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She threw herself on the bed and let out a sigh. She looked up at the clock on her wall and it read 6:13. She got out of the bed, walked near her dresser mirror and had a look at herself. People had always told her she represented so many parts of her mother. Amelie had her mother’s dirty blonde locks. They cascaded below her shoulders, highlighting her features. She also had her mother’s high cheekbones and green eyes.
The smell of her mother’s cooking then seeped through her bedroom door, and her stomach rumbled.
Just then, Angela knocked on her bedroom door and peeked through.
“Hey,” Angela said.
“Why don’t you come down, you could use some food right now. I had a pretty hectic day too. “
Her big sister had her hair tied up in a messy bun. Her hair was a lighter shade of blonde, following their father. Amelie moved her gaze away from the mirror and replied to Angela
“Alright,” she said. “I’ll be down in a bit.”
Angela slipped away from the door. She felt the echoes of the stairs as she went down.
Her stomach rumbled which obviously means one thing. She turned off the music and went down the stairs and into the dining room near the kitchen. She found her mother, placing the plates on the table and Angela helped her. Her dad got up from the living room couch, closed his newspaper and gave Amelie a light kiss.
“Hey dad,” she said. “How are you doing?”
He patted her head and said “Not so well hon, I’ve been getting tired these days, it’s getting to me.”
She noticed the tiredness in his eyes.
She sat down along with the family and dug in. The sense of normalcy always lingered around them. The clang of the spoons and forks were all that was heard. She tried to break the tension by actually talking to them. Her father discussed about her photography, her father about his work and Angela about school and the demanding work since it was her last year of highschool.
When dinner ended, Amelie got up from her seat and went to the sink. Her mother stopped her,
“Go freshen up hon, I’ll take care of it”, she said.
“Thanks mom,”, Amelie slightly stammered and made her way back up to her room. She could hear the faint sound of conversation among them as she went up.
At times she felt the sense of need for her family, she sees them everyday but tries to deny that her relationship with her parents was going astray.
She went to her dresser and took out her pajamas, walked over to the bathroom, undressed herself and allowing the warm waterfall to embrace with feeling of relaxation, sweeping away her previous thoughts along with it.
The after-shower chill gave her a light shiver. She turned her mind to her faithful companion, music. She went over to the stereo, turning off everything else except her bedside lamp. Once again the air of her room was filled with the distinct melodies that flowed in the space around her. She walked and let herself fall on the soft contours.
She led herself to wonder about where she was going with her life. It triggered a part of her brain, allowing the gears inside rolling and made her think that something just has to be done. The music allowed her to slowly drift away. It rolled through the night until she finally fell over the edge of sleep and off to a slumber, as her thoughts remained somewhere behind the doors of her mind.
Morning light pounded on her curtains, and faint rays of sunshine embraced her room. She heard the birds sing outside and also the roll of tires of her dad’s car and the clang of the house gate as it closed.
Then she rolled over to her side, and she suddenly felt her heart silently ache for someone to lie next to her, and for her to bury her head on their shoulder, and just remain there until time passed.
A short and sharp memory appeared in her head.
“Wake up, love.” Jeff said.
And he kissed her forehead ever so delicately, like she was a fragile flower that the slightest false move would leave her bruised
She brought a hand to her head as she snapped that memory shut. Willed herself to get up, she looked around her room and looked around her books stacked up on shelves, longing to escape to them. She slipped into her clothes as she freshened up in the bathroom. Then she packed up the books for the day and made her way downstairs.
“Hey girl, you’re looking very simple today.” Angela said.
Amelie laughed lightly, “Yeah as long as I get to school”
Angela wore black legging, with a grey high waist skirt and a white blouse. She was always the more fashionable one, yet she still kept the conservative edge to it.
They made their way downstairs and were greeted by their mother, and the smell of pancakes filling the dining room.
“Morning sunshine’s,” Julie said. “Nice to see you both dolled up for the day.” and gave them both a big kiss.
Breakfast went as usual; the rays of sunshine were now shining down over the neighborhood. Then when breakfast ended, Angela grabbed her car keys and they greeted their mother goodbye for the day.
They walked outside and went over to Angela’s car. They drove through the town; and Amelie somehow loved the morning ambience. The invigorating weather just felt different, cleansing to her mind and soul. The sign of a new day, and it felt like anything could happen, though she could only wonder.
They finally reached school and Angela parked in the parking lot. Students were parking their cars, chatted with each other, and one girl stumbled over the many books she carried.
Angela turned towards her sister and smiled. Amelie swore she could feel the hint of sympathy.
“Alright, here we are. Make the best of your day Amelie.”
She gave Amelie a little wave as she walked away.
Amelie went out of the car and walked to the front door and made sure, as always, that she didn’t get in anyone’s way. She finally went to her locker, and hoped to see her best friends, Sam and Lily.
Then she noticed a patch of familiar brown hair among the many students in the hallway. She hugged her calculus textbook.
There he was, Brian.
Floppy hair perched on his face, slightly fell over his hazel eyes. He gave her a short look and a nod, and maybe there was a smile thrown in there too. She didn’t know, her heart was beating too fast.
She drew a ragged breath and closed her locker and went to the notice board across the hallway. Her eyes found their way to the poster of the talent show. She immediately thought of her guitar back in her room, and words appeared in her head,
Step out of life’s gloomy rooms…
Then she jumped as Lily slaps her shoulder. She turned around there were Lily with Sam. She had on a tie-dye shirt, purple jeans and flip-flops. Sam was on his usual vintage t-shirt and knee-ripped jeans.
Brimmed with a smile, “Ah, I can see the look on your face. You’re interested in that are you?” Lily said.
Lily seemed to just have this vibrant air around her. Filled with glee, she looked at the poster
Amelie hesitated, and Sam lightly punched her on the shoulder.
“Come on” he said. “You know you want to”.
Her mouth curved into a smile and she replied, “Alright guys. You got me”
The sharp ringing of the bell separated all students into their classes. Lily laid a supportive arm on Amelie’s shoulders as they walked into Calculus class,
The whole day seemed to go by like a blur. Everything was overshadowed by the image of the poster as it strolled in and out of her mind. Various melodies kept coming to her, and it filled her soul with a longing.
She had begun to find a light at the end of the dark tunnel she had been walking through. Maybe.
Angela said, “You totally should join Amelie! I just hate to see you wallowing around.
“Well, I don’t know, what if they won’t take me seriously? And there are those girls who would obviously own the show”
Amelie paced around her room,
“Come on Amelie, you’ll never know if you don’t try”, said Angela, and walked over to Amelie.
Amelie glanced at her and then to the green guitar placed on her study desk.
“Look I know you’ve been having a hard time lately. But you know I care about you”, Angela said.
“I know how the others treated you, and it’s hard. I think it’s time for you to step out of that shell, and stand up for those who don’t have a voice”. She placed her arm around Amelie.
“I know you well. You can do it, you just need that extra push.”
It was as if something had struck her and made her want to sweep away the spider webs that had been clouding over her for a long time, and step into the sunlight. She quietly thanked Angela and now she was ready
Days passed after the talent show audition, and Amelie remembered the sense of triumph when the committee accepted her. She was with her guitar, a pen and paper with Sam and Lily during the extra minutes of lunch. She thanked the grassy outdoor venue. Then Lily nudged her as Brianna, her blonde hair flowing behind her, with vicious eyes stared right at Amelie.
“Look what the cat dragged in to the talent show!”, said Bree, flipping her hair. “You won’t stand a chance even with your friends helping you.”
And as if on cue, Brian stepped beside her, “Leave it Bree”, he said.
“Oh Brian, standing up for the girl aren’t you?” said Bree. Her voice was ice cold. “We’ll see what happens”, and she walked away.
Amelie’s mouth gaped open and when he looked at her, she quickly closed it. He smiled at the three of them and he offered his help to join her on the talent show.
She looked at Sam and Lily who both smiled in anticipation. Amelie could hardly believe that Brian was willing to help them, to help her. There was no doubt that she was looking forward on practicing.
They just needed two weeks, and on the weekend, she spent hours curled up in her room, writing a song with her guitar. It was as if her words were her diary and she would scream out her feelings on paper that had been bottled up for so long.
Amelie practiced with Brian since he would be accompanying her with the guitar. Her parents were surprised to have a boy with Amelie in the house, but she explained everything to them, much to their satisfaction.
“You know, you have a gift Amelie.” Brian said as he dazzled her with the smile she knew so well, like the words of her favorite song.
“Thanks Brian”, she said.
She returned a feeble smile back at him. He reached out with his hand and lightly brushed his fingers on her cheek, sending sparks of warmth to her body.
They were sitting at the balcony of her house afterschool; she was sitting across from him as he let himself rest against her guitar. The whole time, she relished every waking moment with him. She noticed the way his hazel eyes shone in the sunlight, and she loved the small patch of yellow circling his pupils.
But at the same time, she felt fear. Her heart was once given away to a boy whom she never thought would abandon her, but he did, and he left her heart out in the cold. She got it back from him, but the wounds were still there and she tried to wipe away the memories that were starting to crawl into her head. At times her sudden fears of being around him rendered her speechless.
And not only that, she kept thinking that Brian only wanted to help her just to boost more of his status at school, she tries to search his face for signs of honesty. Whenever he caught her eyes gently prying on him, he would let out the most real and genuine look at her.
Brianna came to her a few times to drop a few nasty comments at her direction. She wondered how one person could just be enwrapped in such icy wickedness; maybe there were tiny pieces of insecurities Bree was trying to cover. Brianna’s piercing cold hair seemed to just go by Amelie, she didn’t let that get into her as much as it had in the past. She just sang and sang with Brian as he complimented her tune with the guitar, she couldn’t help but smile at him as she sang, eyes at the way his fingers glided across the frets.
The talent show finally came. It was a moderately warm Saturday night. Amelie and Brian were backstage among the other students. She glanced around and saw a group of students she knew huddled around in their dance costumes, humbled in prayer.
Her heart thrashed against her chest, as soon she would step onto the stage with Brian.
Sam and Lily approached them,
“Good luck girl! I’m sure you’re going to do great, and Brian sure knows what he’s doing!”, Sam said as he hugged Amelie.
“Show them what you can do, we’ll be down there supporting you”, Lily winked.
“Thanks guys! I really appreciate it.” Amelie said.
She gave Sam and Lily a hug and they patted Brian on the shoulder. She laughed and looked up at him; he stood next to her with a mild look of nervousness on his face. He gazed down on her with a reassuring smile and a comforting arm around her. She leaned into his chest and breathed in his boyish scent.
Minutes later, their names were called out. Brian grabbed the guitar and his eyes spoke comfort and confidence to her. He gave a quick tilt of his head, and she followed him out onto the glimmering yellow spotlight on the stage.
Her fear rushed through her body as she walked onto the stage under the light; a collective applause emerged from the audience. The lights around the room are dimmed except for the spotlight on her and on Brian. He sat onto the stool with his guitar.
With a glance at him, he nodded as music flowed from the guitar like waves going over her feet. She opened her mouth as she sang the first few notes, and her fear died down as she sang. Emotions welled through her voice right until the end of the song.
Applause rang through the school auditorium; she thanked them with a smile and bow along with Brian. Sam, Lily and her parents were cheering with smiles upon their faces. She walked offstage with Brian, hands intertwined.
They were backstage once again; Amelie was filled with such happiness, and fearless. She turned to him with glee,
“Oh my gosh Brian! That was—that was fantastic! I felt like a nervous wreck up there but as soon as the music starts, the fear just crashes down”, Amelie jumped as she said it.
“You were great Amelie, you deserved that stage”, Brian said and smiled.
“Thanks! This is probably one of the best nights of my life, thank you so much Brian for helping me, I couldn’t have---“
Her words were cut short as Brian silenced them with a kiss on her lips. She returned it and when they broke away, both of them smiled and the sparks between them, could no longer be denied.
The night ended with praises and hugs from people who usually ignored her and being with her friends, Brian and her family. She saw Brianna as she gave her a cold look, and much to Amelie’s surprise, she just walked away.
The next morning Amelie woke up and she felt like a butterfly out of its cacoon. And the memories of her performance drew a smile on her face. She was no longer afraid of standing up for herself to others and gained back her confidence. She wanted to live life to the fullest and waste no opportunities. Her relationship with her parents turned out for the better
She returned back to school feeling bright and fearless. She busted through the school doors and was greeted by other students. She came up with an idea for a school article about learning to find you and soar through challenges, and eventually finding that light at the end of the tunnel. Amelie could almost picture the article posted on the very same notice board.
Looking beyond other students, she hoped to see Brian. And as if on cue, there he was walking towards her. The sunlight went through the hallway windows, beautifully shining over him. Her face lighted up as she saw him as he dazzled his smile at her. Her heart was once again beating too fast.
This time, there were no doubts. She looked up into his eyes and saw the familiar yellow patch around his pupils. Embracing her newfound self, she knew in his eyes, she belonged.