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One more step, I thought, swallowing the lump in my throat as I forged onward. Running through a blizzard would've been a lot easier. No one would be there to notice me. Here, there were hundreds of people, analyzing my every move. Their eyes were like wolves, devouring every little detail of my appearance. At this moment, my understanding of loneliness dissolved. Why would anyone be unhappy being alone had they suffered from these looks?
I wished I was still backstage, clutching the velvet curtains in terror. Fearing an action was easier then actually doing it. Out here on the stage, enveloped in the bright light of the spotlight, I felt vulnerable. Those watchful eyes were like the malignant glares of ravens!
“Here she is; Elli Finn!” Taking a deep breath I nodded to the host, who stepped back and let me have the microphone.
I closed my eyes, letting my fingers close over the cold microphone. I could feel my rapid breaths against my hands. Biting my lip, I wished to disappear one more time before I opened my eyes.
“I'm Elli Finn,” I choked into the microphone, my hands shaking so much that the microphone nearly fell from my hands. “And I've come to sing for the school talent show.”
The silence was deafening. Their dark menacing glares grew ever more horrible. Tears welled up in my eyes. I felt like my throat had been tied into a knot. I couldn't sing! I just couldn't... They would hate my voice no matter how well I sang! All through the talent show, only friends and family had applauded, and only out of politeness. There was no enthusiasm. I would get nothing!
A single cheer broke the silence. My eyes flashed to its source, but they were buried deep in the crowd. None of my friends had been able to attend, and my family was clearly visible and it was obvious that not one of them had given the sudden support. The cheer had to be someone I didn't know.
Strangely, that sole cheer, that expression of kindness from a stranger, fueled a new fire within me. I could sing!
Suddenly, my every thought and fear disappeared. Without time to realize what was going on, I felt my song leap up from the depths of my mind. In that moment, the music overwhelmed me, and suddenly it was like the song was my brain.
The music exploded within me, and, suddenly, the song was all I was. I could feel the notes and the words flowing through me. Every muscle, every fiber of my being was completely devoted to this song. I could feel it in my finger and my legs, but most of all, my heart. It wasn't in my heart like I cared for this specific song. No; my heart had physically joined into the song, beating to the rhythm of the music and growing heavy or light depending on the mood. I was the song.
I hardly realized it when the music ended. Only when the words stopped coming out did I realize that the song had come to a close. Immediately I missed the words flowing through me, but the longing for music quickly dissolved as my normal mind regained control over my body.
At first the audience was silent. Pain hit me with that realization, but it came to a quick stop.
A boy, a stranger, stood up and broke into a loud round of applause. A standing ovation. It was him! ...The one who had cheered for me! I was immediately hit with an ache to see him, the one who had roused the music within me.
The rest of the audience chimed in before I could see him clearly. The whole audience gave a standing ovation, a feat I should have been infinitely proud about.
Strangely, though, it felt like the whole audience clapping didn't mean anything anymore. It was that one boy, the one who had guided me into that song. Only he mattered.
Again, impulse took over my body. I hurdled off of the stage. I wove through the crowd, no longer caring what they thought. I had to find the spark that had ignited my powerful burning fire of song.
The audience started to sit, preparing for the next talent. It was steadily getting easier to find my way... to find him.
Finally, in my peripheral vision, I caught sight of an extended arm. His extended arm!
I broke into a run, plowing through the still standing people. He was here. I would see him in only a second's time!
The boy caught my hand and pulled me near. Instantly his appearance stole my attention.
His soft silky brown eyes were like an ocean of caramel, so sweet and lovely that my heart skipped a beat when I first saw them. They had a special shine that I couldn't put into words; something beautiful and strange at the same time.
The stranger's curly bronze hair was slightly longer then the norm, reaching slightly past his ears. The boy's smooth heart-shaped face was a creamy strawberry, dusted with freckles like little chocolate specks. His face seemed built for smiles and his lips were shaped into an everlasting grin.
When he pulled me close as his cute endless smile shifted into a divine, brilliant grin. I could suddenly feel music bubbling up within me. This music was different, though. The notes brought only one image to my head- his face.
“Hi,” He whispered, drawing me closer so that we were only inches apart. “I'm Freddi.”
“Elli,” I breathed.
His grin transformed into an amused smirk. “I know.” He laughed quietly, a sound that made music ring in my ears. In that moment, I knew. Freddi was the spark that lit my fire, and I needed him. I knew that Freddi, the stranger I'd just met, was going to be part of my life.
“Do... do you feel it too?” His whisper was even quieter now, as soft as the sound of a pen hitting the floor. His embarrassed brown eyes stared at me in a way I'd never seen in another person's eyes.
“Yeah,” I murmured. His eyes met with mine, and for the first time, I pulled him into a hug.
My heart nearly exploded at the touch. I could have stayed for eternity and more. I had found my spark! I was here, in my place. I was in my place, in the warm arms of the stranger, Freddi. He was the spark that lit my fire. Freddi, my spark, the boy I'd just met, was part of me now, and I was happy.