I walked down the spiral staircase which lead to the music room, the place where Summer and I had agreed to meet. There were still ten minutes left until lessons finished, and I couldn’t help myself by sitting at the piano. Once inside I noticed it was still vacant. I took my blazer off and threw it on the floor. I unbuttoned the cufflinks of my shirt and rolled up the sleeves to my elbows. Finally, I took my strangling tie off and threw it to the floor, resting next to my blazer.
I tried to recall some melody, something to play, but I didn’t need to. It was all in my subconscious, deep inside my brain. I just had to let it go and play what I felt like. I placed my hands on the keys and played a chord. That sound triggered something in my head, and a song I used to hear very often started to fill the entire room.
My hands moved with ease. I was not afraid to make a mistake, nor did they stop me from playing continuously. I just played what I remembered, although no matter how many times I tried they never sounded as good as the melody in my head.
The fast paced song brought an immense joy to my heart. It reminded me of good times, times where I had everything I wanted and needed. That song, I remembered, was usually played at the end of the day when she arrived home from work. She just sat at the piano and I would listen as I played with my miniature cars on the top of it by her side, the flat smooth surface being the perfect spot for my childhood diversions. Sometimes it would get boring hearing the same melody again and again, but now I understood why she played them so many times. It was not the song itself that made her happy, it was the memories. She wanted to relive the memories she associated with the songs she played.
As I thought about it, that’s how music works, how it’s supposed to be. It is a way to transport us to a better place, a world we want, a life we once had but lost. I wouldn’t say music was an escape, it was rather a supplement to carry on with life. I believed memories were supposed to be relieved, the good and bad ones, and what a wonderful way to take us back.
The song soon came to an end and I closed the piano, leaving it how I found it. I then looked down at my watch. Summer should arrive any minute so I remained seated, turning around in the direction of the door and resting my elbows on the closed piano. Then the door flew opened.
“Oh my God, you won’t believe what happened this morning!” Summer immediately said even before closing the door. Her hair was all over the place, her cheeks were crimson. She must have been running from her previous class to here, her heavy breathing indicating so.
“Good afternoon to you too!” I said, my voice full of sarcasm.
She glanced at the articles of clothing on the floor and a doubtful look of suspicion set on her face which I found incredibly amusing. Then she shook her head and directed her attention to me “Mr Hansen found out I skipped the class.”
She threw her bag on the floor and collapsed on a chair that was leaning against the wall by the door “I don’t know, I just know he called me to his office and gave me a lecture.”
“Did he punish you?” I asked.
“No, he likes me too much,” She chuckled at the end of the sentence, taking a portion of her hair and throwing it behind her shoulder.
“Who wouldn’t...?” I mumbled to myself. It was so low she didn’t even hear it.
“But you know, it isn’t that bad,” she continued as she crossed her legs “This was a wake-up call for us. We need to be more careful.”
“Even more careful than we have been seems impossible to me,” I rolled my eyes.
She didn’t say anything after that, just looked at me. There was no need to talk, the silence worked for me perfectly.
As I looked at her I noticed her face held a thoughtful expression. She pressed her lips together in concentration, a habit of hers I had noted long ago. I leaned against the piano and crossed my arms “What are you thinking about?” I asked after some time. She reverted her attention to me and parted her lips to speak, her eyes glimmering. With a deadly serious tone, she said:
“I’m fucking crazy.”
I burst out laughing at her statement.
“And I curse a lot,” Summer added as she looked at the floor, a small smile growing on her lips.
I couldn’t help myself by standing up and walking towards her. She was still sitting down with her legs crossed over one another. I knelt in front of her, our faces exactly at the same height. I placed my hand on her slender neck before pressing my lips to hers. She giggled slightly, and I couldn’t suppress the urge of pulling away just to see her face while she did so. I loved it when she laughed. Her eyes crinkled faintly and the edges of her lips turned upwards. The laugh itself was the perfect note, the perfect tune.
“You know what,” I told her as I held both her hands “We’re both fucking crazy.”
She shrugged her shoulders “If you say so...”
“Have you seen Summer?” I asked Anthony as I walked past him outside.
Anthony was walking at a fast pace and my sudden question almost made him drop the stack of books he carried on one hand.
“Uh, she told me she would be writing an essay at this time, but apart from that I know nothing,” He said as he awkwardly tried to hold all the books.
“Okay, thank you.”
I started pacing down the rocky path that led to Hall A. I had been in the library minutes before and she wasn’t there, so I concluded the only place she could be was our Hall. I wasted no time and went straight to the community room; I examined the noisy room, but she was nowhere to be seen. I went up the staircase to our room, only to find what I expected. She wasn’t there either, so where? If she was writing her essay she had to be in one of those three places.
There was only one explanation. I ran down the stairs as fast as a breeze. I was outside in seconds and sprinting to the library. I opened the doors so abruptly the librarian shot me a death look. I scanned the immense room that was rather empty to see if I spotted Anthony. He was in the labyrinth of shelves as usual, and in no time I reached him.
“I couldn’t find Summer anywhere,” I told him.
He shrugged his shoulders “Okay.”
“Okay?! No, it’s not okay, she lied to you!” I raised my voice considerably.
“Why would she do that?” He directed his vision to the hundreds of books in front of him.
“I don’t know, but there must be a reason,” I probably sounded completely desperate, my thoughts were all jumbled so no wonder.
“Where is this coming from?”
“Look,” I clasped my hands together as I explained, “Haven’t you noticed that she has been acting differently, or better, that she changes her mood very often?”
He turned to the side to face me “I’m listening.”
“I have noticed that since the first day of school after the holidays,” I explained.
He brought his hand to his chin “Now that you mention it, it kind of makes sense...”
“It does, doesn’t it?” My eyes widened as I convinced him. Finally, someone that understood what I meant.
“Do you remember that time when she arrived for dinner really late and she didn’t say a word?” He lowered his voice and inched closer to me.
“You noticed that too?”
“Yeah, something like that was impossible to miss,” Anthony stated.
I looked around to make sure no one was listening. Although I was almost one hundred percent sure she was hiding something, I could be terribly wrong and the last thing I wanted was to start a rumour about my friend.
“She lied to you,” I repeated what I had told him.
“You are not sure of that,” he said as he went back to his bookshelf “Maybe she finished the essay and went to give it to the teacher or something.”
I put my hands on my hips “Do you really believe that? She takes ages to write a single paragraph! Do you really think she finished an essay on Great Expectations in less than an hour? Not even I could to it, not even you could do it.”
His facial expression changed and he opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out of it.
“I know what you are thinking, ‘why would she do it?’, and I have no idea!” I said as I relaxed my arms.
“Something doesn’t feel right,” Anthony said “Why would she lie? She has nothing to hide-”
“I know that, but my sixth sense is telling me otherwise.”
“Oh, so now you have a six sense?” Anthony grinned “Maybe you are the one keeping secrets.”
I sighed heavily “Anthony please, this is serious. I’m trying to make you understand-,”
“Understand what?” He cut me off “Until you have solid proof that she is lying, whatever you say are just assumptions. I do agree she has been acting strangely, but maybe that’s just it.”
I didn’t know how to respond to that. I hated to admit it, but he was right.
“I’m on your side though,” he said after some seconds “And I am as curious as you are, but don’t go all Henry the eight style, killing people because you suspect of them.”
I laughed genuinely at his words “Are you saying I should take this easy?”
“To say the least,” he said as if it was obvious.
Maybe I should. Maybe I was creating a problem where there was none. Maybe I was creating questions that didn’t need to have answers. Or maybe not.
“Do you know what I hate most about school?” Harry stated as he tilted his head backwards. He was sitting on the floor, leaning his warm back against my legs.
“You hate everything about school,” I responded bluntly.
“That’s true,” he chuckled “But do you know what I really hate? It’s like they claim to give you all the opportunities in the world, that they allow you to be whoever you want to be while at the same time shaping us into thinking the same way, and they don’t encourage us to do otherwise. They give us wings through knowledge, but trap us in a cage and don’t let us create ourselves, define ourselves.”
“Nice way of putting things,” I told him “It’s cliché though, but just like most clichés, it’s the truth.”
“Not all clichés are true,” He objected.
“Of course they are, that’s why they are said so many times. If they weren’t true would people still be using them?”
With that he turned around, a frown etched on his face “No they aren’t, how could you possibly think that?”
“Yes, they are,” I said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, because it was.
“No, they aren’t!” He protested.
“Yes. They. Are!” I could serious carry on like that the whole day because I knew I was right.
“No, they aren’t!”
“Then prove it. Tell me one cliché that is wrong, only one,” I crossed my arms over my chest and gave him a challenging look.
After some seconds he sighed in frustration and stood up on his feet. Right, he couldn’t think of any because there were none “You know what, I’m going to prove you wrong, and then you’ll have to swallow your pride and admit that I am right.”
“Bring it on,” I stood up to face him.
He looked at the ground and then at the door. He took his right hand and placed it on the back of his neck as he usually did and said: “We should get going. We’ve been in here for quite a while. People may start noticing.”
“Yeah,” I told him and gave him a half smile. I slowly picked my bag pack from the floor and lifted it over my shoulders. I grabbed the door handle but Harry’s words stopped me from opening it.
“You’re going to leave without giving me a goodbye kiss?”
I turned around to face the most unbelievable boy I had ever met. I scanned him like a cover of a book; he looked so much better without a tie and with his sleeves rolled up. His incredibly captivating eyes held some kind of mystery that was both dazzling and extraordinarily seductive. His rosy lips were agonisingly inviting, but being the proudest person that has ever walked on earth, I didn’t even give him the satisfaction of a smile.
“Not until you prove me wrong,” I stated as I opened the door and left the room. Once closed, I heard a slight groan of frustration from the inside. I could picture Harry pulling at the roots of his hair, a signature habit of his. That thought made me smile, and although I was dying to kiss him all over that perfect face, I kept moving.
There was just nothing compared to the feeling of being wanted.