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musique;

I divided my entire life into staffs and bars, treble clefs and bass clefs, quarter rests and whole rests. I partitioned out the beats I knew that would count and even those that didn’t, but when I breathed I could feel the entire sky sigh with the same melody of that sonata my piano teacher played for me when I was only three, when I still had sticky fingers and couldn’t reach the keys but had such big, big dreams.
It’s such an odd feeling, when your heart is torn: When your head sits at the shore but when your heart is drifting out to sea. Your consciousness evaporates in the sun and in the salt and you mingle in a stagnant in-between, a desolate expanse of I-wish-I-knew-who-I-really-am.
But I mastered this paralyzing concerto—I slashed through the measures with crude ball-point-pen crosses and I tore through the notes with unyielding cruelty. I dressed myself in the shreds of all that I knew I should be but never could be, and I let the stench of this lying suit bury itself into my skin until I could never wash it out, until I became one with the facade.
I wanted to tell someone. I wanted to, so, so badly.
I thought about religion. I thought about how a man could not lie with another man, and yet polygamy was perfectly excusable. I thought about how you were doomed to hell if you believed in any other god, and yet when you were asked to sacrifice your son, it was all in the name of testing your faith. I thought about Christmas mass and Sunday prayers and the Bible and Heaven and Hell. I thought about the Higgs Boson particle and Darwin’s theory of evolution and fossils dating to the Jurassic Period.
And I thought about this: how many truths could there possibly be?
Time passed and I grew older but my heart shrunk a little. I slowly began to shed my paper mache mask and the air felt lighter in my lungs again. I stopped being afraid of the dark but I still liked keeping the light on at night. I gave away secrets but kept some for myself. I bled, I trusted, I believed.
One gray Saturday afternoon, I found an old piano at a garage sale. Its keys were yellow and it stank heavily of mold, but I sat down anyway. I remembered first learning how to ride a bike, and pedaling as fast as I could down the street. My mom had fastened on a helmet but I fell anyway. She raced up to me, worry dug into her face, and my knee was badly cut. But I remember, even as she scolded me while putting a Band-Aid over the wound, how falling felt: Inevitable, mesmerizing, gratifying.
I played a few chords and marveled at how sweet the sound of silence was.



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