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I don’t really know what normal is. Paint a picture in your mind of normal and you see a girl with freckles, an angelic face, and maybe a floral dress. You can’t paint the mind though. That’s what makes the angelic, flowery dress girl un-normal, the fact that she may have deep, dark secrets. I used to be a little girl with a floral print dress. I used to have an angelic face.
That’s all gone now. On the outside, I used to be normal, but now I’m different inside and out. I have a deep scar across my left cheek from where my own father tried to murder me with a kitchen knife. I stare at the piano underneath my hands, the only thing that keeps me sane. I always come to the music room after school for an hour before I go home.
My hands start to play “Pathétique” by Beethoven, one of his saddest and most raw songs. When Beethoven wrote this, his heart probably was whipped until it began to bleed sadness. I don’t sympathize with him though. I feel I have wasted tears and years over a man who is worth nothing.
If only I could find someone worth something…
She plays beautifully, almost flawless. I’m here everyday, listening to her play just outside the door, but never having the courage to go in. I have stalked the girl with the scar on her face stealthily, or rather just asked her close friend about her. The girl with the scar has a beautiful name, Christine Gates. Her name is like a measure of music that flows perfectly, just like the music that pours out of her long fingers.
I know almost everything about her. Christine’s favorite color is teal, her favorite song is Fur Elise, her dead brother’s name is Caden, but what I don’t know is the story of the scar, the very scar that defines her. My best friend Gabriel thinks I’m crazy for liking, no loving her, but you know what? Perfection is overrated.
Especially since I, Jason Isner, am perfect, but I don’t want to be…
When I finish my hour, I look for him, the boy that’s always walking down the hall when I exit the music room. He’s perfect and way out of my league, but I find myself loving the way he walks. His shoulders are pulled up as if held there by invisible strings. He shows pride in himself and I normally hate cocky people, but this guy isn’t cocky. He was trained to be perfect. His copper hair is impeccably smoothed back, there’s not a wrinkle in his clothes, and he walks as if he has a purpose.
If you’re lucky though, you might just get a glimpse of his socks. He hides it well, but you can see that they’re different colors. One is a light tan and the other is a dark brown. That, I conclude, is his silent scream.
Jason Isner is perfect, but he doesn’t want to be. He would give up being star quarterback, prodigious cellist, and student body president if he had a good reason. I pry my eyes away from him and go to the hotel where I work. I try not to think because only one thought will pop into my head.
I want to be his reason…
When Christine leaves Torrey Pines High School, I follow her to where she works as a pianist at a hotel. I sit in a red, velvet chair in the hotel lobby so I can listen to her almost flawless playing. She plays each note perfectly, but there’s something missing that I can’t put my finger on.
Then I see it. That single glistening tear that runs along her scar and drops to a white key on the piano. The emotion should have taken over her music, but it is nowhere to be seen (or heard in this case). My cello teacher always told me to put emotion into my music to bring the music piece to life. Christine’s music isn’t alive since she keeps all her emotions trapped inside herself.
I finally have the key, but Christine has to be willing to open the door…
I hear the door to the music room open. I lift the curtain of brown hair that hides my scar to see who it is. My mouth drops when I see who is walking towards me. None other than the perfect Jason Isner.
“Hi Christine,” he says gently and flashes a weak smile. I look at his socks; today one is red and the other pink. I look up at him and smile back. I just needed reassurance that he has an imperfection too.
“Jason,” I spit out his name quickly, as if he might disappear if I don’t say it fast enough. “What are you doing here?”
“I have the key.”
“The key to what?” Christine asks.
“The key to your heart,” I answer. “I’m always outside the door listening to your music and it’s amazing, beautiful.” I look into her blue eyes that always seem wet.
“Really?” she whispers.
“Really,” I say. “There’s only one thing you need to add to make it perfect.”
“Emotion,” he says. He lifts his perfect hand and drags a finger along my scar. “You have a beautiful scar, but there’s a terrible story behind it,” Jason tells me. “Play it.” I nod and begin to play Fur Elise, my favorite song. More tears begin to form in my eyes and soon it’s a storm threatening to rain. I let it rain. Why? Because those aren’t wasted tears and years.
My father was worth something, but not as much as the guy sitting right next to me. I can feel the heat of him and I lean into it as I continue to play.
I hear Christine in Fur Elise for the first time. I hear the story of her life. First, her life started happily, perfect even. Then something happened, a disaster that ripped her and her family apart. Then the disaster stopped and an extreme sadness replaced it. Over time though, she starts to heal and the healing seems almost complete when it reaches the end.
“Was that perfect?” she asks.
“Yes, Christine,” I answer her. “That was perfect and you know what I realized?”
“What?” she says, her voice cracking.
“If you’ll have me, I’ll give up perfection for you.”
I just stare at him for a few seconds, just letting it soak in.
“Yes!” I shout and throw my arms around him. He holds my face in his now imperfect hands and we kiss.
And the kiss was perfect, it really was.