Set Free by the Rest This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 18, 2013
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The last note of "Für Eliese" rang out strong from my clarinet. Four more beats of rest and the music ended, but the love song still echoed through the air. Ghostly wisps of the melody floated past my ear as I put my clarinet down. The song was a reminder, similar to that of a footnote. It was a small detail that I allowed myself to observe, even though I knew it would be worthless in the end.

I pulled my stick-straight, blonde hair back into a ponytail. The satisfying smack of my green elastic sounded after a few seconds of wrestling with a stubborn piece of hair. Gym was next, and that meant I would be free of any remarks he might make if my plan failed.

A small shudder ran down my spine when I thought of Shane. He was the oboe, and somehow, that had pained me in the time we had been dating. We'd been separated by only a few chairs, but I'd still been straining for him while I read my music obliviously.

That had been before he dumped me. Now, I yearned to be as far away from him as I possibly could. Unfortunately, four chairs to the right of him was not enough. I would need a whole universe between the two of us before I could feel normal and not awkward like the squawks of Thalia's broken clarinet.

"Ashley, you set?" Morgan asked, wielding her flute like a sword.

I hadn't even realized that class was over. So absorbed was I in my thoughts of love and sound.

"Almost, could you ask Thalia if she has any extra reeds? Mine just split." It wasn't a lie, my reed was getting close to being quite unusable, but I really just needed time. Time to speak with Shane and get this all straightened out. Even if it killed me.

Morgan dutifully followed my orders, leaping into conversation with Thalia. I watched my friends chat and made sure they were perfectly engaged before I started gesturing to Shane with my hand.

He had just finished packing his oboe, and I could tell that his reed had somehow cracked during rehearsal. I'd memorized every tiny thing about Shane when we had been together. Every expression, every story, every freckle. Interpreting whether he had broken his reed was not hard for me to figure out.

When Shane finally noticed my movements, he seemed unsettled. Why? This was what I had been thinking about every night since two weeks ago as the clock next to my bed had played "1812 Overture". That question had repeated in my head just like the song.

Shane eventually got up and walked over to me. He was still tall for being only sixteen. I felt like a shrunken tenth grader compared to his strong figure. His hair was dirty blonde just like it had been on our last date; not green as I had hoped it would turn once we broke up. Nothing had changed. He looked just like the boy I had loved two weeks ago.

"We need to talk," I said urgently. I clasped his wrist and dragged him out of the enormous band room. Electricity seemed to run up my arm as he trailed behind me. It was the exact same feeling of affection I had gotten when I held his hand two weeks ago. But how could that be when everything had changed?

I spotted the place we had had our first kiss. The conductor himself had caught us, but he had let it slip. Mr. Freestone had always been soft on me because I was first-chair clarinet. Hey, at least we hadn't been kissing during class.

"'s almost lunch. Can you please make this quick?"

I closed my eyes as I luxuriated in his velvet voice. It was something I had missed. Not only Shane's words, but his voice itself were real and refreshing. His tone wasn't overemotional, nor was it empty and unfeeling. This was what I missed.

I ground to a halt at the place Shane had first asked me out. I had been so shocked at the time, hardly believing what had just happened. Things had been so simple then. We had just been really good friends, but I guess we both wanted more than that. How could he let all of that fall?

"Shane, you left me confused and alone on the sidewalk two weeks ago. I'll let you walk away, but not without an explanation."

Shane was silent for a few moments, but in the end, he had the nerve to say, "What do you mean?"

"Was it for another girl? Do you think we just need to move on? What?" I managed to say without yelling.

Shane sighed, as if exhausted. I wanted to say that I was the annoyed one here. But, of course I couldn't do that. It just wasn't the right answer when I had a plan that involved my ex: him.

"You're too good for me, Ashley. We don't fit. You're the perfectly shaped puzzle piece with the fraction of a beautiful image that just doesn't match mine. I didn't want to hurt you if that's what you thought. Can't we just be friends?"

I was stunned by his answer. It seemed that the heartbroken sound of "Aria" was playing in the halls. But just when the sad measures passed, a rumbling section of hope began to unravel. Could we be just friends? I wasn't sure if I was ready for that. But was it a possibility? Most certainly.

"Alright," I whispered. I raised myself a bit and gave him a last peck on the cheek. A sort of farewell, one that I couldn't take back. This was the end of our piece. Well, the end of our love-themed one at least. We'd compose plenty more afterwards, but they wouldn't be like that. Someday, we'd make our friends.

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inlovePF said...
May 7, 2013 at 11:53 am
This was really good. I liked it a lot. :D
x--Mirage--x replied...
May 9, 2013 at 8:28 pm
Thank you!  That's the first comment I've ever received on any piece of work I've ever written.
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