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Drama Friendship Teens & Young Adult

Wade turned into his parking place and screeched to a halt. The neighboring car, straddling the line, sat half in his spot.

How can people be so lame?’

Fuming, he backed out and parked down the block.

Knowing who owned the car, he knocked on her apartment door. No answer.

Hours passed, watching for her return. He worked. He ate. He practiced routines on his silent drum pads.

He looked out and saw her at the car. Sprinting to the garage, he arrived as she sat behind the wheel.

“Hi! Can you move your car? You’re blocking my spot.” She acted like he’d attacked her. “Sorry. Did I startle you?”

She mumbled.

Wade said, “Excuse me?” She looked. “I didn’t hear you.”

“Never mind. I’m leaving. Want me to move? Or no?”

Her musical voice rode an untraceable accent.

“Since we each pay for a space, please...”

She started the engine.

Wade said, “We’re neighbors… I’m Wade.”

She looked at his hand and offered her fist in reply. They bumped.

“I’m Bree.”

“Breeze?”

“Only Bree.” She spelled it out. “No ‘z.’ No ‘e.’”

“I’ll remember. ‘Bree.’ Just not ‘ea-sy.’”

She expected a fight, but caught his smile.

They both chuckled.

“Sorry I crossed the line… uhm, Wade. Never good at staying in the lines.”

“You too? They always got in the way for me.” He could listen to her voice all day.

She said, “Nice meeting you. Need to go.”

She shut her door, backed out and drove off.

He got his car and pulled into his spot.

The sweetest music always flowed through her open window. Sometimes she sang with a full, round voice. It had to be her. Its depth defied description.

Wade told his bandmates about her.

Roy played a piano sting. “Bring her in.”

Cliff, the bass player, said, “See if she blends. What she sing?”

Wade told them, “Kind of ethereal. Ethnic. Caribbean…? Hard to pin down. Could be what we need.”

A few days later he heard a song from Bree’s apartment. She opened the door to his knock, and looked surprised.

“Hi, Bree. What’s that music you’re playing?”

“Too loud?”

“No. I love it.”

She stepped back and indicated a chair. They listened through a few songs on her stereo. Tapping his fingers, he copied the recording’s drumming style.

“Do you play?”

“Sometimes…”

“I’d love to hear you.”

She looked doubtful. “Really?”

“Of course… I play drums in a band. The Royals. Know them?” She shook her head. “What do you play?”

“Guitar. And sing… a little.”

“Would you play for me?”

Picking up her guitar, she picked out a melody. She sang. Her voice felt timeless, known since before he was born.

“That was amazing. Sad. But mixed with joy… and hope. So rich.”

“Thank you. I didn’t know if…”

“It’s a gift. You in a band?”

She smiled and shook her head. “No. I couldn’t.”

“Why not?

She took a long pause. “Shy… I guess.”

“I told my band about you.” She shifted. “They want to hear you. Looking for a singer…”

“No, no… I don’t think so.”

Wade smiled. “Open invite. If you change your mind…”

She stared at the floor. “I don’t know…”

“Bree… Is there a problem?”

She sighed. “People steal…”

“Your music? I won’t steal it, Bree. If you give, they can’t steal.”

She shook her head. “Meaning?”

“If no one hears it, what good is it?”

“But it’s ours.”

“Of course… Come out of your cave. Bring a stick, the fire warms everyone.”

“But they take it, change it. Then sell it back.”

She checked her cell phone.

“Make a difference by joining the conversation.” He drew her attention.

“But how?”

“People love beauty, Bree. Play. They’ll share with others. It’ll grow…”

She heard him but the meaning didn’t gel.

Wade said, “Who heard of World Music before Paul Simon hopped onto it?”

“Yeah, he got rich.”

“Not only him. He introduced dozens of talented people to the world. It grew. They thrived.”

She returned her guitar to its stand.

“Bree, I love your music. The world needs your voice. By yourself, with me, or others. Up to you.”

She nodded and looked down.

Wade stood. “I have to go.”

“Where?”

“To meet my mates. Like kids in a sandbox, play music.”

“Can I come?”

“Sure. Watch and listen. Or play.” They moved to leave. “Bring your guitar. Then you’ve got it if you want.”

~

Arriving for rehearsal, Wade introduced Bree to Roy and Cliff. Roy bumped fists with her.

Cliff nodded and sized her up. “You any good?”

Roy and Wade rolled their eyes at him.

Bree said, “Wade thinks so. You the judge?”

“Don’t be shy. There’s the mic.” He picked up his bass. Unsure, she looked around. Cliff thrummed a chord. “Go ahead. We’ll try to keep up.”

Bree stepped to the mic. This wasn’t planned.

Wade whispered, “Relax. He’s screwing with you. I’ll start. Sing what you like.”

Their eyes met and she sighed. Wade sat at the kit and nodded in time. After a tom-tom roll, he set an easy beat.

Bree caught the rhythm and sang. “You said we’ll last forever. So where the hell you been? Been weeks she’s had that fever. She’s lookin’ pretty green…” Her voice filled the room.

Grinning, Roy played a subtle bed in support. But, as if it were a solo spot, Cliff went into arpeggio mode. Ignoring Wade’s looks, he doubled down. Welcome to the Cliff Show.

Bree trailed off at the end of the verse. She stared at the floor.

Feigning surprise, Cliff stopped. “That’s it?”

Holding the mic stand, Bree approached him. “You want to sing?” Cliff stepped back. She shoved the mic toward him. Feedback squealed. Wade and Roy covered their ears. “You’ll keep up?” He raised his arms defensively. She laughed. “I can sing, baby... anywhere… long as you’re not there.”

She set the mic stand down and shot a look at Wade. “Don’t know if you’ve got a problem, but he’s a sick pup.”

Cliff rushed up. “Hey, Bree… mellow out, babe. I didn’t mean anything. Just playin.’ You know...?” He produced a joint, lit it, and held it out to her. “Let’s be friends…”

She knocked it out of his hand. “You want to play? I don’t play that. I came to sing.” She gestured and said something in another language. It didn’t sound nice.

Wade tried to intervene, but she waved him off.

“I’ll drive you.”

“Don’t have time for this…”

She left.

Wade turned to Cliff. “What was that?”

“Nice voice. High-strung though…”

Roy shook his head. “Time’s about up. Call it a night?”

Wade nodded and left.

~

Wade and Bree didn’t talk after that. They might nod in passing at the apartment complex. She took care when parking her car.

He still heard music from her apartment window.

The Royals kept rehearsing. They played an occasional gig, but for Wade, the thrill had gone.

One night, after rehearsal, Wade walked by a club. The music drew him in. And there Bree stood, in the spotlight, looking the pro.

Bree saw him and waved. She took the mic. He could tell she sang to him alone. That voice.

Others danced but he stood entranced, swaying to the beat. The drummer was great. The band was good.

At the break, she found him and they embraced like friends. She pulled him to meet her bandmates. Everyone smiled in greeting.

She indicated the drummer. “Jerry’s got a better gig and is ditching us.” The others pointed and made jeering sounds. Jerry laughed.

Jerry said, “Bree says you’re a drummer. You want my spot?”

This floored Wade. He looked at the guys who nodded encouragement. “You’re kidding! You sure?”

“No joke. Sit in, next set.”

Wade stammered.

Behind him, Bree whispered, “Go ahead, we’ll try to keep up.”

He gave her a look and the whole group cracked up.

Jerry offered his drum sticks to Wade, who took them with reverence.

“Thanks, man…”

Jerry bowed and moved his hands, ad-libbing a blessing. They laughed.

The set went well. Wade proved himself. The crowd welcomed him. The band loved him.

Bree introduced Wade as her old friend, who first discovered her.

June 10, 2022 16:19

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2 comments

VJ Hamilton
00:38 Jun 15, 2022

I love how you wove the theme of music through this story!

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John K Adams
02:37 Jun 15, 2022

Thanks for reading and commenting. I wasn't sure I could do it, but once I sat down to it, it just flowed.

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