Odd One Out

"Good things come to those who wait."
How much longer do I have to wait?

Iris is different. She wants more. She wants to be free.
She wants love.
But no one understands her. Her only escape is through music.
She's the Odd One Out.
And then, she meets Blake...

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9. Life is Just a Song

Dear Love,

If my future is only about to start,

Does that mean I've just been living in the past?

Love, do you play a part in my future?

I'm a funny one, and so are you.

I never really will understand you, Love.

Just like no one will ever understand me.

Well...maybe.

Unless you find me someone.

Yours,

Iris x

 

"Iris on her phone? Never!" Mum pretends to gasp. I pretend to laugh. But I'm concentrating too hard. The stranger has sent another message.

Hello.

I swallow hard. Maybe they're alone, and want a friend. Maybe, they are like me? Maybe, love is working?

Hello.

I send it before thinking twice.

"Who are you talking to?" Mum leans over my shoulder. "Is it a boy?" Her eyes glaze. I look down at my feet. I'm not telling her it's a stranger. She'd freak.

"No, mum. Just..just..a friend."

"A friend, eh?" She fills a glass with water, shoving a greying strand of hair behind her ear. "Who?"

I shrug. "You wouldn't know them."

"Then tell me about them."

My phone buzzes. A new message.

I miss you.

I freeze, my finger hovering over the keypad. I put my phone away. This is too much.

"They're just from school. Look, I need to go practise for Saturday. Two more days still the studio."

I say it to her as if she should know all about it. As if I'm used to recording all the time. She sighs and nods, wiping water from her lips.

"I know," she whispers. And I leave, thinking again about this stranger. Who misses me.

***

I stare into the glassy lake, looking at a reflection that isn't mine. It's a boy. He is beautiful. I dip my fingers in the water, reaching for him, but he disappears, the image of his body distorting into clear water. I cry for him. I want him back. But he's gone. Forever. I pull my knees to my chest and cry, I cry until the stars light up the sky and sing me to sleep. And it's a sleep I wish never to wake from. But I do, I wake up. And in the morning, the next day, I wait for his reflection to come back. But it doesn't.

I rest my head against the piano keys, closing my eyes. They really don't lie when they say music is another world. It's like a dream. It's like I become somebody else, like I'm not just Iris anymore. I am the girl at the lake who cries for the boy that never returns. But will he? When the song is over, is that just it? Is the girl destined to just wait and wait and wait forever for her love that will always never come back, because it's written in the music? What if I'm just living in somebody's song, just another piece of the music? And what happens when the song is over? What will happen to me then?

"Iris, you're crying."

Calloused fingertips stroke the back of my head. I sniff.

"Dad?"

"Yes, sweetie? Are you okay?"

"What if I'm just a piece of music? What if I'm not anybody at all?"

He chuckles. "Well," he starts. "I suppose that's just life. If you are, then it can't be helped. Just live life how it comes, kiddo. Even if it's just a song, live that song well."

And he runs his hands through my hair, then leaves me alone again, my fingers raking the piano, questionable tears sliding down my cheeks. Live the song well.

Life is just a song. Live that song well.

I feel my lips lift into a painful smile.

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