After Nova left, I decided to sit in my room for an hour and think about everything she’d told me. It both angered and scared me that the Surface Council might have been lying to us this entire time. Or at least, hiding an uglier truth. I’ve never been one for liars, even if it is an attempt to protect other people. I knew I couldn’t necessarily go off of everything Nova was telling me, because even she wasn’t sure. Still, she was my closest link to what truly went on inside the government.
I shook my head. Now was not the time to worry about something that I wasn’t even sure about. I needed to focus on the song and only the song. I flipped through the pages of Nova’s book for what seemed like the fiftieth time, even though I had practically memorized everything in it after the tenth. In truth, I was procrastinating. I knew what to write about, I was just scared to write it. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t really know where to start. If I was going to write about something this personal, especially considering that I had never told anyone about this before, I wanted to convey it correctly. I wanted everyone to feel what I felt. The point of emotional songwriting was to take the audience on the same roller coaster ride that you have been on, but they experience it in a very contained amount of time, so you’re forced to exaggerate everything through metaphorical wording and emotional tone in order to give them the same strong feelings you’ve experienced throughout a much longer time period. I didn’t know which was more complicated, the scientific policies and theories that Nova was studying or effective songwriting. Or maybe they weren’t even comparable.
I decided to write two songs to send in to the entertainment council. Then, hopefully, they would pick the one they wanted me to perform and I could be content knowing that that was what they wanted in the first place.
I opened up my notebook and started writing the second, starless song. Within an hour, the first draft was finished. I closed my notebook and opened up the astronomy book again, looking at the stars. They were so beautiful. I could understand why Nova got so excited over them, even if I didn’t understand all of the science behind them that she did. I supposed there was a part of me, deep down, that wanted to see stars in real life some day, but I was pretty sure I could live without them. I had most of what I needed down in Caldera. My family, my music, my friends...except I didn’t really have that many friends. I had acquaintances, sure, but Nova was my only best friend.
It only took me a minute longer to realize how selfish I had been over the last couple of years. How I never really showed a real interest in her scientific studies, and yet she was always interested in my music; how I never played anything for her because I was too nervous, but she would do everything she could to help my songwriting, even, in this case, if it would get her into trouble. She cared about me a lot more than I realized, and she showed it in the best way. I’d just spent all this time being so guarded, because I knew, deep down, we would hardly see each other once we started our different jobs. I would be expected to settle down with one of the common folk and raise a family. Nova would have a family someday, but her job as a government leader would come first. I’d been so stupid to keep my walls up for this long. She’d been trying to reach out to me for ages, and I was just then realizing how trapped she must feel. Her entire life, she’d never had a say in anything. Of course, going to the surface was her only hint of hope for freedom. Whether her father actually said the things he did or she just liked the idea of him saying them...wait, no, she wouldn’t lie about that. And she certainly wasn’t delusional. He must have actually said them. And she probably wanted to leave as soon as she knew for sure it was safe to. We had playfully mentioned, when we thought it wasn’t possible at all, that we would go to the surface together on the day that it became livable once again, but, with the possibility becoming even more realistic, I realized that it terrified me. I didn’t necessarily want to leave the only life I had ever known at the drop of a hat, but I couldn’t imagine living here without Nova.
I would have to make a decision soon. Before it was too late.