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4.2 Lizzie

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LIZZIE

The music felt like it came directly out of my heart as if the strings of my violin were connected to my veins and as the music thrummed, my entire body vibrated. This way, people could hear the language of my soul.

A crowd had formed around me as I played in the park. Not the usual center of town, but a park a little farther away. I don't know what I'd do if I saw Parker again, so soon after everything. I wouldn't know how to look at her in any other way than my girlfriend. I needed to get away, but I forgot all about that. I let the song take over me. The music, the power swelled inside of me and I could remember the taste of hope and dreaming. I could close my eyes and see a completely different future for myself.

I let the final note tremble from my instrument longer than necessary, but it was difficult for me to let go. The music faded, disappearing into the silence that was quickly replaced with resounding applause. My eyes popped open to a small crowd of families and couples clapping for me, some even cheering.

The anxiety of being in front of all these people didn't disappear. I still needed to grip the neck of my violin tighter, so I wouldn't feel my hands shaking... but I smiled and gave a little bow. Taking a deep shuddering breath, I didn't run away. I played another song instead.

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"Mom," I said as I peeked into her bedroom door. She was under the covers, bundled up with a book as her small bedroom TV played the news. I glanced behind my shoulder at Danny giving me a thumbs up. That little encouragement wasn't enough to soothe my nerves, but I didn't suddenly teleport out of the house.

"Hm?" she hummed, before finishing one more line. She slid her bookmark into place and wriggled up to rest against her headboard. "What's up?" She paused the TV too. Her wild curls were down, spilling down her shoulders. More and more threads of grey were mixed with the black.

"I've been lying to you," I said, starting off strong.

My mother froze, taking an extra second to process. "Okay? I..." She touched the center of her forehead and I cringed, wishing I started out a thousand different ways. She said, "I can feel my vein throbbing. Okay. I'm gonna try not to overreact, but you're not talking and I'm imagining something horrible like the van has exploded or you legally changed your name."

"No, no, sorry. I'm just nervous," I admitted and walked into the room. I squeezed my fingers, cutting off the circulation. This had to be done. I needed her to know me. I needed the whole world to understand the things I wanted. I'm just so sick of being alone.

If I expected Parker to start trusting people.

I needed to do the same.

"The other day, when you said you missed talking to me..." I started again and approached the bed. Thankfully, she let her finger fall from her forehead. "I've missed it too, but I haven't been able to talk to you because..." I took a deep breath and after I exhaled, I spilled everything all at once and as quickly as I could as I used the last of my breath. "Mom, I haven't quit orchestra. I want to keep making music and my band director, Mr. Burka, offered me an internship this summer at the college and I want to do it, but I need your signature. I really want your signature."

Truly, I wanted her to understand.

My mother blinked, feeling the whiplash. "I thought you didn't like it. I thought it made you uncomfortable. I mean, all the times I've gotten an email about you crying in class—"

"Yeah, you assumed. You can't... You have to stop thinking for me. I love music. I just get anxious in front of a crowd, but I'd love to play more. I felt like I couldn't talk to you." My voice broke from that.

"Oh, Lizzie." My mother held her arms out and I joined her in the bed. I snuggled against her side and let her warmth encapsulate me. She rubbed my arm. "I'm ashamed. I didn't realize I made you feel that way. I just didn't want you torturing yourself or pressuring yourself to do something you didn't want to do. I understand now and I'm sorry."

"It's why I cut my hair."

"I get it now."

"It finally felt like I made a decision on my own, like I had control over my life."

"How can you ever forgive me?"

After a pause, I tested my luck. "How about letting me bleach my hair blonde?"

"How about I buy you a car instead?"

We laughed and Danny took that as a sign that everything was safe. He ran into the room and pile drove into the mattress, making us all bounce. We screamed and soon, my sister Gina peeked inside, and we yelled at her to come in. She tried to run, but Danny and I chased after her and brought her back to bed. Soon, the dogs barreled at us and we were officially a dog pile. 

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Author's Note

Being single has given Lizzie some time to work on her own "self help" to-do list. Lol. Lizzie will always be shy, but she'll be able to perform. I hate it when a character's development suddenly sweeps their anxiety and shyness under a rug because "being outgoing" is better? Lame. 

Twitter: @AuburnMorrow

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