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Notes on Windsor Drive
It was almost impossible to conceive why in human behavior it came naturally to listen to the rough murmurs of the world. People turned their heads to eavesdrop on the screeching of others when they were only bystanders. People got drawn to the jagged edges along others’ voices as if they had never heard such harshness. Their human interests would be piqued as they lost themselves in the hype of the others’ business, before realizing that they were late for their own lives.
It was also impossible to understand why for some people in the world, like Jason, had a strong instinct to go against the stereotypical human curiosity by finding more enchantment in the whispers of the quiet and soft, rather than those of the coarse. Perhaps they were too used to the severity, and welcomed the difference willingly. Or perhaps, they were drawn to the beautiful things that usually went unseen or unheard.
On a hazy autumn afternoon, past the days of desired summer, but much too early to call the year to a close, Jason swiveled around in his desk chair before stopping once again at his desk. Slamming the palms of his hands onto the wooden surface with a resolute force, he convinced himself that this time he would actually start doing his homework. However, when Jason looked down at the alien-like problems for his algebra assignment, a groan emitted from his lips and he slouched again into the back of his chair.
By the orders of his parents, he was confined to his bedroom without the usage of his iPod until he was finished with his homework. At the rate he was going, it didn’t seem like he would be escaping the four walls of his room any time soon.
Desperate for anything that might provide some sort of entertainment, he had perched open his window in front of his desk to see the glory of Windsor Drive. The rustling of leaves called to him in soft whispers with gleeful intentions. The air filled with the rugged scent of pine needles, still wet from morning dew. The setting sun hit the tree in front of his house at just the right angle so that when he looked upon it with ache, the branches sparked and a display of fireworks burst in front of him, gloating that they were outside and enjoying their surroundings while he could only watch in frustration.
However, merely the showcase of autumn wasn’t the sole reason as to why he kept his window open despite the slowly chilling breeze that it had brought in. While the visual side of it was nearly brilliant, the auditory part was even better –and Jason was not talking about the symphony of nature. No, upon an afternoon more than a year ago, Jason had discovered a greater secret to Windsor Drive, and he only needed to wait a short while to hear it.
At four-thirty exactly, it began. He heard the squeaking of a window opening; a whoosh of wind settling into a room. A soft sliding of wooden cases and then delicate sigh as if somehow relieved from holding in a breath too long.
Shy plinking of the piano played like the pattering of rain –its drops inconsistent as to when it would fall. Coming from the house next to his home, the music floated off so quietly into the air that if Jason hadn’t been anticipating it, he wouldn’t have detected it at all. Already, he could feel himself slipping away from reality, settling into the soothing playing of the girl next door whose music was sweeter than anything he had ever heard.
The girl with the gift of music was in three of his classes at school. They had lived next to each other for over eight years, gone to the same schools for that amount of time, yet not a single word had been exchanged between them in that duration. None at all.
The only thing that could bring them to ties with each other besides school was the day that Jason had run into her on his skateboard when she was on her way to piano class. He had been too flustered to say sorry to her when he had gotten up from his fall, but it was just as well because she had already left with a flurry of her black ribbon hair trailing behind her because she was late.
Every day after that, he had meant to apologize as a reason to talk with her, but the timing was never right, or it was not relevant enough for him to suddenly say sorry.
So he suffered a cold guilt, seeing her and knowing that his courage could never accumulate enough where he would get the nerve to say something to her. Talking to every other girl seemed easy, but when it came to her, Jason felt like his insides had been taken out and, when put back, had been arranged in the wrong order. He wondered how this could be when neither of them had spoken to each other once.
There was a short pause in the song, where her hands faltered as she searched in her heart for the right notes. Jason stiffened greatly, fearing that she would stop her spell that was winding around his chest. In that time, he was pulled further from the cords of his life and toward the anticipation of her beautiful music.
Then the girl with the music began again and all was well except that this time, it would be considerably harder for Jason to return to the dullness of his routinely life once her practice hour was over.
Maybe that was why he cherished her training hours in piano, because when she did not allow the rest of world to really see her, her daily practices were an expression of who she was. While she was a closed book the rest of the day, the time from four-thirty to five-thirty was the one chapter she opened herself up to be read.
Some days, her playing was light and peaceful –a chapter to treasure. Other days, they told of a tousled storm. However, her music told Jason that today had not gone well for her, fore she played a song that would’ve pulled on the hearts of all who stopped to listen. The chords were threaded on broken strings that sounded so alike to sobs that Jason had to make sure that his ears had not deceived him. He wondered what could make her feel so sorrowful upon this afternoon, and he felt a surge of sadness that no one was there to relieve her aching heart.
Jason snapped back to reality when he heard his cellphone ring its annoying tone that he had not bothered to change. Hastily, Jason made a desperate grab, jamming his thumb on the mute button, silencing it with a frantic fervor. But his efforts were wasted because it was already too late.
Suspicious of the intruding noise, the girl stopped playing, letting her hands fall to her lap, hostile towards anyone who might be listening. Jason hoped that she would continue to play, that she would shrug her shoulders in nonchalance.
His hopes were answered by the solid shutting of a piano case and the gentle slam of a window, screeching to a close, blocking him off from her world.
She was gone.
Kicking himself mentally about forgetting to turn off his cell phone, Jason knew the icy truth of silence. The girl would never play with the window open. He would never hear the supple playing of her music again unless in public and that was never the same.
Groaning, he stared blankly at the dismal page of his math homework, despondent in resolutions. Why did he have to leave his cellphone on to disrupt the girl? Why did he have to be the one who made her distrust the world even more?
No, Jason thought. He wouldn’t let that happen. For too long, he had shied away from the girl with the gift because she seemed unreachable for it. He wasn’t ready to relinquish the secret of Windsor Drive. He wouldn’t let it be unheard as if unimportant, laid down as if preparing to be unknown.
Tomorrow, he would finally talk to the girl with the music. Tomorrow, they would meet after so many awkward years of not knowing what to say. Tomorrow would finally be his day, because Jason was determined not to let her music go.