Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Half of Me: Chapter 7

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 7: Watching You

Two Years Ago

Four days after their fated lunch date Adam still felt its side effects. “I still cant believe it I had lunch with her and she was the one who invited me” the young man said and Darlene laughed. “Adam, that was four days ago. Well tell me what has happened ever since?” she asked. Adam grinned and scratched his head then laughed, “Nothing, but we do smile at each other” he said.

“So you are happy with that? Are you contented with just smiles?” Darlene asked. “Of course not, but you see I am working on it. Baby steps for now and I will get there” he replied. “Adam are you waiting for her to invite you again to another lunch date? If you don’t act fast then she might think you are not interested in her” his assistant told him. They reached the door of the classroom and Adam looked worried, “Okay then today I shall take bigger baby steps” he boasted and Darlene laughed. “Well good luck to you then, see you in three hours” she said as the young man entered the classroom,

Three hours later Darlene and Henry were enjoying hot coffee inside the car as they waited for Adam. “Are you sure you wont go and get him?” the driver asked. “Oh no, I don’t want make him look like a spoiled brat in front of Aimee” Darlene replied. “You are right but don’t say that he is going to slow. Maybe its just his style in courting” Henry said. “He doesn’t have a style because he has never courted a girl. I can tell” she said and they both laughed.

A minute later there was a knock at the limousine window, Darlene opened the door and an angry Adam entered. “She didn’t come to class and I just wasted three hours doing nothing” he said. “What do you mean you wasted three hours? It’s a class you know” Darlene said. “Wasted! I didn’t get anything done because she was not there. I don’t know I just felt bored seeing her seat empty. I was not in the mood, when she is there I can work and now she isn’t I don’t want to go to art class” the young man ranted and the two laughed.

“So you draw inspiration from her?” Henry asked and the young man grinned. “Of course when she is there I want to do my best. Today she wasn’t so I just wasted three hours doing nothing. I wonder why she didn’t come to class” Adam said. “Well if you started to make your move then you could have got her phone number and called her to ask for yourself” Darlene commented and Adam pouted.

“Fine, I have liked many girls in the past but I could not do anything about it. Laugh if you want but I just don’t have the courage, with Aimee it’s the same” Adam said softly. “Why? Why are you so afraid? You are good looking and I should say you are a good guy. So why are you afraid?” Henry asked. Adam sighed and shrugged his shoulder then smiled, “Well I am afraid of failure, especially now with Aimee. I have never felt like this before and I am just so scared” the young man explained.

“Oh look here, it said Aimee has a two night concert. So maybe that is why she was not in class” Darlene said pointing to her laptop. Adam slid over to take a peek then looked at Henry. “Start driving we are going there to watch” he said. “Adam! That is three states away” Darlene interrupted. “Three states then we fly, come on book tickets for the three of us” he instructed his assistant. “Are you serious? You have art class tomorrow” Darlene said. “Its not art class if she is not there so book the tickets. Henry to the airport quick” Adam said and Henry quickly got out of the back seat and went to the front.

Four hours later the three were inside a hotel suite, Adam was pacing the room as Henry was enjoying the luxurious couch and giant sized flat screen. “Adam let me remind you we have to go back home tomorrow morning since you also have a concert” Darlene said as she was busy fixing schedules on her laptop. “No, we are going to watch her two concerts” Adam said.

“Don’t be silly, if we do that the next night will be your concert and we still have to prepare” Darlene told him. “I can sing anytime, and will you please give this chance to me. I rarely ask for anything” Adam replied. “Yeah he is right, I can stay in this room forever, I just love this huge television” Henry said and Adam looked at him. “Darlene when we get back get Henry a television just like this one” the young man said and his driver was surprised. “You don’t have to do that, I am happy with the one I have at home” the old man said.

“The small old television? No, I will get you a bigger one. Darlene get one yourself too” Adam said. Henry and Darlene were silent, they liked Adam so much because he does not treat them differently. The young crooner was generous to them, Adam lived at a small apartment while the two had houses Adam helped build. They did not know how to thank the young man so they just pledged their loyalty to him.

Three hours before Aimee’s concert Adam was slouched on the sofa listening to piano piece Darlene downloaded to her laptop. Henry had his eyes closed and was enjoying the music while Darlene was busy on her mobile phone. “I don’t get it, do people really like this kind of music?” the young man asked as Darlene looked at Henry. “Why are you looking at me? It doesn’t mean old people are the only ones that enjoy this kind of music” the driver snapped and Adam and Darlene laughed.

“I understand it takes real talent to play this kind of pieces on the piano, I am not saying I don’t like it. It sounds good and relaxing but do lots of people really want to hear this?” Adam asked. “Adam you are into a different genre, she is into this one” Darlene explained. “Yeah but look she is young like me, no offense Henry, but do you think she likes playing this? Doesn’t she want to play something more modern?” the young man asked.

“I am sure she plays other genres but probably at home. This is how she became famous so she has to stick to it. Its difficult to change Adam, like you for example. You sing quite old ballads, I don’t see you complaining” Darlene said. “Yeah but I do want to sing new or modern songs too” Adam replied. “Do you want to try then?” his assistant asked him.

“Do you think the crowd will like it?” he asked and Darlene laughed. “My point exactly. Its difficult to change especially when the people know you sing old ballads. There are artists who jump from one genre to another but then end up back where they started. Some are successful but still they tend to go back where they were known. So even if Aimee wanted to play a modern genre on her piano I am sure she is also asking the same question as you just did” Darlene explained.

“I don’t want to end up singing the same old songs until I get old” Adam said softly. “Then compose you own songs or wait for a writer to pick you and then you can record an album. So far the only recording offer is for old songs, is that the reason why you rejected it?” Darlene asked and Adam grinned. “I can sing old songs on stage but I don’t want people to remember me singing only old songs. I record old songs then what I fear may happen. Anyway where shall we be seated later?” Adam asked.

“Of course in front” Darlene said and Adam jumped to his feet. “No! I don’t want her to see me there. Can you exchange them for seats farther away? Somewhere she won’t see me” Adam said. “Look boy she would be more flattered to see you watching her” Henry interrupted. “No, I won’t even tell her I watched. Darlene have them exchanged” Adam instructed. “Sorry Adam but the tickets are sold out and the ones I got I had to pull some strings” his assistant told him. Adam sighed and looked at Darlene, he suddenly grinned and closed his eyes. “What?” Darlene asked. “Oh nothing” the young man replied.

An hour before the concert there was already a long queue outside the concert hall. All people were well dressed and Adam was obviously nervous. “Cant you do something about the tickets?” he asked his assistant. “Sorry Adam, we cannot exchange them anymore” she replied. “Give me the tickets” Henry said as the two looked at him. “I am going to scalp them, I am sure there are buyers. Then the money we get we buy the tickets to the seats you want. I am sure those ticket holders would sell” he explained.

“I just need one Henry, you two can enjoy from the front” Adam told him. “I don’t think so, if Aimee sees Darlene then automatically she would know you are around. It would be okay if she saw me since I don’t think she has seen me” the old man stated. “She did, I just don’t think she would be able to recognize you since you were wearing your hat” Adam said. “So its three then” Henry said. “I don’t think you need to scalp them, let me have the tickets” Adam said. “What are you going to do with them?” Darlene asked. “Exchange them, its better this way” he said as he started approaching people on the queue.

Inside the concert hall Adam was pouting and very much disappointed at their seats. “It’s your fault, you could have asked where they were seated first” Darlene quipped. “She is going to look like an ant from here” Adam said and the three laughed. “Well if it helps at least you will still get to hear her music. Maybe tomorrow we can get better seats where she won’t be ant-like” Henry told him and the more Adam laughed.

The lights dimmed and the stage alighted, Aimee emerged from the back curtains to the wild applause of the crowd. “Is she smiling? I can’t see her face well” Adam said as he slammed his fist on the arm rest. “Adam relax, tomorrow will be different. For now just enjoy her music” Henry told him.

The crowd became silent as Aimee sat down in front of the grand piano. Visibly frustrated Adam closed his eyes and Aimee began to play an unfamiliar tune to him. For two hours Adam never opened his eyes but listened to whatever she played. He never liked this type of music but this night changed everything. Every note played spoke to him, it described who she was. At the end of the concert Adam was the first one up to his feet to applause for this time he appreciated her talent. “So this is Aimee” he said softly. “I heard her play, tomorrow I want to see her facial reaction as she plays. Get us fronts seats, I don’t care if she sees me” Adam added.

The following night Adam got his wish, they were seated at the very front row but he was feeling hesitant. “What now? Why are you covering your face?” Darlene asked. “I cant do it. What if she sees me?” Adam replied and Henry laughed. “Did you leave your balls behind last night? If I remember you said you wanted to see her play so here we are” the old man said. Adam chuckled and grinded in his seat, there were several people who recognized him but the young man just smiled at them.

The lights dimmed and Adam relaxed, “I forgot, she couldn’t see me right? So what am I worried about? When I am on stage and the lights are on me I couldn’t recognize the people in the front seats” he explained. “Quiet now here she comes” Henry whispered and the backstage curtains opened.

Aimee walked slowly towards the center of the stage, she was so beautiful and smiling at everyone. Her black long dress was somewhat majestic and her slow gentle movement made Adam’s heart beat wildly. For a few seconds their eyes met, Adam stood frozen and breathing heavily. “She cant see you” Henry whispered. “I know, but I can see her clearly. Henry my heart is beating so fast right now” Adam said softly as his gaze never left Aimee.

Wearing a white elegant dress Aimee sat down in front of the piano, she was focused and her hands found their mark at once. Adam saw her close her eyes and she began to play. Aimee played with passion, her head and facial reaction resonating with every key she presses. The music was relaxing but Adam couldn’t, his attention was focused on the piano player and he could see himself in her.

Adam releases his emotion with every song he sings, Aimee on the other hand does the same with her piano playing. The young crooner closed his eyes, he tried to feel what Aimee was feeling. “She is lonely” he uttered and Darlene and Henry looked at him. “She plays well but she is lonely, cant you hear it?” he asked. “How can you tell? She is not playing a sad song” Henry whispered. “Don’t just listen, you have to feel it” Adam said as he again closed his eyes and listened to Aimee play.

Before her last piece Aimee stood up to the wild applause of the crowd. She waived at everyone and smiled at everyone from the front row. For a second Adam was frightened for their eyes met but the young man was confident that she could not see him clearly. Aimee sat back down and the audience immediately fell silent. She took several deep breathes and the light at the stage dimmed.

Aimee started playing a sad piece and Adam closed his eyes to listen. Aimee didn’t have her eyes closed, she continued playing the lonely tune while looking at each and everyone on the crowd. It was as if she was looking at the effect of her final piece to the ones watching her. Most people had their eyes closed, Aimee suddenly stopped playing as she saw Adam. Darlene and Henry were shocked but Adam who had his eyes closed didn’t know what was happening.

To those who have heard the piece before they were surprised why Aimee stopped but to those listening for the first time thought it was a normal pause. Darlene waived at Aimee, the pianist smiled back at her. As Aimee continued playing Adam opened his eyes and started to wonder. “What happened?” he asked. Henry and Darlene acted dumb and shrugged their shoulders but the young man felt something different.

As the sad tune continued playing Adam was bewildered. “I know it’s a sad song, but they way she plays right now is different” he whispered. “What do you mean?” Darlene asked. “She is happy now” Adam said and Henry and Darlene smiled at each other. “That is so odd, in a span of seconds she managed to change her mood in playing” Adam added. With his eyes closed he enjoyed Aimee’s playing, little did he know the pianist had her eyes on him the whole time.

The next day Adam was still tired from their flight but he was surprised to find Aimee at their art class. In his hand was a front row ticket to his concert and for three hours he was finding the right time to give it to her. The bell rang and still the ticket was with him, he sat around and waited for everyone else to leave then ran after Aimee as she was about to exit the door.

Aimee looked at him but courage he mustered vanished so all he could do was smile at her. “I was wondering if you would like to grab lunch with me?” he asked softly. The smile on Aimee’s face turned into a frown as her sleepy eyes spoke to Adam. “Oh sorry, maybe next time. I heard you had a two night concert” he added. “Rain check?” Aimee said and the young man smiled at her.

Minutes later Adam was inside the limousine punching the seat. “I am so stupid! I could not even give the ticket to her!!!” he shouted. “Relax Adam, just think that she has to rest too” Darlene said to calm him down. The young man exhaled and punched the seat for the last time, “Yeah, maybe next time but I am not sure when that time comes I would be able to give her a ticket” Adam replied.

Adam’s sadness carried over to his concert, with the glaring lights shining on his eyes he managed to sing to filled up local arena. To his avid fans there seemed to be nothing different in his singing, indeed there was not for Adam has been sad for a very long time. His marvelous voice masks the sadness, what people hear is his voice alone and not his emotions. No matter how hard Adam tries to express what he feels, the audience never understands, they think it’s just another sad song.

Halfway through the concert Adam stopped and signaled the stage crew to play a lonely background music. He walked towards the center of the stage and took a deep breath. “Good evening, I want to share with you a story. The last two days I travelled three states away just to follow a girl. I watched her play for two nights and I was happy. This morning I wanted to give her a ticket, front row of course to this concert of mine but I didn’t have enough courage to do so” he narrated.

“I have been singing for long time now but let me tell you hidden in every song was my sadness. Last night I was happy watching her, it gave me an idea, to give her a ticket so she could watch me. I imagined how I would sing if she was here…I would be happy seeing her…I could have sung a song happily for the first time but I didn’t have the courage to give it to her. So maybe next time I say” he sadly stated.

“I would not have accepted it!” a woman shouted from the crowd. Adam tried to find the woman but could not see with all the lights focused on him. “I beg your pardon?” he asked. The lights dimmed and the young man was so surprised to see Aimee at the front row. “I said if you gave me the tickets I would not have accepted them because I already have a ticket!” Aimee yelled. So shocked was the young crooner, he stood frozen with his jaw dropped.

“I have watched all your concerts, and I was so glad to see you last night in mine” Aimee added and the crowd teased them. “You saw me?” he asked and Aimee nodded. From the earpiece he wore he could hear Darlene’s voice. “She saw you, we didn’t tell you since you had your eyes closed” he heard his assistant say. Adam started to giggle but held his composure and just smiled.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Aimee Patterson, the girl I followed” Adam said as everyone rose to their feet and applauded the pianist. Aimee felt shy but she managed to stand to acknowledge the audience. “Aimee Patterson…gosh I still can’t find the courage but let me see if I can tell you through my singing” Adam said as the two smiled at each other.

For the next half of the concert Adam sang differently. Everyone noticed his different mood. His voice sounded better and this time everyone felt his emotions, with the next six love songs everyone knew he was in love to the woman he watched and who was now watching him.