Leech. Part 1

date: 10/04/2010 category: features
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It was just another night; a night the same as the last. It was just another night in the dimly lit basement of my dad's three-bedroom house. The cool autumn air squeezed through the cracks in the window pain. Oh, and the basement thing, it's not what you think; I am only fifteen, so it is completely normal for me to be living with my parents. Plus, one of those three bedrooms is mine. I just prefer the basement, there is something about it that ispeaceful. I was sitting on a dusty old sofa, hunched over an equally beat-up guitar. A clutter of papers was on the floor, the majority of them crumpled and torn. Looking at this disarray, you probably wouldn't believe those papers were one of my most valuable possessions. They were the papers that held the messy scribbles of my life. They were the papers that sang my song. Someone once recommended to me a notebook so they wouldn't get crumpled or torn. I didn't like that idea; if it was not crumpled or torn, how could it be real? Tonight was a pretty good night; it was just passed midnight, and I haven't had a noise complaint yet. I was strumming some chords, a favorite pastime of mine. My fingers were ink-stained and raw, and they started to ache. But that was the last of my problems. I was trying to compose a good strumming pattern to go along with my newest set of lyrics. I didn't want to go with that same I-V-IV shit; I wanted this to be something new. But, I was starting to lose hope; I have been aimlessly strumming for over an hour now. I decided to set the guitar down on the sofa, turn my amp off, and call it a night. I made sure to add a new addition to my mound of paper before I left, casting my lyrics into the dark abyss of Mount Going-Nowhere. At least that's what everyone told me. I turned the light off on my way up the stairs, and crawled into bed. It was just another night. My name is Carl Leech, and there is nothing special about me. I go to school, I play guitar, and like 15 billion other people, I want to be a rock star. I live in Lindsay, Ontario, and I'm a tenth grader at I.E. Weldon Secondary School. I live at home with my father and my older brother. He's eighteen, and he wants to be a surgeon. I guess that makes me the failure; a surgeon is looked upon as an honorable occupation, a rock starnot so much. But I really don't give a damn what anyone thinks. I'm not here on this world to satisfy them! I'm here to satisfy myself, and if you support me, I will try to consider you as well. That's just the way life is; it's harder to get from point A to point B when someone else is riding on your back. In that same sense, if you're riding on someone else's back, you'd be better to walk to point B, as your weight is slowing them down. I don't ask for anything, so that way I don't have to give anything in return. It just makes life so much easierwelleasier in relation. My alarm squealed horrendously, and my eyes immediately shot open. I lifted my lifeless arm over to it, and pushed the snooze button. "Why do these things have to be so goddamn loud? And why does the bus have to be here so goddamn early?" I lifelessly complained. I knew there was no sense in complaining; either way, my alarm was going to be just as loud tomorrow, and the bus is going to be here just as early. I sat up in my bed for a few minutes before making the commitment of stepping out. It was 6:00 a.m., my typical weekday awakening. But by the time I had actually stepped out of my room, it was quarter after. "Jeez, you sleep in? You better stop that, it only gets earlier from here. Ive been up since 5:30!" My brother was already awake. He was frying up some bacon while simultaneously buttering a piece of toast. "Shut the hell up Chris," I sleepily mumbled in response. He was always trying to convince me that he was better than me. He probably was, but I didn't care. I can face the fact that I'm not the best, but he can't. He always tries to convince everyone he is perfect, which was a completely unrealistic goal. But there is really nothing I can do about that; it seemed like today was just going to be another day, much like last night was just another night. The school bell rang, summoning chaos in the halls. Everything was calm during the ten minutes in-between classes, but once that bell rings, you better hurry the hell up. It's actually quite the site; packs of students huddled around lockers, casually talking about god knows what. But once that bell rings, people start swinging open lockers, jamming binders into their bags while rushing through the halls to their next class. "Well, only one more class to go until we're outta here," I said to Grubbs while grabbing a math textbook. Jeremy Grubbs would probably be my best friend, if I cared enough to give my friends a rating. I've known him since third grade, and he was probably the only person, other than me, who has laid eyes on my crumpled pieces of music. He was a drummer, and the only musician I ever really "jammed" with. We've been meaning to start up a band for a while now, but never really got around to it. "Yeah," he replied, while frantically searching for a notebook that he'd obviously lost in the dark abyss of his locker. "One day we won't need to come back here. A couple more years..." "Maybe, but where the hell do we go then?" "I dunnohopefully somewhere worth going to." I laughed at the thought. "That would be a change." I started my trek through the congested hallway to my tenth grade math class. Trying to get there without bumping elbows with everybody was nearly impossible, and one particular bump caused a loose piece of paper to slip out of my binder and gracefully float to the awaiting floor. That was fine, except for one small detail. "Shit, how did that get in there?" I muttered under my breath, as the sheet finally landed on the hard ground. This piece of paper wasn't a note or a homework assignment. This piece of paper was crumpled and torn; this piece of paper was one of my songs. They were lyrics to a song I'd written a week or two ago, and the title has since slipped my mind. To this day I am still unaware as to how it got into my binder. I'd call it fate, except I don't believe in that stuff. I bent over to grab the paper off the floor, when someone else's hand beat me to it. When I saw who it was, I nearly headed for the hills. "You should take better care of your school work Carl." I almost pissed my pants when I saw Jessica Stowe holding that crumpled paper. Jessicawellshe's the girl that I think I love, although I'm most likely wrong on that account. I knew she wasn't perfect, and she knew it as well, but that's what made my love for herreal. "It'sit's not school work," was all I could mumble out. I was so goddamn nervous I couldn't even look her in the eye, and found myself constantly staring at the ground. "Oh, really? What is it then?" Jessica questioned, raising an eyebrow before her eyes plummeted towards the words. She glanced down at the paper, and started reading. I'm still baffled to this day how she could read my chicken-scratch handwriting. After the longest short period of time I have ever endured in my life, she looked up at me. "This isamazing" I nearly pissed my pants a second time once I heard her say those three words. There had only been two people before her who had thought of my work as "amazing"; me and Grubbs. "Thank you" "Do you sing?" "Hell no! I stick to the guitar, for both mine and everyone else's sake. Do you?" This was the complete and total truth. I tried singing once; small children cried. "Yeah, a bit." I had now mustered up enough courage to look up. I could see the sincerity in what she was saying. She actually liked my song. "We should jam sometime. I really want to try singing this." "Yeah, that would be awesome." I delightedly responded. "Cool. How's tomorrow sound?" "That would beawesome" The bell rang a second time, signaling that class had started. "Dammit, I'm late for English," Jessica sighed. "Well, I'll talk to you later Carl." "You too." At this point, I was also late for class, so once Jessica was gone, I quickly ran down the hall. But I didn't really give a damn how late I was. The girl I might love actually found my workamazing. It was a great feeling, knowing someone else acknowledged my work as more than a "waste of time". It wasglorious. Jessica Stowe was no legendary musician, nor was she a big time producer. But the fact that she admired my work was light-years ahead of the feeling I could get from any of those people admiring it. While I was sitting in math class, I realized that Jessica still had that crumpled piece of paper. But I didn't mind. Sometimes you have to give up your prized possessions for the right reason. Sometimes a sacrifice can lead to a bigger gain. And this was one minuscule sacrifice in comparison to the gain that was to later come from it. Hey, maybe today wasn't just another day. Maybe today was something different; somethingspecial. Maybe this would become something spectacular. But, amongst all these "maybes", I knew there was a few "definitely" as well. I definitely had a chance with this music, and I definitely had one hell of a task ahead of me. In the words of Brian Johnson, "it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll". And that's exactly what I wanted to do.
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