Orchestra This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 12, 2012
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The bell rings and the orchestra begins.
The teacher’s voice drones slowly on as pencils scurry, keeping time to her vocal metronome. It’s a steady rhythm, fluctuating at the end of each slide and resuming tempo to the click of the mouse. The writing instruments are almost akin to musical ones. The plain wooden pencils are steady and deep like gold brass trumpets and baritones. The almost unheard and smooth ballpoint pens are the clarinets, quietly in tune. The smooth ballpoint pens are clarinets, quietly in tune, only heard with they begin a new note, the soft tap on paper. The squeaky mechanical pencils are flutes; one second they lie beneath the overall sound and then a sudden octave change that everyone hears. The clicking and tapping of bored minds is percussion, keeping everyone else in time. Their notes are their sheet music and the arc of the teacher’s arm a conductor’s baton.
A silent orchestra playing the most subtle music.
But within the order there is anarchy. With my black ink pen as my sword and its cap as my sheath, I plunge into a new piece, a world of my own making. My pen dips and swirls to the chaotic beat of my frantic and scrambling heart. Out comes an army of doodles: the curlique foot soldiers, tornado-swirl infantrymen, and polka dot lieutenants. At their head, a dragon general, spitting fire and lightning from its uneven mouth. They march over dilapidated algebra formulas and burn theorems to the ground, showing no mercy to the victims.
Their target: a girl with a heart of ice.
When I close my eyes I see her icy beauty and her careless smile. She turns her head with a coquettish grin, luring in her next victim. But I am immune. I watch from the background as other innocent boys fall through her trap. But not me. I wonder, does this make me more of a man than them? To have fallen once but remain intact still.
I let my dreams take the lead and, like slowly growing vines, the drawings spill out from their paper confines. They stretch across the floor, creating an inky underbrush, and extend up the walls. Soon the room is submerged in a jungle of wild doodles, free to roam the stuffy classroom.
The orchestra continues, steady and ignorant.
The dragon general rallies his troops and they parade up the blackboard. A scribbled teardrop lags behind and is abandoned. It holds no place in the quest for justice. They fill the board until every space is occupied and stand at rest, waiting for my command. When I say nothing they improvise, using my heart as a ledger and write:
Why? What did I do? Was it something I did?
It’s all my fault....
What did I do wrong? How can I make it right?
Tell me what I should have done.
Tell me why....
In my grief and rage, my fingers grasp at the paper and, in one fluid motion, my creations are destroyed. Gone are the inky black canopies of striped leaves on the ceiling. Gone are the polka dot lieutenants, the tornado-swirl infantrymen. Gone is my dragon general. And gone are the words that my heart poured out without restraint.
The orchestra has played their final crescendo. The instruments clatter as they are packed noisily away. The music that was never there reverberates in the cacophony of voices, growing louder and louder still.
It has always been there, sitting patiently and waiting.
Waiting to be heard.

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SophieSchnitzel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 20, 2015 at 9:13 pm
Wow. Just wow.
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