Epicness

Just a few stories. Enjoy!

Archive for the category “Music”

Just Getting Started

I’m not a morning person.

I sleepily get my stuff packed in a laptop bag. As I walk into the kitchen, I check my phone instinctively. One new message from Todd. I open it, and it reads: “Save your money starting now. If your grades stay up, I’ll match all you have saved for six months and put it towards buying you a new laptop.” Oh sweet! Todd and I discussed a few months back about how they’re coming out with all these new programs where you can record guitar, drums, vocals, bass, etc. straight onto your computer and mash it together to produce a song. With that program, we’ll be able to make a really good demo CD.

Mom walks in and asks me why I’m smiling this early. I laugh and tell her it’s nothing. She gets out the poptarts and offers me one. I take it and sit down at the table.

“You’re such a good cook,” I joke.

She laughs and sits down, “I know. So, do you want me to drive you to school?”

“I’m going to college, not preschool.”

“Okay. Whatever you want.”

I quickly eat my poptart and head for the door. I turn and say good-bye to my mom as she comes running at me with tears streaming down her face. “Mom! Mom! Don’t cry! I still live here,” I laugh while I try to pry her off me. She lets go and watches me exit.

It takes me about an hour and a half to drive to school. Well, this will suck.

I finally find a parking space and I head to the main building.

So this is the University of Utah…not too shabby.

I reach my first classroom and find it almost empty. Class starts in ten minutes…where is everyone?

I walk down the row of chairs and find a seat right in the middle which would line me up with the black board perfectly. As people start to enter the room, I find myself surrounded by strangers. I don’t recognize anyone here. My peers don’t even see me and they start to fill the seats in the large room. I wonder if every room here is set up like this; like a lecture hall.

A girl dressed in a pink miniskirt paired with a light blue cardigan layered over a green shirt sits next to me. She has perfect posture and her hair doesn’t look like it would move if it was hit by a bus. She looks over at me and I quickly turn my eyes to the table in front of us so she doesn’t suspect I was inspecting her. I turn my back to this new girl to get out my laptop and turn it on. I’m not sure if I’ll need it, but better safe than sorry.

“Hi, I’m Stacy. And you are…?” says the girl next to me. I turn my head and stare at her. She has such an annoying voice. I look away to type in my password.

“I said I’m Stacy. What’s your name?” she asks again. I sigh heavily and turn again.

“Hi there, Stacy,” I say in a really sarcastic voice. “Listen, I’m not here to make little friends, okay? And I’m not here to learn about the wonderful world of chemistry. So, it would be best if you never talked to me again, okay?” I spoke in a stern voice. She just stares at me, most likely in shock. I turn my attention back to my laptop.

After class, I take a look around campus. It’s really pretty here. I check my phone to see how much time I have until the next class begins. I still have a half hour until I need to head over, so I lie down in the grass under a shady tree and look at the clouds.

After a long day, I arrive home again. I immediately start my homework. We already have an English project to work on. It’s only the first day!

This sad story repeats for a few weeks until something changes.

I’m doing well in my classes and I’ve saved up about a hundred dollars. The gas money I need to get to and from school is really eating into my budget.

It’s just a normal day at college for me. Stacy still sits next to me in chemistry. We don’t talk. There is this really cool looking girl who sits three rows down from me. I haven’t worked up the courage to talk to her yet; she’s probably too cool for me anyways. I check my phone, remembering my Wednesday schedule is different than my Monday and Tuesday schedules. I have about an hour before English starts so I head over to a bench in the shade. I  open up my bag and pull out Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and start reading from where I left off. I’ve read this book about ten times previously, but it’s just so good. I can’t keep it down.

As I’m nearing one of my favorite parts, a voice comes out of nowhere and makes me jump. “You’re reading that again?” the voice laughs.

I whirl around to find Jesper laughing at me. “Jesper!” Oh no. Why is he here? “Why are you here?”

“Why are you reading that book for like the millionth time?” he laughs again.

“This is my eleventh time, thank you very much.”

“Oh okay, like that’s any better,” he’s still laughing. Ignorant jerk.

“So why are you here?”

“Why are you here?”

“Well…I…uhh-”

“Calm down, Mia. I know why you’re here.”

“Todd told you?!” I ask furiously.

“No…well kind of…in a way, I guess.”

“What?” I ask confused.

“Todd came to my dad about two months ago asking for a favor. My dad talked to me about it. Remember that one phone call I got when we were in the car and I made everyone cover their ears? It was that conversation. He said that Todd wanted him to help pay for someone’s education here. He told me it was you. I had no idea why you wanted to come to college, but I said you were reliable and wouldn’t waste the time here if it wasn’t necessary.”

“Why did Todd ask your dad about this college?”

“He practically pays for this place to run. He’s the biggest sponsor for the college. So, since my dad technically runs the joint, I can do whatever I want here whenever I want.”

“That’s kind of cool actually…but why did Todd talk to your dad?”

“Todd’s as poor as the band. He couldn’t pay for a gym membership, much less a college education. He asked my dad to help keep the price low. But my dad, being surprisingly nice for once, paid for everything. Todd didn’t tell you?”

“No…” I trail off.

“So basically, my father is paying for your college. And that makes you my bitch.”

“No!” I laugh and hit Jesper in the shoulder. “Wait…if your dad has all this money, why doesn’t he help out the band?”

“I…” he sighs, “I’ve asked him before to help us. Even with just a bigger car to travel in. He refuses. He doesn’t want anything to do with the band. That’s why I was so surprised he helped out Todd.”

“Maybe he’s trying to put effort into helping us out?” I say.

“Possibly. Anyways, how is college life treating you?”

“Fine. Nothing too great.”

“No parties or anything?”

“I live too far away to stay and party. You know that.”

“…yeah. Oh hey! I just got an idea! Why don’t you get a dorm here?”

“A dorm? Me…in a dorm? Sharing personal space with a stranger? How about no?”

“Oh, come on! I can probably get you into a nice one-person dorm. It’s like an apartment on campus. And you even get your own bathroom! Isn’t that great?”

“Hmm…not a bad idea actually. I’ll save a lot of money on gas…do you think you could really get me my own dorm?”

“I totally can. Hold on a minute and I’ll call my dad.” Jesper pulls out his phone and walks out of earshot, so I return to Panem to read more about Peeta and Katniss.

“It’ll be ready for you to move in tomorrow!” Jesper comes out of nowhere again, causing me to jump just a little. “I didn’t know you got scared so easily.”

“Sadly, I do get scared often. It sucks honestly. And thank you so much!” I stand up and hug him. I actually don’t know that much about this boy. He was born in New York, but his parents moved out here when he was just a baby. They divorced when he was six. He’s lived with his mom for a long time, then suddenly switched to his father’s place. His hair was light blond when he was a kid, but now it has darkened to a dirty blond. His favorite animal is a camel because it spits on people for no reason at all. He loves playing the drums more than anything. He’s very smart and computer savvy. He’s nineteen. He loves video games more than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s one of the best guys I know.

Fate

A few weeks after I had agreed to go to college, Todd pops over at my house. He doesn’t stay long. He drops off some school supplies for me. Nothing much, just a few pencils and notebooks with built-in folders. Class necessities, he calls them. I prefer the term torture tools. Tomorrow is actually my first day of college.

A few hours after Todd leaves, my mom comes home from work and greets me in her usual way. “Hey honey. How was your day?”

I sigh, “Boring. Todd brought over some stuff for tomorrow.”

“Scary, huh? I know you’ll do fine. I can’t believe Todd is covering the cost for your college. I volunteered to pay, or at least help him out, but he refused.”

“Ehh, I don’t even want to go. Mom, when I came home from touring, you already knew about this whole thing. When did Todd talk to you about it?” She sets down her purse and keys on the counter and walks over to the table. She pulls out the chair in her favorite spot and plops down.

“He asked me about it a while back, actually. It was probably a month and a half or so before you guys finished touring.”

“Really? That long ago? This must be really important to him…” I rub my hands over my face. Ugh. I can’t let Todd down.

“Don’t worry, honey. College isn’t as bad as you probably think it is. I survived it.”

“You went for an associate’s degree. That’s only two years.”

“A tough two years,” she laughs. “Your father always wanted you to follow your dreams, you know that. But maybe this opportunity is just what you need. A little cushion for you fall back on for a while just in case-”

I cut her off, “Just in case the band falls apart like you’ve always wanted since the beginning.  Yeah, Mom, I get it. College means I’m following in your footsteps like you’ve always wanted. I know you. I know Dad too. He played music. He was a rock star, in his own way, and you were okay with that. Why can’t you be okay with me in a band? Me in the music business, doing what I love?”

“…I am okay with you being in a band, following your dreams, and being successful. If I wasn’t okay with it, do you think I would let you just get up and leave for months at a time with a bunch of boys and that god awful girl Bronte? If I wasn’t okay with this, I wouldn’t have let you record a demo CD. I am okay with this. I’m more than okay. I’m grateful. You have always been more like your father than I ever thought possible. This situation right here even reminds me of him. We would have talks like these all the time. He felt like I never cared about the band or his touring, besides the fact he was gone all the time. He was gone when you were growing up. That’s why I was so upset with him all the time. He was missing out on you, Mia. And…that’s what I’m scared of. You’re eighteen. You have all these things to experience still, but you can’t because you’re in a van going to god knows where to play in some run-down bar. I just don’t want you to miss out on life.”I paused a second before replying to let everything soak in.

“Mom, I’m not missing anything. I’m out there experiencing what others can only dream about. It may seem crappy from your point of view, but I love this. I love traveling. I love playing in those crapholes where people will stand there with an ice cold beer and just enjoy what we’re playing. I love making friends with other bands. I love the smell that radiates from our van as we drive through the night after a performance. I love the feeling of being appreciated. I love this. Sure, I may never meet that one boy I was supposed to fall in love with while in college. Sure, I may never have to worry about being late for class or forgetting my project in my dorm. I can’t experience everything, Mom.”

She smiles at me with empty eyes, “I know. Music is your life. I understand that. You don’t give up…just like your father.” She gets up from the table and leaves the room. Probably to her room to cry. That’s what I would do if I had a daughter like me. One just like her father.

The night comes and goes as the morning sun erupts through my window. I wake up and look over at my alarm clock. I still have ten minutes to sleep. Typical. I roll over trying to fall back asleep magically as my mom rushes into my room in a panic. “Get up! Get up!”

I roll back over and give her a death stare, “Why?”

“You have to go to school!”

“I have…nine minutes. Go away.” I roll back over and close my eyes.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Dammit.

Freedom…?

“Tour is over!” our drummer, Jesper, cries out. Yes! Finally! We’re all back home in good ol’ Fargo. I smile over at Jesper as he kisses the dirty ground. We’ve been on tour pretty much all year. We’ve been home about three times in the last 10 months. I start getting out my guitar from the back of our van while everyone slowly starts piling out. We’re all exhausted and really just want to rest. Our lead singer, Bronte, steps out of the van and hurries over to me.

“I’m really glad we’re home now! Aren’t you?”

“Of course. I just want to get my guitar and amp and go home.” She smiles at me as she leans in front of me to reach her bag. I step back, a little annoyed, as she continues to block my way as she grabs her mic stand. I sigh heavily.

“Mia! Come here,” the manager yells out. His name is Todd. He’s a pretty fun guy.

“Yeah?” I ask as we walk away from the others. He has his hands in his pockets. That means it’s something serious.

“You remember that one band my friend Mike had you meet?”

I think for a quick second before replying, “Meg & Dia? Yeah, I remember. They’re really cool.” I giggle softly at the memory.

“They’re the reason I decided to manage you guys. You remind me of them. But,” he sighs, “your skills are far from them.” How rude!

“Well, yeah, Todd. They’re in their twenties and have been doing this forever. Their skills are way beyond us.”

“Read this. Dia wrote this when she was only your age.” He hands me a small stack of papers covered in lyrics. I begin to quickly skim the words. This is…brilliant! The vocabulary, the sentence structure, the rhyming. Everything.

“Todd, this is fantastic!”

He chuckles, “I know. This is what I want from you. Don’t take offence, but your writing skills are nowhere near this. Your vocabulary is poor. You hardly ever throw in rhymes. Your sentences are simple and weak. You may not like what I’m about to say, but…you have to go to college.”

My eyes shoot up. College?! “College, Todd? College is your answer? I dropped out of public school before. I was home-schooled. Why? Because I don’t fit in. I don’t learn well in a surrounding I don’t feel comfortable in. College is not the answer. College is the opposite of the answer, Todd! I can’t even afford it!” I look at him and his expression remains neutral. His hands are still casually tucked away in his pockets.

“College is the answer, Mia. You need to improve your writing skills. For the sake of the band. You don’t have to stay in long. No need for a degree of any kind. I already prepared an application and a class selection sheet for you. All I need is your signature. I’ll take care of the cost. It’ll be quick and painless, I assure you. Please do this Mia.” I take a deep breath and sigh loudly. Should I do this? I hate public school. College will be Hell. But, he’s right. My writings do suck. I need to do this. For the band.

“…you won’t tell the band I’m doing this? I don’t want them to know.”

“Of course.”

“…I’ll do it. For the band.”

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