February 1 2006
I threw on whatever clothes were lying on my floor and matted my hair so it looked mildly decent. I headed for the door to find Kallie and Angie already in the hallway, waiting impatiently.
“Come on sleepyhead,” said Kallie as she patted my cheek, “we’ve got to hurry. If I don’t get into that Anatomy and Physiology course because it fills up, I will blame you and hate you eternally.” At this, the two of them headed down the hallway to the stairs. I quickly scooted up behind them.
“You know Kallie, I can never tell when you’re being serious or sarcastic.”
“I know Tommy, I just like to keep you guessing,” she said with a chuckle.
We were early and able to register for all of our desired classes and headed to the worst part of the whole process, buying our books.
The bookstore, large as it was, was filled already with people scrambling about to sort out the best conditioned used books. As for me, I didn’t much mind. I always bought new ones, just to be safe. I never sold them back either because you never know when you might use that “American Cinematography” or “Secrets of Microbiology” book.
I noticed something far more peculiar than the violent throngs of undergrad students, the fact that I was noticing some of them. I realized that I had found myself already checking guys out every now and then. I would gaze at a cute face or a nice ass for second or two, and then realize what I was doing and snap back to reality. I felt so guilty for doing something so natural.
Felt almost as if by checking out other guys, I was already betraying Derrick somehow. But when all was said and done, I was still human, much less a much less a single, horny, college teenager.
Wishful thinking aside, I decided to focus more on the task at hand. I scanned the shelf for the last book on my list and found it near the top. I reached upwards with my fingertips just barely scratching the cover before I hear a voice from behind.
“Need a hand there, mate?” I couldn’t see who it was, but I felt a jolt through my body since it had a soothing quality to it. I also recognized the obvious accent in his voice.
I turned around to find that he had fulfilled the expectations his voice had given me. He was about six feet, evenly tanned skin, spiked black hair, and a nice tight T-shirt that showed of his well-built frame.
“Are you okay there?”
“Oh yeah, sorry…I uh....”
“Did you need help with that book?”
He walked up to the shelf and reached upwards. He shirt lifted just enough as he did this so I got a nice glimpse of his rock-hard abs. He came down with two books in his hand and handed one to me.
“Hi, I’m Chad.” He extended his empty hand to me, so I put down my bag of books and shook his hand.
“Nice to meet you Tommy. So I assume you’re taking Chem. 343 too.”
“You could say that.” The fact was my old chemistry teacher had arranged a T.A. position for me here for work experience. Intro to Organic Chemistry was the course I was assigned to help with, so I needed the book for the class, which is how I wound up here.
“We’ll, I guess I’ll see you there then.” He gave me a small grin, turned around, and walked away.
“I look forward to it,” I more or less mumbled to myself.
I must have stood there for a minute or so before I felt I hand gab my shoulder.
“You okay Tommy?” Kallie asked as I turned around. “You look like you zoned out. Kind of like when…” she stopped immediately and had a pensive look on her face before her eyes grew huge and she all but screamed, “OH MY GOD!”
“Shhh Kallie. Keep it down!”
She leaned closer in and whispered, “You met someone, didn’t you!”
“We’ll talk about this later. Where’s Angie.”
“She’s just paying for her books now, which is where you should be too. Come on, we’ll talk about this later.”
“I’m sure we will,” I groaned.
After we met up with Angie and I paid for my books, we headed back to the apartment to drop them off, and then walked down State Street to eat lunch. We stopped in a small coffee shop with a few other people either reading the paper, or chatting with their friends a various tables. Most of the kids looked our age and were probably college students, since it was still a little early for lunch for people with regular jobs.
We sat down at a table right next to the big window pane which separated the inside of the shop from the sidewalk outside and the noise of the rustle and bustle of students and various business people between meetings.
A waitress came up and took our orders. Kallie and Angie both had coffee and a bagel while I ordered a cup of chai tea.
“Why do you even drink that stuff Tommy?” Angie asked after the waitress had left to fill our orders. “It tastes like sugar mixed with grass clippings.”
“Tea is supposed to be very good for the body. It contains a caffeine-like substance called epigallocatechin gallate, commonly called EGCG, which instead of revving up the heart like caffeine does, increases the brain and nervous system function. It has a similar effect to caffeine, except it’s better on the body and burns more calories.”
“You have got to stop taking all those chem courses,” Angie replied.
“So tell us about this guy Tommy,” Kallie interjected.
“Guy, what guy?” Angie asked.
“He’s just some guy in one of the Organic Chem classes I’m assisting.”
“Nice bod?” Kallie asked eagerly.
“Look at you. Is that all we men are to you, just pieces of meat you can fawn over?!” I asked mockingly.
“Well duh,” she retorted, equally as mocking, “Why else do you think women have kept men around all this time? So now that we’re past that, nice or not?”
“Smoking hot! He’s got this incredible voice too. He’s got an accent that makes me think he ‘s from Australia. He’s certainly tanned enough to be so.”
“See Tommy, I told you you’d meet someone in no time.”
“Now hold on Kallie, I just met the guy. He’s nice looking, but I don’t even know if he’s gay or straight, or anything about him. He just help me get a book back at the bookstore.”
“Let’s see,” Kallie said as if to herself, “Tall, dark, and handsome, obviously smart if he’s taking a higher level chemistry course. Sounds like a winner to me. You should ask him out.”
“I told you Kallie, I don’t know anything about him. Plus you know me; I couldn’t be that forward anyway. Watch me ask him out and he turns out to be a right-wing-fag-hater or something stupid like that.”
“Sometimes for a big reward in life, you have to take big chances,” Angie commented.
“Well, we’ll see how things work out.”
We returned back to the apartment and I headed straight to my room. Sitting in the corner next to my bed was my portable digital piano. The headphones were already plugged in so all I had to do was turn it on and change the instrument to my favorite, the organ. Sure saxophones were nice in a small ensemble or large group, but when it cam e to a single person playing, no instrument could better create the vast array of power needed by an organ.
The only problem with the digital organ is that it had no foot pedals. On a regular organ, the organist would press down pedals with their feet to play bass notes, or percussion instruments like bass drum on a circus or theatre organ.
I began with the bass notes on my left hand and held the minor chord, feeling its resonance through my soul. My left hand began to test other minor chords. I listened pensively as my emotion began to carry me away and my right hand began a slow, mournful melody to accompany the dissonant chords of the left hand.
Music is an audible portrayal of what the eyes see and the heart feels. A painter can paint a picture of a lovely meadow, but only a musician can truly express the joy and serenity that comes with rolling in the grass.
Both hands had begun runs on the keyboard; notes sped along as they clashed and harmonized repeatedly. My pain and anguish was best taken out on the keyboard as the notes slammed louder and crashed against one another before finally I let go. Both hands froze in midair, nothing but silence. My left hand approached the keyboard slowly. Each finger patiently picked its note.
Ring finger, A. Middle finger, C. Index Finger, E. The minor chord felt so shallow. I no longer wished to feel this incessant, saddening pain. The sound pierced me like a million daggers; I couldn’t stand it any longer.
I knew the solution. It was so simple to return the pleasurable sounds I had known so very long ago. A minor adjustment and the world of my mind would become a better place once again.
My middle finger knew precisely what to do. It lifted, just enough to release the note from the keyboard. The chord was once again hollow, uncertain of its future t bring about the rapture of pleasure or pain.
I had made my decision.
My middle finger moved itself, ever so slightly. Not even a centimeter from its previous position, just a smidge to the right, and it slowly lowered. The finger pressed against the key which fired off a capacitor with stored electric current. The current flowed through a system of wires to the central processing unit of the digital piano. The CPU rerouted the current to the read only memory of the piano’s internal computer. The ROM recognized the specific current that the key had fired and searched for the matching frequency in its database. It took microseconds for the information to be found and sent back to the CPU. The CPU sent the new electric current to the headphone jack where the current traveled up the wire and into the head phones.
The wire was wrapped tightly around a magnet which resonated with the specific electric current that had been sent to it. The resonance vibrated the magnet, which vibrated every air molecule between the magnet and my ear. The vibration continued into my inner ear where the vibration was once again turned into an electrical impulse in my mind. Within a fraction of a second I heard what I had desired so desperately to hear. C sharp. My right index finger sought out the next A on the keyboard and the process was repeated.
The chord was complete.
The beauty and power of the E major chord filled me once again with the joy and happiness that had eluded me through the whole song.
I knew then what I had to do. I had made my decision.
I would have to move on with my life. Derrick would want nothing more than for me to be happy, right?
I would have to move on.
I had made my decision.
I would have to move on.