I paced across the floor backstage. The chatter of the growing crowd was making me more nervous. I peeked through the curtains and gulped. I jumped as I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Abbey, don’t worry about it. You could play this with your eyes closed.” Mrs. Bryant reassured me, flashing me a warm smile.
I smiled back, but I didn’t feel much better. The other members of the band were tuning their violins or talking to their friends. I took a seat at the piano and breathed deeply. I knew how to do this. There was nothing to worry about. The others started taking their seats, and before I knew it, the curtain was disappearing, revealing a crowd of parents and students.
I spotted Evan in the third row and smiled. The violinists started going, and I knew exactly when to start. The sheet music was quite boring honestly, and the mixture of being bored and being nervous finally got to me. I started thinking of a much more fun song to play. I didn’t even realize I had started playing it.
Suddenly I heard Mrs. Bryant’s voice from off stage. “Abbey, what are you doing?” She hissed. My fingers were still playing the song though. I quickly pulled away, but I pulled away too violently, and I fell back in my chair. A gasp spread through the audience. The curtain was quickly drawn back, and I sat on the ground in darkness for a moment.
When the lights came back on, Mrs. Bryant dragged me upright. I started apologizing, but she wasn’t hearing. “You get off stage!” She barked at me, and I backed up. “Where is the piano back-up?” She asked someone. I ran through the backstage hallway, and sat against the door leading out into the rest of the school.
There was a knock at the door. I didn’t answer. “It’s Toby, Abbey.” Toby said. I reluctantly stood up and opened the door. He shut the door behind him. “Piano is my one thing, Toby. It’s the one thing I can do, and now I don’t even have control over that anymore!” I explained, wiping away incoming tears. I sat back down against the door. Toby took a seat beside me.
“The thing about people like us is we always assume we don’t have a choice.” Toby started. I bit my cheek. “And the thing is we really do. We have the choice to do what we want.” I frowned. “I don’t believe that, Toby. If I could stop myself from doing some things, I would.” I replied quietly. “There will always be days we can’t control. Some days I’ll be miserable, and nothing will help, not even medication. And some days you will be bouncing off the walls. But most days, with the support, and medical attention we need, I think we’ll be fine.” Toby said.
I scoffed. “Toby, I don’t know about you, but I have no support, and I have no medical attention. I don’t even have a diagnosis, so thanks for that little pep talk, but it doesn’t really apply to me!” I shouted, standing up. “Then stop feeling so sorry for yourself and get a diagnosis!” He shouted back. I was taken a back because I had never heard him shout before. “Stop moping around here like your problems are the worst; be a little considerate for once! All I’ve ever done is helping you!” I could tell Toby was snapping big time.
He rubbed his forehead and left. I thought about going after him, it probably wasn’t safe for him to be alone. “I’m sorry.” I said almost inaudibly. The door creaked as Evan walked in. He just stood opposite me, and said nothing. “I’m going to get my diagnosis, and the proper help I need.” I said coldly, and made my way to the door.
Evan grabbed my arm as I tried to get past him. “You need a parent to take you to the doctors; you can’t just go as you please.” He said. I gritted my teeth. “Take me home.” I said. When we got home, Dad was sitting at the dining room table, eating eggs on toast. I scowled and continued walking. I could feel my anger tearing through me. I slammed the door to my room and flopped on the bed.
After a while, I got up to a tapping noise on my window. I raised an eyebrow as I saw it was Nadine and Norma. They grinned as I opened my window. “We heard you had a rough night.” Nadine said. I nodded. “Come on, were all down at the beach.” I glanced at the clock on my wall. It was 9:45pm. I gulped, and then decided that it would be good to get out of the house. Besides, the beach was basically my front garden.
I hopped out of the window and raced Nadine and Norma down to the beach, where some other girls from school were. I recognized some of them from Math and a few from detention. We played some games, and after a couple of hours there were only five of us left. Norma and two others said they were going for one last swim, and I and Nadine sat on the beach.
“Do you want to know how I got into that school?” Nadine turned to me. I nodded. “I have a fascination with fires. I always have. Last year I set fire to a piece of paper and left it in the girls’ bathroom, but it ended up spreading and the whole bathroom was gone before the firemen reached it.” I stared at her in awe. “Since then I haven’t set any more fires. Even though no schools will take me still, my parents have forgiven me. I actually have a better connection than ever with them.” She said, while tracing a smiley face in the sand.
“The point is, your Dad will forgive you, and when you have nothing else left, you know you always have family.” Nadine finished. I looked at her, and she crossed her eyes and fell back on the sand laughing. “That’s all the motivational talks I have.” She said, still laughing.
I sighed and stood up to go home. I was so glad to have heard Nadine’s story. Unfortunately, knowing that story is what got me into a detention centre.