"Dad was...very adamant that you...try your best to forget everything that you saw in that book. He said it's pointless for you to write a song about something that nobody will understand..."
Estelle sighed in what I could only guess was relief. She had a tendency to get herself all nervous and worked up over nothing. I honestly should have thought to calm her down and tell her I was coming before I barged into her house looking as solemn as I did. It had probably stressed her out. Suddenly I felt horrible about how I had handled this. Then, she spoke.
"Is that all it was? It's just a book, Nova...it will be difficult for me to write an original song in a short amount of time that doesn't relate to that, but it's manageable."
"That's the thing...the argument I had with my father wasn't really about the book. He tends to come up with materialistic excuses that lead into a much bigger meaning in a conversation or, most of the time with me, an argument. But he isn't one to beat around the bush either...and that's why what seemed like the main point of the argument made me very suspicious."
"Why? What exactly did he say?"
"He said if the rest of the community knew about something like stars and how beautiful they are that they will want to leave."
"But nobody can leave. We've been learning this from the beginning in school...we all have. No one can go to the surface unless they want a sudden, painful death."
"Right...but what if..."
"I thought you said I needed to stay away from the 'what if'," she said with a smirk.
"Yeah, well this time is different."
She stuck her tongue out at me.
"You're still a hypocrite."
"Whatever. My point is that I'm starting to wonder if maybe there is really a way to leave...he claimed that people are so selfish that they are blinded by danger, but I don't believe that's true. And he had this look on his face like he had just made the biggest mistake of his life and wished he could take back what he had just said."
"Probably because he did."
"I'll have to look further into this, but, frankly I hate lies...and there are things that really don't make sense."
"Surely there's another complicated reason for us being down here that they don't want to get into?"
"Maybe...I've just never seen him that...disoriented before. It was like he was stumbling over every word. You've seen my father before...he's very dignified. It takes a lot to set him off in the tiniest way. And he erupted last night."
"Wow. Well, I'd better get back to the drawing board. I have to submit my first song sample at the end of next week."
She reached a hand out to give the book back to me, but I gently pushed it away.
"No, you keep it."
"But you'll get in trouble."
"I'm not taking it back unless there's a real reason to. Keep working on that first song. Be bold. He might end up liking it."
"You know that will make him angry. I don't want to see him angry, Nova. You're my best friend. Best friends don't purposefully upset each other's families in any way."
"'Stell, I am convinced that there is something very fishy going on here...this is much bigger than me merely being rebellious. Something strange is taking place behind the screen of your television. As soon as I start meetings with the council, I will start investigating this, whether my father likes it or not. I'll have to be in his place someday, therefore it is my responsibility to find out if someone is being misleading. If the council is truly misleading the people, then they should have a good reason for doing so."
"But if I'm doing something illegal..."
"No one said that what you're doing is wrong. Look, by our logic, what you are doing is perfectly sound, alright? Just keep doing what you're doing and the entertainment council will love what you produce. The worst thing that can happen is they initially reject your sample."
I could tell that she was still uneasy about the whole ordeal, but she seemed more determined to continue writing the original song after I'd given her that pep talk.
"Well, honestly thank goodness, because I've already finished the first page of this sheet music. You have no idea how long it takes for me to write this stuff down."
"I thought you could compose a song in your sleep?"
"Well, yes, but I play by ear when it's just for myself. I haven't written all of my songs down. I just remember them. Many of them do not have lyrics either. This one has lyrics and is being played by somebody I don't even know, so I have to have this written out perfectly and, believe it or not, the music may sound beautiful, but I was internally screaming throughout the writing process."
I stared at the music notes and other weird symbols on her paper that I didn't understand and whistled really low.
"I didn't realize. I guess, in some cases, I have it easier than you. That doesn't seem enjoyable in any way."
"Doing it isn't. But the end result of playing it is very rewarding."
"Even if it's just for yourself? You don't play for others that much. At least, nothing you write is played for others."
"That's different...there are things in many of those songs that I would rather not share with other people, many involve a dark, upsetting place in my heart that I don't really wish to inflict upon anyone."
I forget sometimes how shy and unsure of herself Nova is. It isn't really stage fright that she has. It's more of a self esteem issue. Rebellion in any shape or form scares her...that's why I was so nervous to tell her about what my dad had said.
And as she turned around to set the book back on her bed with slightly shaky hands, I knew.
I couldn't tell her that, if it was a possibility, I wanted to leave. That would only scare her more.
And I couldn't bear to leave without her.