Chapter 17

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“Maybe I could sing ‘Paris’ in a higher pitch?” Maude suggested.

She was lying lazily on the orange sofa in the Creation Room early that Saturday morning in late February while Matt was at the piano. They had decided to meet earlier than usual that morning to finish ‘Paris’ once and for all and start on a new song. That proved to be a lot harder than anticipated. Even though Maude had rewritten the lyrics, Matt knew there was still something missing although he couldn’t put his finger on it. Like the perfectionist he was, he adamantly refused to submit anything but perfection to James Baldwin.

“No, pitch isn’t the problem. You’re a mezzo. We don’t want your voice derailing or that will be sloppy.”

Maude yawned. She had spent every evening for the last two weeks in rehearsals. Ms. Tragent was stricter than ever much to Lindsey’s delight. The role of Clorinda suited her to perfection. Lindsey was also learning Cinderella’s part as her understudy, but Maude refused to feel bothered by it even though she was tired of feeling her breathe down her neck. Thomas as Prince Charming had spent hours the previous evening practicing with her even after Ms. Tragent had left the theater.  Maude stifled a second yawn, but Matt caught it nevertheless.

“You’re tired. And rightly so. We’ve been working on this song for two hours and the sun has barely started to come up. Why don’t we go back to the cafeteria for some coffee and bagels?”

“I think I’ve had enough coffee for one morning. I’ve been on a daily dose of caffeine ever since rehearsals started. Thank goodness we haven’t started recording yet.”

“Recording is one of the best parts in creating an album,” Matt said. “And Cenerentola is a fun, romantic opera.  I’d think any girl would have fun playing the lead in a fairy tale.”

“I’ll enjoy it if I manage to get a full night’s sleep before going on stage. I think I need to take a walk. I feel like I haven’t seen the sky for weeks now,” Maude said yawning openly.

“Tell me you’ve at least had a proper tour of New York.”

“I’ve visited Manhattan with Jaz—”

“First of all, Jaz thinks Manhattan is New York, but that isn’t true. Haven’t you visited the other boroughs? Brooklyn? Queens?”

Maude shook her head.

“Did you even visit The Statue of Liberty?”

 Same answer.

 “Coney Island?”

“I haven’t had time to visit all these places. I have so much to learn about music. New York can wait.”

“No, it can’t. I love the Baldwins, but they eat and drink music and sometimes forget that there are other interesting things in this life aside from it.”

“Okay, I’ll take next Sunday off and visit New York. Now can we get back to finishing this song? It’s going to end up making me gag. We’ve tried it a hundred different ways: high, low, slow, fast. I’m sick of working on the same song over and over again,” Maude cried out in exasperation throwing her scores up in the air. They floated in the air before falling limply to the floor like leaves falling from a tired, autumn tree.

“Okay, that’s enough, Maude,” Matt laughed. “When a singer starts hating their own song, it means it’s time to take a break. Grab your coat and things. I’m taking you out.”

“Where?”

“Do you trust me?” Matt asked, his gray eyes dancing.

“Absolutely not,” Maude answered, crossing her arms.

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