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Music and Love
I looked up at the heavens, singing the song that I had written with all the hope and love that I was capable of expressing, that had a piece of my heart in it. I closed my eyes and placed my hand against my stomach, trapping the air there, saving it for the next notes of the song. I sang and sang, spilling my heart out, letting my fans take whatever they wanted out of my torrent of emotions. And finally, the grand ending began, the gradual rise to the final soprano note that my song was famous for. I had made it so that it would be an anticipated surprise, and it had come out just like I had wanted it too, horrible and wonderful and scary and comforting, a contradiction and an agreement. I took a deep breath, filling my lungs, eager for the finale to begin. I waited for the bang of the bass, my cue to start singing again, and there it was, just like it had been waiting for me also. I opened my mouth, closed me eyes, and sang my heart, my hopes and fears, the truths of life and the lies, letting my every thought flow out into the conclusion of one of my best songs. The song ended and I waited for the music to end also until I opened my eyes, wanting to cherish the last notes of a perfect ending, wanting that amazing happily-ever-after feeling. The soft melody of the piano and acoustic guitar gently chased each other around in my mind’s eye, creating the perfect symphony of hope and tragic beauty. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sensations streaming through me, the wonder at how lovely the music could be when played exactly right, the pride of knowing that I was involved in illustrating such an intricate picture.
And finally, the last seconds of the music ended also, and there was that one moment of silence, the one split second where fate and time intertwine, determining how destiny would turn out. This was that one instant, where the crowd decided whether they appreciated my music or outright hated it. After it passed, I was rewarded; they went ballistic, cheering cries of delight and bliss. I loved this part of my career the most. I loved the feeling of pleasure I got when I saw that they were so happy because of me, that I was responsible for bringing such content into people’s faces.
Plus, this always encouraged me to do what I always did and didn’t think I would ever stop doing, as long as I stayed in this type of career. In my short life, I have experienced many great things, the gift of true friendship, of a truly loyal person who cares about you and everything about you. At every show I performed, I witnessed a person like this, a person who cared about me as much as I cared about them, and they were always the easiest to spot out in the crowd of millions. At this show, he was a tall male, gangly and experiencing the downsides of puberty and teen hood, his glasses perched on his pointy nose, and his face covered in pimples, looking as if he were my age. He was looking at me with such utter worship that I found it hard to look him straight in the eyes, as if he was too bright a light to look straight at. But, I took the risk and looked him squarely in the face, and the transformation was unmistakable. He features changed into a mask of sheer astonishment and joy, and as he peered back up at me over the rim of his round glasses, I smiled down at him, feeling the connection beginning to form, just like it always did. I lifted my finger and beckoned for him to come closer. He instantly obliged. He started pushing past people, mouthing silent “excuse me’s” to all the bystanders giving him dirty looks. He was coming at me, oblivious to their glares. He ascended the steps, and took my extended hand with an incredulous expression on his face. I beamed at him, watching the way his eyes widened and lit up. He reached for me at the same time that I reached for him and I squeezed hard, as if I had known him all my life, which I felt like I did. As I wrapped my arms around his torso; he was too tall for me to reach up to his shoulders, I felt something hard beneath his shirt, and a tube connecting up to his swept back hair, disappearing beneath it. I frowned, unsure what this was, and expelled the thought a moment later. I had no care for whatever his circumstances were, because all I knew was that I was instantly fond of him. I pulled back and gazed up at him. After a moment I turned back to the crowd, noticing a woman standing where he had been standing, crying, several tissues pressed to her face. After I realized she was his mom, I smiled and waved at her just as she did the same. He pointed and whispered in my ear, “Mommy…mine”
I nodded, “She seems like she’s very nice. What’s your name?”
“My name Michael” he replied, twisting a lock of his hair and smiling at me. I smiled back and he started fiddling with his shirt and tugging at the strings on his pants at the same time. I took his hand and looked out over the millions of people, raising our intertwined hands and putting the mike to my mouth, beginning to sing another song. This one was about love and all the ways it could be expressed. I again remember all the blessings in my life, the many opportunities I was grateful to have. However, nothing in life adds up to this, this feeling of being loved. The world may have people who are different and the same, it might have people who are mean and some that are nice, but no matter how different and how quickly the world is changing and moving on, there are some things in life that will never change. Music and love are two of those precious, rare things.
I looked up at her, seeing her singing her feelings out to me, as if we had a special connection, although how she would remember me in this crowd of millions, I have no clue. She was singing her famous song, the one that had reached out to me in the first dark days when I had learned that not everyone was nice to a nerdy boy with a severe case of Autism. Listening to her voice had always calmed me, when all else had failed. People on the outside saw me as a regular boy with glasses who was abnormally tall, but I was anything but. Once they talked to me, their face would change from friendly and welcoming to sympathetic or disgusted. Whatever it was, I always felt like I could forget; or rather accept, about those things here, in the presence of her soothing yet overwhelmingly amazing voice. The way her music and songs made me feel was indescribable. She erased all the pain I’ve had to live with for so long. The pain of those late nights alone in my bedroom, after I had first been diagnosed with autism, listening to my mother’s muffled sobs and my father’s disheartened reassurances. Knowing that I was the cause of that pain was even worse. Eventually my dad backed out, because apparently he didn’t know that I was part of the package deal of marrying my mom. So he picked up and left us, every month he pays the minimum amount of child support and the divorce wasn’t even a nasty, horrid one because there were no custody arguments. If one of the parents doesn’t want the child, there really is no custody agreement. He went along with absolutely no reluctance to my mother’s no visitation rights rule. And just like that, some papers were signed, a couple courts attended and he was gone…poof. My mom still gets mad at me when I talk about how the only reason we’re such a dysfunctional family is me. The reason my dad left, the reason my mom is lonely, the reason she has to give up most of her lousy hair salon paycheck to send me to my fancy private school so I can learn how to talk, at age 14. All of those things are my fault, especially my dad leaving. Funny how when your entire world is a dim and isolated place, one of the brightest lights to guide you can disappear so fast, leaving you in the dark, all alone, again.
Anyhow, as I said, I’ve learned to accept these things, and move on. Just then, she finished the last chorus of the song, beginning the rise to the finale, as I liked to call it. I loved these 30 seconds most, out of her every album and song. They made me feel so alive, as I wasn’t held back by the limitations of Autism, as if I was a normal teen who could do anything. As I listened to her song, I was flying, flying over the he** that my life had become, over the pain that rain deep in that he**. I could forget about those things, though, when I was flying, because when you’re flying, people tend to never look down at the terrors that lay below them.
She finished with a grand, final beat and stared out at the crowd, like she always did. There was the one moment of silence from all us listeners, our hearts and minds, our very souls even, shocked by the profound intensity her music subtly emanated. Then the crowd erupted, cries of happiness and worship sprouting up all over the place. I, on the other hand, just stared and stared at her in that one moment of oblivion, marveling at her perfectness; at the way she carried herself, the way she seemed to be radiating love and hope and all things natural and good, unlike me, the abomination of nature. As I gawked, she waved and smiled at my fellow admirers. Then, as she was greeting several people, her eyes passed over me, a quick, hurried glance, as if it hurt her to look at me. Of course, I thought, looking at me must hurt her innocent, naïve eyes; she probably hadn’t been introduced to a monster like me yet. However, instead of moving on to saying polite “hello’s” to people around me, she looked straight at me, holding up a hand and asking for me to come closer. I didn’t believe it. Someone like her didn’t communicate with people like me. But, whatever her reason was, I started bustling through the crowd, all I could see was her, the entire world had disappeared, the flashing lights, the shouting fans, gone. I climbed the stairs carefully, her offering her hand as I approached the last step. I took it, not able to think straight. The second our hands touched though, I woke up. I completely and totally believed it. Her contact was like a pleasurable sting through my veins, it flowed through my bloodstream, piercing the hazy fog of pain and sorrow I had unknowingly been carrying around with me for my entire life. We reached for each other simultaneously and she squeezed hard around my torso. I felt her hand graze the hearing aid that was strapped around my back, and my breathing stopped completely. However, she either didn’t notice it, or chose to ignore it, because she pulled back and gazed up at me, smiling her wide smile. Just then she noticed my mother, who I had all but forgotten, standing where I had been standing, crying. My mother crying was familiar, expected even. But this was different, totally different. She was crying happy tears; I could see it in the way her eyes were lit up, reflecting my own. I pointed to her and leaned down to whisper in her hear, “Mommy…mine.”
She nodded, “She seems like she’s very nice, what’s your name?”
“My name Michael,” I said, sounding like a total loser. I starting fiddling, up on stage with her, and I normally would’ve been embarrassed, but I couldn’t think about anything but her anyway. She took my hand, laced her fingers through mine, and raised our intertwined hands as if it was a symbol of hope or love, or maybe both. She began singing the next song, our hands still locked, this one about the many forms of love.
Listening to the song, holding her hand, looking down at my strong yet incredibly breakable mother, I realized two things at once. Love, in whatever form, would always stay the same. My world might’ve started spiraling out of control 11 years ago and massive changes did take place after my family fell apart, but my mother’s love for me had always been there. Guiding me when my world was dark, shedding light after my father left. Love would always be there, to help me dig myself out of however deep a hole I had fallen into. I also realized that throughout my life long fight with Autism, a disease with mysteries yet to be solved, music had also always been there by my side, helping me in times when on one else could. Music reached out to me, it was that shoulder I could cry on when I was upset, the intangible friend I could dance with when I was elated. This world is always spinning, spiraling, changing, moving so fast that things come and go in the blink of an eye, but some things will always stay the same. Some things will always be a constant. Music and Love are two of those precious, rare things.