Drop Out Part I

By , Falls Church, VA
Robert dropped out of high school junior year because he wanted to be a musician. School orchestra didn’t cut it and besides, he liked playing the guitar much better than the violin. Playing the guitar was his life, something he knew everything about. He spent his days playing his guitar for five hours straight, messing around with modulators and other instruments that skewed the guitar’s natural sound. He had been counseled by lead man, John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a week during the past summer. John had encouraged Robert, who then decided it was time to do what he wanted with his life. On a crisp October afternoon, Robert stood up during a physics exam, gave the thick test a contemptuous glare, and furiously shoved the desk to the ground. The hard metal legs of the desk created a clanging noise as they slammed onto the linoleum floor and the wooden desk top made a hard thud. It was a noise that screamed independence and rebellion. That’s better, Robert thought as he carelessly looked at his classmates, who with glazed eyes bent over their tests trying to concentrate. His torpid physics teacher was still asleep at his desk. Robert slung his back pack over his shoulder and tossed a homemade CD of his music to the teacher's desk like a frisbee,. The CD slid across the desk and landed into his lap, causing him to awaken. With bleary eyes, the teacher watched Robert exit the room.
Robert sauntered to his car and energetically unlocked the doors. As he drove away, he watched the school shrink in his rearview mirror. He would never have to wakeup in the dark hours of the morning to be trapped in a classroom ever again. He was going to move across the country to live in Santa Monica, California, the music scene. Robert was a self-proclaimed musician and he was ready to make music, instead of reading literature and writing essays. The best part was that he would be free of quizzes, tests, and SAT prep. He wouldn’t even have to take the SAT. Robert wasn’t fit for college; he was fit for a lax life on the west coast. Getting signed didn’t matter; just as long as he was playing his guitar. Life as a musician would be unparalleled to any other sort of life, at least for him, Robert had decided.

Robert’s jet black Jeep pulled into a cobblestone driveway. A giant brick house towered over him, a few feet away. The front door opened and a man strutted to Robert’s window. He was short and thin, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a white, well-fitted dress shirt tucked into a pair of olive green, pleated wool trousers. His shoes were brown leather with tiny tassels, matching his brown leather jacket. Uncle Antonio was known around town for his Italian restaurants, one of which Robert had worked at since he was thirteen.

“Uncle,” Robert said, smiling. “Is that a new jacket? I like it.”

“My boy! Yes, it is. Thank you. Why, you are not in school?” He asked, with a slight wink at his nephew. Robert shook his head, grinning. His uncle handed him a golden envelope, which Robert opened swiftly and peered inside. “Grazie, Uncle Antonio!”

“I am very thoughtful, nephew. Spend it however you’d like and you better have some fun out there,” Uncle Antonio advised. The front door flew open and Robert’s cousin Damian rushed to the car and jumped into the passenger seat. ?
“Dude. Take me,” he demanded half-jokingly. Uncle Antonio waved Damian out of the car and he trudged to his father’s side. Robert chatted with his Uncle and cousin for a few minutes then bid them goodbye. He put the car in reverse and sped out of the driveway.

His family’s house was not far from Uncle Antonio's place. Three minutes later, Robert pulled into his own driveway, one that made a large U-shape in his front yard. His home was a splendid, white, colonial-style house. Everything in it and outside of it was perfect, clean, and classy. He opened his front door swiftly and with purpose, and jogged up the spiral, wooden stairs to his bedroom. Once inside, he shut the door carefully and picked up a small remote. At the touch of a button, his favorite RHCP music blasted from the speakers that hung on his ceiling. He guitar-soloed to his closet, ripped clothes off hangars and stuffed them into a large suitcase. He packed paper, pencils, his metronome, and his favorite Vans slip-ons. California, here I come, he shouted and he did a karate kick in the air. Robert John Ricci was escaping farmland Indiana for sunny Santa Monica; life isn’t any better than this, he thought. Once he had packed his essentials, he grabbed his guitar case and made his way to the kitchen.
A few seconds later, the tapping of his mother’s heels and the clomping of his father’s shoes could be heard.
“Mom? Dad?” Robert hadn’t expected his parents to come home early. They knew he had a flight to California that evening, but his parents had never left work early before, for anything.
“We wanted to come home to say goodbye and to make sure you have everything,” his mother explained. Her olive green eyes looked a little wet, as if she was going to cry. Robert hugged her, something he did not normally do with his parents.





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