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Another chapter from a longer prose piece

by Shanice Alexandre-Oezbicer

The room was full of smelly smoke, that made Bobbi's lungs feel like they were becoming dirtier by the second. It wasn't quite what she had imagined. It was smaller. Not really comfortable, there were almost no seats. Not really like in all the movies she had seen, it lacked the "romantic vibe" and also the music in the background wasn't even jazz, which made it a lot worse, because even if she was a rock n roll fan, she would have preferred jazz music over the amateur heavy metal songs that all the wanna-be punks seemed to enjoy and bang their bold heads to. The few tables were almost hidden in the corners of the big room and there wasn't anyone nearly her age, which was why after five minutes of being in this "hell hole", she nudged her dad with her elbow and gave him her typical "are you serious?" - look.

"Come on, sweetheart. We're here for the band, aren't we?" he gave her a confident smile and walked past the crowd of people to find a comfortable spot to stand and watch the stage. Bobbi followed him quietly and endured the disgusting smell of cigarettes and men's sweat. Great, she thought. She could have spent her evening watching old movies, like Casablanca or that one movie with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, hell, she always forgot the name of the movie, but she was in a pub. A pub that could easily be counted as a support group for alcoholics. Just when she was about to ask her Dad if there was really no way that they could just drive back home, a loud strumming of a guitar made her look up. Within three seconds the room was completely quiet and everyone's eyes were directed to the stage and the four young men standing on it. The one in the front had mid-long dark hair, almost black, Bobbi couldn't quite make out his eye-color due to the haziness. He didn't look at the audience, he stared at his black electric guitar and grinned weirdly every time his fingers touched the strings. Bobbi had mainly focused on him. He was fascinating. The way he moved on stage, as if the room belonged to him, the way his hair danced to the beat. She had hardly noticed the other three. When he started singing, it was like something in her moved.

So I fly, I fly

and all the birds fall down from the sky, the sky

I am closer to heaven now,

closer than you'll ever be

I know that I made you this way

I know that hell is waiting for me

but you'll burn first, you'll burn first

So set fire on it!

His voice had a deep, raspy and somewhat dirty sound, but it was angelic to Bobbi's ears. Bobbi felt like she was floating. The way the band played together was beyond good. That was clear. They sounded like one. They sounded like music. Like every beautiful song she had ever listened to all in one. Their dynamic and stage presence was so powerful, that Bobbi got jealous. It was in that moment, when she realized that this was what she wanted. This was what she had been missing. This was what she needed. Feeling the vibration of the bass and the kick drum, she turned around to look at people's reactions and suddenly everything was ten times louder and ten times faster and ten times brighter. As if time had stopped. Her dad was watching with a smile on his face, nodding his head to the beat, while a few others had started to form a crowd in front of the stage. The first song finished faster than expected and everyone started clapping. The band bowed and the lead singer stepped forward to the microphone once again.

"Thank you." he said and ran his fingers through his dark locks. "We're '17 Dust' and this first song was called 'set fire on it'." Bobbi couldn't help but let out a loud, cheerful scream, which drew the lead singer's attention towards her. He smiled at her and mouthed a "thank you". Bobbi couldn't help but blush and feel flustered. He had such beautiful eyes, she thought.

"This next song is written by our amazing bassist, Johnathan Mullins and it's called 'loose yourself'." Everyone started clapping. Bobbi's Dad turned towards Bobbi and smiled. "They are good, right?" he screamed over the music. Bobbi didn't even look at him, she was mesmerized by the dark haired musician and the beautiful song. "Amazing." she whispered to herself. The rest of the night went by in a blur of loud screaming, hands clapping, jumping up and down and humming along to beautiful melodies. Bobbi would have loved to hear more of the band, even though they had played for more than two hours.

"Do you want a drink, sweetie?" her dad asked her, as he was already walking towards the bar. Bobbi just shook her head. Her eyes scanned the room. She was hoping to see the lead singer and ask him a few questions. Like "how did you get so frickity damn amazing?" or "why does your hair look so soft?" or if she was really courageous, she would ask him politely if she could touch it. "They're backstage." her dad answered her unspoken question and pointed at the door next to the stage. "If you knock and ask, maybe they'll give you an autograph. Just say you're related to Daniel." Bobbi nodded and smiled thankfully. Daniel, or grandpa, owned this bar, this meant free drinks and peanuts on Saturdays and karaoke when the bar was closed for costumers. Bobbi made her way up to the back stage area hesitantly and knocked on the door two times.

"Yeah?" she heard after a short while. She took a deep breath and put on her best friendly smile, ere she opened it. She looked into the beautiful face she had admired from the stage and her blood painted her cheeks crimson. "S-Sorry... I didn't want to disturb, uhm, I was just wondering if I could maybe -" - "You were in the audience!" the bassist pointed out and smiled. Bobbi looked at him, surprised that he recognized her. "Yeah." she scratched the back of her neck nervously. "You were the cheerful one, right?" the lead singer laughed. She nodded. "What can we do for you?" he asked. "C-Could... could I maybe ask a few questions?" - "Sure, come in." the drummer said in a sweet voice and they all stepped aside, so that she could sit down on the couch next to where the instruments were. She did not expect them to be so friendly. "So... what do you want to know?" the drummer asked her, while lighting a cigarette. "The songs... they were so... where do you get this inspiration from?" Bobbi started. She was really curious about that. She had been writing songs her whole life, but she always felt like the something was missing. The something was what turned simple songs into hits, that inspired people. She just didn't know how to find the something yet. "Well... I guess most inspiration comes from the experiences you make in life and the once you wish you would have made." - "Like what?" Bobbi asked. "Like... a bad relationship... or the death of a friend, you know? Maybe even something you see on television... or read in a book." the black haired singer explained. Bobbi nodded, looking at him reverently. "Do you play any instruments?" the pianist asked. "Guitar, and I sing." - "Nice. Do you also write your own stuff?" Bobbi nodded. "But I... I don't know what to do with it. It's just..." - "Why don't you start a band?" the lead singer suggested. Bobbi hesitated for a second. "I have never really thought about that... also, I just don't think I would find enough people." it's true. She had never seen herself doing music with other people. Mainly, because she was afraid others wouldn't like her ideas and she would end up having to sing something she didn't truly like. But after seeing 17Dust perform, the idea seemed rather perfect. The pianist laughed. "Oh, believe me. Musicians are everywhere. You probably just haven't really paid attention." the others nodded in agreement. "Yeah, maybe..." Bobbi answered, offering a thankful smile. "Well..." Bobbi stood up from the sofa. "Sorry for bothering you guys. I really enjoyed the show. It was very inspiring." - "Anytime." the drummer said and smiled at her. "Will you play here again?" - "Next Friday. We're counting on you to come." the lead singer winked at her and made her blush badly. "I-I will. Thanks a lot." - "If you have any more questions, we have an e-mail account." he grabbed a pen from the small coffee table and a business card from his pocket and wrote it down. Bobbi took it with a bashful smile and thanked them once again. Wow.


"So, what you're saying is... you want to start a band?" Anna asked, while waking to the canteen next to Bobbi. It was burger day today. Best day of the whole week. "You're looking at me as if that was a stupid idea." Anna shrugged. "Well... maybe because it is?" - "What? Come on! Why would you say that?" - "Maybe because you have to focus on getting a degree and a life first." Bobbi moaned in annoyance. "Are you serious? We both know that this is not my world." -"What?" Bobbi pointed at all the tables with the students sitting on them, laughing, gossiping, eating. "All of this. I... I don't belong here, Anni." - "Then where do you belong? This is school. You have to do it. There is no way around it." - "I belong on stage. With my guitar and my songs." - "And a band?" - "Right." Anna rolled her eyes, not taking her words quite seriously. Probably because the two of them had been talking about this for years and nothing had changed. This time was different. She had a plan. She was older. She knew the time was right. She just knew it. "So... who do you want in your band." - "I don't know." - "Sounds like you have a plan." Anna said ironically and laughed. "Oh, shut up." Bobbi grabbed a tray and walked towards the line in front of the buffet. She grabbed a burger bun and put a generous amount of mayonnaise all over it (she absolutely detested ketchup). When she was just about to grab another one, she got pushed by someone so forcefully, she knew it was on purpose and by the disgusting smell that followed, she knew who it was. "Oops. Sorry, love." Hunter said and grinned. Arrrghhh. His idiots of friends laughed at that and waved at Bobbi with smug looks on their faces. Oh, how she would just love to take that burger bun and- "Please don't do anything stupid." Anna interrupted her thoughts, But as usual, she didn't listen. She grabbed the bun and threw it directly at his leather jacket. "Oh god..." she heard Anna whisper. Hunter stopped dead in his tracks and turned around with an angry look on his face, while his friends seemed to enjoy the whole scene. "Did you just... throw your food at me?" he stepped closer and pointed at the giant stain of mayonnaise on the expensive leather. "No." Anna said quickly, trying to prevent anything bad from happening. "Yes." Bobbi replied confidently and grabbed a new burger bun. "If you can shove me, I can throw food at you. We're even." he laughed at that. "Oh, and you think you can decide that, huh?" Bobbi just rolled her eyes, unimpressed by his stupid act of dominance. "Stop annoying other people with your insecurity." she said, as she walked past him. Hunter grabbed her arm and stopped her. "If your Dad wouldn't take repair our motorcycles, you would be so dead." he whispered furiously. "If I would be so dead, my dad wouldn't repair your motorcycles, asshole." she shoved him away lightly and took Anna's arm to drag her to the nearest table.

"I hate this guy! I hate him!" Bobbi angrily declared, as she let herself plump down onto the bench. "Why did you do that?! He could have freaked out. Like really, really freaked out and you both would be in detention." - "Argh, I don't care! And besides, he wouldn't. It's like he said, my dad repairs their motorcycles." Bobbi took a huge bite of her burger. "Why does your dad do it anyway? He's not exactly nice to you." - "He doesn't know." - "What? Why do you not tell him?" Bobbi rolled her eyes and wiped her hands on the napkin next to her plate. "Because A: then he would really have reason to make my life a living hell and B: they pay a lot and my dad needs the money." - "Man... that sucks." Anna said and stole one of Bobbi's fries. "I know." Bobbi shrugged. She looked at Hunter, who was sitting across the room with his"gang". If he wouldn't be such an ass, she thought, he might actually be good-looking. He had nice eyes and a cute smile... when he laughed, which didn't happen too often. For a minute Bobbi asked herself if she should ask Hunter to be a member of the band she wanted to form. He played the drums and hell, he was good. Bobbi knew that, because she had heard him rehearse in music rooms a few times. But no, she could never do that. Ever.


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