Hear Me Out-Part 3

I mentioned before that I would often drift around Smithfield in my down time, but that’s virtually all I would really do: drift.  Seldom could I have recognized any of the town’s landmarks other than the library, but this particular church would occasionally lurk around in the back of my mind.  This completely brick, pristine, episcopal church had such a magnetic allure to it that I figured I’d sooner or later step foot inside it, but for what?  Although my parents followed Buddhism, I had essentially created my own religion of sorts, an amalgam of the many world religions I had read about, so I wasn’t exactly faithful to one path of belief.  To me, all pointers pointed in the same direction, so why bother just picking one hand?

When I stepped foot into that church, it was as if time had ceased to exist.  My eyes and ears were treated to an elaborate gathering of people who had come together for a noble cause.  The cause, as I quickly came to realize, was homelessness.  The church foyer featured three rows of long, wooden tables and many of the church personnel scrambling to put out pots of food with some of the most sinfully blissful aromas I had ever whiffed in.

“Sweetie, would you like a plate?  There’s plenty to eat.”

An incredibly sweet old lady, someone who clearly belonged to the church, basically invited me to throw down with everyone else.  Who was I to turn her down?

“Oh. Uh…..yes, ma’am.”

I took the paper plate from her aged grasp and loaded a small amount of food upon it, mainly for the purpose of not looking too greedy to those who clearly needed it more than I.  From the buffet, everyone who had food in their hands was directed into the main part of the church.  Practically all of the pews were filled to the brim, my fluffy self being the very last person to be stuffed onto the end of the final row.

“Hi!  I’m Koa! What’s your name?”

This tater tot-sized little gal who was seated beside me decided to spring up a conversation.

“Oh. Uh, my name is Izzy.  Nice to meet you!”

My introduction to her seemed to be enough as she simply smiled and then resumed chomping to her heart’s content.  I also couldn’t help but notice her accent.  It was something that I had never heard before, so foreign and sweet.  Just as I was about to take another bite into my corndog,  I was, again, swiftly interrupted.

“Hi there!  My name is Valerie!  I see you just met my son, Koa.  He’s a feisty little one, eh?  Hey, did you come here for the concert? I am sure this is going to be the best one yet!  I heard the musician is top-notch.”

I admit I was taken aback by this revelation.  I suppose I just wasn’t used to seeing little boys parading around with hair down to their knees; I suppose I just suspected “her” to be a tomboy.  Still, I had some small talk to keep up with, so my mind raced back.  Not to mention, she, too, had this marvelous accent that I wanted to hear more of.

“Hi, Ms. Valerie. Oh, yeah, your son.  He’s very sweet!  Um, but the concert.  I can’t say that I knew.  What kind of concert is this?”  I asked.

“The church website said that a world-renowned organist was going to perform!  Oh, how I love the sound of organ music!  Oooh, look!  He’s setting up to perform!”

Just as I had turned my head away from her focus and directly to the performer, a loud crash of melody erupted throughout church, a deafening chord.  The organ had suddenly become the main attraction, gratuitously featuring the talents of a mysterious young man.  His back was facing the crowd, his frame enveloped in a grey, suave suit, his head adorned with a charming bowl cap, his entire being devoted to the beast of an instrument before him.  Measure by measure, the melody appeared to pour out of him like a merciless rainstorm; this young man was the thief and we, the audience, were being held captive by his power.  His performance was over just as fast as it had begun, and the entire church erupted into applause, myself included.

It’s very rare that I ever find myself overcome with emotion, especially to the point that I cry (even more especially to the point of showing it in public), but I just had to let my tears do their thing.  One by one I could actually feel each tear slowly make their way down my face, over my puffy lips, and drop from my chin.  It was a slow and deliberate cry, as if each teardrop was telling me, “It’s alright.  You needed this,” over and over again.  It wasn’t soon before I felt a comforting arm wrap around my shoulder.

“It was beautiful, wasn’t it?  Just unbelievable.  Even if I never see another concert again, at least I can die happy knowing that this one was my last.”

It was that good, folks.  I’m really tellin’ ya.  I shook my head in agreement, silently trying to tame my emotions.  Before I knew it, one of my tears made a heavy splash down onto my watch, prompting me to check the time.  Although it felt like an hour had passed between the time I first walked into the foyer and the end of the concert, only fifteen minutes had gone by!  This was one of the most surreal sensations I had ever experienced up until that point.  Although I still had enough time to make it to school without being late, I was going to have to haul it.

“Oh my!  I’ve gotta get a move on and get to class!  It was nice meeting you, Ms. Valerie.  And you too, Mr. Koa.”

“Yes, indeed.  Nice seeing you…uhhhh…”

“Izzy!  Call me Izzy.”

“God bless, Izzy.  Have a nice day!  I hope that it’s already been made, I know mine has.”

As I waved buh-bye and made my way to Joenby, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had just experienced the encounter of a lifetime.  Something about that church, the people, the performer.  I immediately wanted to hold on tight and never let go.

 

 

 

 

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Hear Me Out-Part 2

Alas, the dawn after labor day arrived.  The clock struck five as my pink bunny alarm clock just about had a fit, quaking so hard it fell off of the stack of notebooks it was perched upon.  I suppose this is where I say that I had to drag myself out of bed, but no!  I was awake and thriving more than I ever ha……..oh, forget it.  I calmly arose out of my slumber to sit up and read the latest issue of National Geographic, lighting the candle on my nightstand as it was the only source of light within reach.  While in bed, I always tried to practice a kind of “movement minimalism” with my body as so to not hear the awful screeching of my centuries-old, steel bed frame.  High school didn’t start until 7:45, not to mention, I was within walking distance of my school, but I was all about trying to get more time to myself.

Although I deeply treasured my NatGeo collection, I knew that it was time for me to experience some sort of change in morning reading material.  I made a mental note to make a stop by the town’s library on the way back from school as so to have something to look forward to.  Just as fast as I’d woken up, I glanced down at my wrist and saw that it was now t-minus one hour until I was due to walk through the gates of hell.  I hopped out of bed and picked my wardrobe for doomsday, the same as usual: longish sleeves with a loose-fitting skirt or dress that was knee-length or longer, no makeup, and sparse jewelry.  I know that many say that if you’ve got it, then why not flaunt it, but trust moi, no one wants to or needs to see my body.  I suppose one thing I have to thank the Prestige program for is allowing me to skip out on taking gym, meaning that I don’t have to wear those ugly shorts ever again!

7:15 swings by and I am heading out the front door.

“Izzy, remember to add some carrots to your lunch tray at school.  They are supposed to improve eyesight.” Said my mother, ever-so calmly reminding me of the fact that my glasses are as thick as haunted house fog.

“Will do.” I murmured; also wondering how she knew there would be carrots available at the school’s cafeteria.  I made my way to Joenby and what shouldn’t have been any more than fifteen minutes felt like an hour.  This was the first time in my life that I was able to walk to school, so I felt as though I might as well take in the scenery of my commute.  The sun was higher than it was when I first got up to read, but you could tell that it was still a wee bit cranky, wiping the morning dew from its bright eyes.  On the way to school, I passed through the city’s downtown, an area filled with a wide range of shops, eateries, and churches.

“Good Morning, mademoiselle!  How are you?  Would you like ze bite?”

A rather old and fresh-off-the-boat-sounding French man popped out of his bakery to offer me a mini Napolean.  It was as if he knew that I was the child of French immigrants!  Although my parents can speak both French and English flawlessly, I admit had a much tougher time trying to do the same.  Still, I mustered up the courage to bust out my “frenchiness” on him.

“Uh……non, s’il vous plait.  De rien.”  What was I thinking?  As I continued walking down the street, I passed by a very long line of people.  There had to have been at least one hundred people waiting in line outside of what I eventually came to see was a church; a very beautifully-aged building that was one of the highlights of Smithfield.  Curious, I paused for a moment to contemplate taking a peek inside.  I took a look at my watch and  realized that I still had plenty of time to make it to school, so I simply took to what I liked doing best: exploring (or more like peeking).  After posing in the line for a few minutes, I managed to make it inside of the church and see what all the fuss was about.  Little did I know that what I would come to witness would rock my world.

 

 

 

 

*New Story Series* Hear Me Out-Part 1

You can always choose to catch more flies using honey than vinegar, but that’s the catch: it is a choice!   I suppose I’m not at all alone in feeling like my life isn’t interesting enough to make a story out of, but then again, you would have to question why I am writing this to begin with.  I’m Izzy, short for Isadora, and I live in a place that I’ve come to see as magical.  Although, my view of this city had to earn what it’s worth as it used to have an ant-sized reputation in my mind.  Setting the scene, I’m fourteen; afraid to love, a friend of being.

School has never been my strong point, but I’ve rarely made anything other than A’s.  School, oh why even bother to mention that thing?  I was just about to start high school at Joenby High, the newly-renovated and only high school in town, situated only about two blocks from my place.  Even worse, I was coerced into being placed into the school’s “higher end” program, the Prestige, by my mother and father, both of whom were wooed into doing so during a parent-teacher conference with my patronizing science teacher, Mrs. Tora, from last year:

“Little Miss [four foot ten] Isadora!  She’s SUCH a peach! [I never say anything!]  She has never received anything less than ONE hundred percent! [All I do is complete every assignment, woman.  Like I’m supposed to?]  I would LOVE for Isadora to attend the Prestige; her future is science! [Bleh…]”

Attending Joenby seemed like a real nightmare as I could practically see it from my bedroom window.  I had been living in Smithfield, Virginia for three years at that point, but still never managed to get a feel for the people there.  Interestingly enough, if you knew anything about this town you’d realize that it managed to be a very charming, diverse, and thriving community despite the fact that it barely has eight thousand residents; a small town that is very accommodating to foot traffic, at that.  Luckily, the city’s easy accessibility (and safe reputation) allowed for me to be able to slip out of my house without a moment’s notice, drift around town for a few, and be back in my room before anyone knew I had ever left.

“Little Isadora.  Izzy.  There is a plate of food on your mat.  Be sure to nourish your cells before our session.”

I know what you may be thinking:  no exclamation points; cells?  Well, my parents are anything but typical.  Both being strict followers of the Buddhist faith, they seldom raise their voices over anything.  Elders (including teachers) come first and obedience is held in the highest respect in this faith.  I suppose this actually explains why my grades are high enough to make it into the Prestige, ye olde Tiger parents!

I managed to stuff my moderately chubby self into workout clothing and scurried down as fast as I could to my yoga mat and chowed down, situated between my parent’s mats.  Our living room had no chairs or couches whatsoever, so we had space to stretch for days.  It was like clockwork that I would perform this every weekday.  I had always wondered why my parents made me do yoga alongside them as it clearly wasn’t working on my body, mind, OR soul, but seeing as I was the child and they, the parents, I knew to keep my mouth shut.  Our session was done and I bowed to my parents, ran up to my room, changed into my pajamas and hopped into bed.  Tomorrow was day one of the rest of my life.  High school, I mean.