I was a musician once. Organ, harp and viola were my loves, and every day I spent practicing, slaving, tortured over them. Organ was the ruler of them though, and every day after I finished my classes in the afternoon, I would go to the lonely church where hardly any people went and silently walk up the marble steps to the indoor balcony where there were beautiful stained glass windows and also some windows looking over a beautiful view of the suburban town and the sea, and where my friend waited. I did the usual--take out my key, unlock the organ, open the old wooden covering, and let the wonderful musty smell of it rise to my face. Then I would turn on the power switch and change my shoes, or not have shoes at all. And so, I would play for hours, all the way until eleven at night (with breaks for homework and meals of course), nothing to hinder me--no friends, no family, no lovers.
I was a very young girl of about four years when I began playing piano, and when I was tall enough at the age of twelve, I played organ and also began the harp, (because I always thought it was graceful), and the viola, (because it was different to me and I liked the tone). My parents had passed away when I was eleven, and I was on my own with my aunt who was mostly away from home from six in the morning until midnight for her job. I was now seventeen, and this was still happening, and I had no friends at school whom I could connect, which was fine with me since I was also caught up in my studies.
But something changed when I was going through my normal routine at the lonely church. I walked up the marble steps and stared the floor as usual to watch the dancing stained glass reflections. But when I looked up at the windows, there was another person there, leaned against the rail, faced away from me, watching the view as I always did when I took a break from practicing. I was a little frightened at first. I was not used to another person with me, but I opened the organ and began to play anyway, since the person did not move or go away. As I played, I watched him cautiously.
When the person finally turned around after I finished my first piece, an organ concerto I had written recently, I saw he was kind and beautiful looking. His eyes were shimmering almost gold, and he was smiling at me. "I hear you play every day," he said. "I hear from outside and I wondered who was playing, and so I came in here to listen. I hope you do not mind."
"I do not," I said, trying to be polite. "Who are you?"
"Kent Greenwane. I go to your school."
"Marion Auswith. I might have seen you," I said calmly even though I felt not.
"I play organ as well," Kent told me. "At the other church at the other side of town, but I do not play nearly as much as you. Perhaps about two times a week, and hour each day, and a lesson. Do you have lessons?"
"I do," I said, looking down and blushing. "I get them from Albert Smith."
"Same as I," Kent said with a small hint of surprise in his tone. "He talks a lot about you and that you are a good example of a good musician."
I blushed even more.
"Do you mind if I stay here and do homework?" he asked. "I have nothing else to do. My mother is gone to work and I do not have anyone else. My father is away in Finland."
"Yes, you may," I said nodding. "You are kind of like me. I only have my aunt with me."
He gave a slight expression of sympathy. He hardly showed any expression otherwise. "We are alike in that way then," he said, and this made warmth run through me.
So I had met Kent that day. He began to come every afternoon and do homework as I practiced, except for the days he practiced and had his lessons. At first I was not used to it, but I began to like it more and more. I enjoyed his presence and on the days he was not there, I felt for some reason, lonely.
One day, about three weeks after I met Kent, I was walking along a trail that ran through the local woods near the town, pondering thoughts. What was wrong with me? I was so used to being alone, but now I was suddenly feeling lonely since Kent appeared? I slapped my own head as if that would take him off my mind. It obviously did not work. I suddenly heard a voice behind me. "Hey, you're Marion, right?"
I abruptly turned around to see a girl my own age following me down the trail. It was a relief that she thrusted me out of my own thoughts, yet I was annoyed that someone was talking to me.
"Yes," I answered in a murmur.
"You go to my school. You are in biology with me, I think? My name is Helena Trent by the way."
I nodded. My mind was furiously activated, trying to look for words, but I could not find any in time. Instead, I looked enamored at her pretty face and her heavenly blue-green eyes. She was smiling at me. I was taken aback not only by her, but also by myself since I was beginning to feel the same way about her as I felt for Kent--this feeling of shyness, longing.
I began to speak with Helena as we strode down the trail--more like, she spoke at me--though not terribly fast and annoyingly as so many of the girls in my school. I liked it. She was quite kind as Kent was, and she had a certain wisdom about her that showed every time she looked directly into her eyes, and yet I also saw how nervous she was around me, as if she might have been feeling similar to me. Obviously, I was wondering myself what I was feeling around her, and Kent as well. I was a little intimidated as well. Perhaps this was "falling in love" as people called it, but with two people, and now I found myself torn between them. I knew Kent and had grown to love him and his presence, yet somehow Helena attracted me.
Stop thinking about it! End this!
I was brought back to reality when I slapped my own head again, and when I did Helena looked shocked. "What in the world Marion," she said. "Are things well with you?"
I ran my fingers through my hair like the boys in my school. "Yes, I am fine actually," I said, and it was the truth. "I tend to slap my head at things."
The weekend was over. I hardly even realized there had been a weekend for I had been so lost in my thoughts. My organ teacher Albert Smith had even noticed my lack of improvement during the organ lesson. He told me I looked distract. "Hardly," I had said to him calmly and with a forced smile, but obviously that did not suffice and he told me I should take a days break away from my instruments, especially the organ, so I could collect my thoughts. I suppose he had wise advice in this case.
I was at school, and somehow I noticed the people there more. I found myself looking for Kent, then for Helena, then for Kent, then for Helena again. I did see Helena during biology. She sat at the back of the classroom, always fooling around. No wonder she recognized me from behind. I also saw Kent at lunch, speaking with a bunch of girls. Somehow I remembered always seeing him with girls, but he did not look like he cared for any of them. He turned around and saw me. We watched each other for a while.
"So I hear you practice organ at the church?" Helena asked me when school was finished. "Where do you go?"
I was about to answer, but I caught sight of Kent getting onto his bike. He then caught sight of us. He somehow tensed, and I could see it in his face muscles and eyes. Helena also noticed, and promptly forgot her question. She seemed to look back and forth at both of us. I did as well. They were both people whom I had these strange romantic feelings for, yet being with both of them something was horribly knotted up. Kent got off his bike and walked to us.
"Helena," he said, regarding her with a nod. Then to me, "Marion."
I was confused and wanted to run away and hide in the church again. Had I started something negative between them? Surely not, perhaps they were just as confused as I was. In their eyes I saw both longing yet hate. Kent did not just look at me in such a way, but also to Helena. And also for Helena, to both of us she looked torn. For me, I knew that I was in love with both of them, and therefore I was torn. I could not be sure about them of course, but something was hiding.
"I must go," I said, taking out my hat from my bag, twisting up my hair, and tucking it under the hat. "I must practice. I have already skipped one day.
But when I arrived at the organ that afternoon, I found that my fingers were shaking and I seemingly forgot how to play, even a scale. I watched my feet for a long while, pondering my new, unwelcome feelings. After an hour of trying to play at least a decent scale, I found that tears were seeping through the spaces between the organ keys.
The next few weeks at school, I found myself getting jealous every time I saw Kent and Helena together, not because I only wanted Kent, or because I only wanted Helena, but because I wanted both of them, yet I could not choose since I only wanted one. But when I found myself with either Kent or Helena, I noticed how jealous both of them looked from afar. My theory of them must have been correct. Surely they felt the same as I did. But I also noticed the rumors people in our grade were spreading. "Helena's going out with Kent," "Kent is going out with Marion," "Helena is bisexual. She told me," "Marion is trying to break Kent and Helena apart," so on, so on, so on, I hated it all, I was scared of it all, I wanted to hide in my music again. But I could not.
Once, a boy in my grade came up to me and asked if I "liked" Helena in a romantic way. I was torn about what to say. I almost wanted to say the truth, that was "yes," but fortunately Kent interfered and told him to leave me alone.
"Who do you 'like'?" I asked Kent as we walked down the hall to where we ate lunch. I could not believe that I had asked, and I immediately felt like a fool. I wanted to hit my head again, this time against a wall, but instead I stayed calm. Kent had an incredibly emotionless stare, and it scared me.
"Perhaps I am the same as you," he said stiffly. "If I am analyzing you correctly."
I wanted to scream. I was unable to play music well, now that I was so torn, and I could not stand all of these rumors and hidden feelings snaking about between me, Kent and Helena. I regretted that Kent had ever come to the church. I almost thought twice that things might have been better if Kent and Helena had not even been born. When I arrived at the church in the afternoon, I took my organ music and slammed it against my head over and over again. "You fool! You worthless fool!" I yelled, my voice echoing through the empty church. "How could you think like that, you are such a selfish person! You don't deserve to speak. You don't even deserve to think!"
And I whipped out my scissors and held them to my throat, wheezing and sobbing. I held them there for a long time, brawling with myself. I thought of all the things I could do and how simple it would be. I slowly came to my senses as I calmed down.
"It is just a phase," I whispered. I put down the scissors and picked up my ruined organ music, my hair messy and covering my face. I slowly stood up. "What is wrong with you," I murmured. "Don't start feeling sorry for yourself. At least your situation is not as bad as other people in the world."
That day, I headed home early without playing a note.
At school over the next few days, I watched Kent and Helena warily. I wanted to tell them how I was faring with them and that I had been torn between them, but would they understand? Would the feel the same way? And most of all, would they use my confessions against me or to help all of us? I wished I never had the ability to fall in love with both sexes.
Somehow I wished my aunt were home more often so I could talk to her about all of these newly rising problems, but obviously that would not happen because I only got to see her once during the weekends, or briefly in the morning if I woke early enough. Instead, I had to fight these new problems on my own.
"They cannot be that bad, these problems," I said to myself, shrugging as I walked down the hall to my biology class. "I mean, I have seen these kind of things in books, and I have written my own stories about them too."
I sat down in my chair, lower than usual. I heard Helena laughing in the back, but her laugh did not sound real. I sensed her looking at me. I saw how confused she looked in my mind--anger, longing, love, all of that. I suddenly heard another voice behind me.
"Hey Marion, you know you are a bitch, right?" the voice said.
I turned around, shocked.
"You stole Helena's boyfriend. Why the hell would you do that?" she continued. It was an old friend of Helena's speaking, who did not often hang out with her.
"What do you mean?" I said. I looked around for the teacher, but he was absent at the moment.
The whole class went silent, except for the few who did not care.
"Come on bitch, why would you steal Helena's boyfriend? He says you took him and now you are messing around with Helena too," she said.
"I am not," I said simply. "Find out who your source is before you tell me these things." I suppose I was feeling brave at that moment.
"Well guess what? Helena and Kent told me themselves," the girl replied. She stood up and approached, moving a desk aside.
At that moment, Helena stood up as well. "Hey, why are you saying that?" she said defensively. "First of all, you are over exaggerating my words to you, which I told you to never let out to anyone, so therefore you are a liar, and secondly, Kent never told you anything. He doesn't even know you."
The girl smirked, and I saw her throat shaking faster, that was her heart.
"Well what if he does know me? Besides, why are you even talking about me? I am just saying what I hear from many people."
I watched as Helena shook furiously, her fingers twitching. I could not take the anger. In my life since my parent's death, I never bothered to notice other people anymore other than for intellectual reasons. But now that I started feeling them it was hard to take.
"You have no right to talk to Marion. She never took Kent away," Helena yelled. She paused as if she were about to say something else, but she did not say it. Instead, she stormed out of the room. I clenched my jaw. I somehow heard the organ at full volume, screaming and echoing in my head.
Lunch was worse. I caught Kent being verbally harassed by his and Helena's "friends," who were not really their friends since Kent and Helena barely had any friends but each other. They were mostly girls; the kinds that enjoy experiencing drama and causing drama.
"I thought you were with Helena."
"Why are you so hostile?"
"Helena is not telling you things because you are not doing anything with her!"
"Marion just wants to have you so she can have your money for all her stupid music lessons. She is a freak!"
There was a horrible buzzing in my ears, like a dissonant chord pressing on all registers of the organ. I saw Helena being pulled into the crowd as well, her face scared yet furious.
"What are you guys talking about? Stop harassing him, won't you?"
"I thought you cared for Kent. Why are you letting Marion in? It's like you want polygamy!" a girl said.
"What?" Kent said.
The crowd yelled out things as he finally spoke after standing there without a word. He stepped toward Helena. "What?" he asked again. Helena stepped back.
I felt the final thread of this tension about to burst. I still heard the buzzing as the girls yelled in a mix of triumph and excitement. I clenched my fists. Forward, I stepped, and before anyone could explode, I exploded, perhaps selfishly, but I still did.
"Quiet!" I screamed. Everyone stopped talking, surprised that the calm girl who barely speaks was suddenly bursting. "Stop all of this! I can't take it. We can't just solve problems by saying all of these things that are not true all at once, creating this mess of sound that grows and grows until it becomes some large, buzzing cacophony of ignorance. Are you all blind? Instead of calling out lies, why can't we just listen to the people speak and say what they truly think and feel?"
I panted in fear, but I continued to speak anyway. My words were like my fingers running across the organ keys, letting out the last of the finale of a piece. "I fell in love with both Kent and Helena when I met them. Yes, I am bisexual. I love them both, and I cannot decide between them because I care for both of them. I do not care what anyone else thinks, I just want to tell the truth and I want to stop this mess before it goes out of hand!"
The crowd surrounding looked of shock. I could not describe the feeling for I could only feel my own anger, yet relief.
Helena stepped towards me. She was almost crying. "You stole the words right from me," she said. "I have been hiding this too long and I am so glad you understand. I was also torn between you and Kent, but I did not know how to express my feelings, since usually being bisexual is complicated, at least for me." She laughed slightly.
Kent was lost in thought, but he did end up looking to us and speaking. "I was also torn between you two," he said. "But I had a feeling it was more complicated than just a war between you both trying to get me for your prize. I suppose I am glad I understand where you guys are coming from." He looked back at the staring crowd of acquaintances, then turned to me and Helena and nodded slightly. "I would tell you that you can have each other, but I do not know that you want."
"I get it," Helena said. "I suppose we will remain friends. You are the only friends I have."
"Really?" I asked. "I find that you both are the only friends I have as well. That is why I wanted to end the secrets in the first place."
"I believe you were right to," Kent said.
We became silent, and the crowd was walking away, whispering to each other.
"And probably more rumors will spread about us," Helena said and she scowled. "But curse them, they are not really my friends. As long as we don't get stabbed because of it."
And of course, I laughed stupidly, which I had never done in front of anyone in my life.
"I cannot really afford to go through jealously troubles with you both, since you both are the only ones who understand me, therefore I cannot take you for granted," I continued.
"Does it have to do with your parents?" Kent asked.
"There are gone forever, so I suppose I understand what it is like to only have a few people in my life whom I keep for a long time rather than many people for short periods of time." I looked around the campus. Lunch was almost over.
"I am sorry," Helena told me. "Being bisexual is kind of complicated, isn't it. Did you just discover this about yourself or had you known?"
"I just found out," I said.
I smiled at Kent and Helena. "I will see you guys later," I said. "I promised to be early to set up for a show. I will tell you after school where the church is so you may come if you desire, Helena. You too Kent."
The two of them nodded to me and we dispersed.
That afternoon, Helena and Kent did homework on the church benches as I finally opened my organ after weeks of hardly playing. It was wonderful smelling as always and it felt nice to the touch. My first love. I composed a new piece that day, consisting of three movements. I found that I played them rather well after not keeping in practice. The piece would be about Helena and Kent, since they had been my first true friends and the first to pull me into the harsh reality of high school drama. Of course, I felt strongly emotional about the piece at the time since I was so inexperienced with social living. I do not "live" the piece now, but it reminds me of the times when I had true friends, and that I cannot take them for granted when they are the only ones there for me.