(Note: I will do anything not to do homework……)
The music surrounded me in such a way I could almost hide in it. The beat, so consistent….even persistent, driving the guitar and piano so that I felt them envelope me. I felt safe with their notes around me, helping me to pretend to be what everyone expected. Happy, positive, never scared – and the support for so many. As I stood on the dance floor, not really feeling any of these attributes, I looked to the music to protect me. I could smile when I felt the bass line matching my heartbeat, I could step with each crash of the cymbals, I could scream with the vocals that spoke so truthfully to me. I could pretend while the music touched me during the short time it existed. But even though I have been told life is a dance, I knew the music would eventually end. What will protect me at that point? What cloak will help me plan my next joke or smile when I really don’t want to? I cling to the song, praying for one more measure, as I contemplate the next moments of my life.
But then I see another face, seemingly pondering the same thoughts, the frown lines on their forehead rebelling against the smile that didn’t quite make it to their eyes. I am compelled to move toward them, my curiosity mandating that I step with each beat closer to this person. I fight my normal look – joy and euphoria – and allow my own thoughts of inadequacy to surface to the point that I am able to send a message to this person. As if by magic, the message is received and a look of shock registers as I continue to gaze at them. In that moment I know they understood, that they connected and bridged the turmoil I felt. Their eyebrows raised, as if to ask “did you just reveal your soul to me?” and I, for perhaps the first time in my life, was honest with my nod. Without dropping my gaze, in fact fighting the urge to plant the falseness of my life back in place, I allow all my pain, fear, and sadness to come to the surface. The angst I thought I would feel did not materialize as the transfer of truth began. Just as I thought no more could be revealed – that there was no more to give – the music came to an end. I was completely exposed, and yet felt more real than I ever had before.
Without my cloak of music, without my plastic face, and without pretenses that had been a part of my entire life, I moved forward to say, “Hey……”