more. I had my eyes closed the whole time~ the pledged weakness of any musician~ the warmth of such beauty music brings to the heart that makes us just burst out, you know?

But then, the very moment she hit the last note, my heart fell away.

It was as if i was on a spell and finally have woken up.

I need to know her!

I need to see her!

I can’t just let her go!

So i ran, struggling to get the door open and almost tripping to my feet.

But by the time i looked up, i saw the beautiful view of the purple sky, the gorgeous New York city lights, the twinkling stars above me, and not of the mystery lady.

She was gone.

Or am i going mad ?

Was Music, itself, toying with me ?

How can she just disappear?

Rephrase: Did she ever really exist ? Or was i just imagining all of this shit ?

Well, whatever the real answer is, i know what i heard.

And for the longest time, my ears have never fooled me.

Even if Music has.