"Hey, Nadia." I say. She spins round, her crimson curls flying with her. As she tries to look at me, her emerald orbs just miss. Tentatively, I reach out and grip her shoulder, just to let her know I'm there. I knew she was blind when I first came here, because we chatted a bit, but that's all I know her for.
"Oh, hey Louie." She shudders for the cold breeze flowing in through the cracks in the walls of the building. I frown as it tickles the edge of my t-shirt.
"D'you wanna...you know, get going? I was thinking we could sing 'Waiting For Superman', by Daughtry?" She smiles.
"Sure. Let's go." She holds out her hand and I take it. Slowly and cautiously, I lead her to our small practice room - I don't want anyone to see.
Once we're inside the room, I sit down and so does Nadia.
"Shall we start?" I ask politely.
" 'Kay," She starts to click her fingers before whispering, "five, six, seven, eight." And we begin.
I'm proud of my voice. It's strong but quiet and I have a good range, bigger than most. Then again, Nadia's effortlessly angelic tone just fills the room with a strange mix of happiness and sadness, anger and calm all at the same time. I feel myself swaying to the beat, the flow of the music. The clock ticks become just another backing instrument along with the howling of the wind outside and the shouting and laughing from the others teens.
Seconds blur together, minutes become nothing and the song seems to twist everything around me. At the end, I feel like crying, I'm so full of everything.
"Phew! It sure does...take it...out of you." Nadia's voice brings me out of my murmuring thoughts and into the real world.
"Wh- oh yeah, I'm whacked!" To follow this up, I flop onto the hard floor, laughing.
"You wanna sing another?"
"Go on then!" I say, rolling my eyes.
As we open the door to leave, I realize that I want someone with me when I go. The dark streets really shouldn't frighten a sixteen year-old like me, but when I think that people like my parents might be out there...I just can't bear the thought of, now that I have a friend, going alone.
"May I walk you home?" It comes out posher than I'd hoped, but Nadia thinks it's a silly joke.
"Why, Sir Louie, I'd rather like a spot of your exquisite company." I link my muscular arm into her skinny one.
"C'mon then, my sweet Nadia, let us return home." She leans her head on my shoulder and I feel a certain warmth inside me. I don't like her...not in that way at least, but something within me kicks up.
At least, I don't think I like her...
"So, Louie, tell me about yourself!" My heart skips a second. Myself...
I don't want to tell Nadia anything about me. Why should I? Nothing good ever happens to me, I'm from a criminal family, the stupid kid at school. But I know that I have to tell her now, or else I'll never let it out.
"Oh...well...look Nadia, please don't judge me. It's just...my parents...they're criminals."
"I get it. That doesn't decide who you are, though, Louie. They can do what they like with their lives, but me and you, we've got a thousand and one choices, ain't we? So, carry on. I think there's a lot more to you than your parents." It stuns me. Her use of words is like a movie - perfect, beautiful and something so meaningful to the situation.
"I guess...thanks. Um, well...I'm the idiot at school, I don't really have any friends...that's about it. All I ever wanna do is sing. So, Nadia, will you keep singing with me?" She grips my hand after a few attempts at finding it.
"Oh, Louie, don't say that! I bet, in fact I know that you're not an idiot. I know that you have friends, because I am one of them! And one last thing. There is no way on this earth that I will stop singing with you. Because you're great, Louie. You really are." I feel the blush burning my cheeks, but I still keep holding her hand.
So maybe I do like her...
"How did you become blind?" She stiffens at my totally out-of-the-blue question.
"Oh...I'll tell you some other time, as this is my house." Her feet stop in front of a reasonably-nice house..
"How did you...you can't..."
"I count the steps, Louie. I count every step I take, because someday, my feet are gonna have to get used to counting dance steps when I'm dancing to my own song on stage, the next Stevie Wonder. Because I really believe I'm gonna make it. So I will. Bye, Lou."
"Wow...bye, Nad." Nicknames already? My life may have just become a million times better.
Because you're great, Louie. You really are...