Song 36 ♪ I Write Tragedies, Not Romances

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In full disclosure, I had my doubts. Like, on the one hand I left the gringo's house that night feeling vindicated but on the other hand I had the niggling question circling my mind of what this would mean to me.

I sought music as a refuge from the following week onward. And music that I was getting interested in now, rather than what my ma had taught me to like. I realized I'd stopped listening to Selena and Olga and Celia and had replaced it for heavy doses of guitars. One night I brought this up as Leti and I were texting.

I thought so at first, she texted me, confirming my worst fears. I saw the three dots working at the bottom of the screen as she crafted another text. The dots disappeared for a second and I sat up in my bed. It was late enough that Addy was already asleep, dead tired after she spent the whole afternoon designing clothes and listening to Lady Gaga on full blast.

Then the text came in.

Look, I was pretty shitty about you moving to your new school at first because, yeah, I felt betrayed. And then you started talking about your white boy and I thought you were going crazy thinking you wanted to be like them. But then I saw you singing that weird shit they call music and actually? My thoughts? You are better than them because you're built with 100% raíces hispanas. You're more hungry for success than they are, and you won't stop working until you get it.

My eyes ran through her words several times, as if to check that I wasn't hallucinating. My heart was shattered and I was hurting that my own mother couldn't support me the way my friends did. Even when we fought or didn't talk for a while, like it happened with Leti and I sometimes, I was always going to be thankful to have them.

Gracias, perra, was all I could text her back because I was already sobbing and I had to try to not wake Addy up. I unlocked the screen as I got another text from her.

De nada. Don't make me say cursi shit like that ever again.

I thought about that exchange a lot in the upcoming weeks of both orchestra and band practice. I seemed to finally be finding my place in the world. This world. I jumped into orchestra practice right after class every day, where I worked to hone my technique and understanding of music basics. I was not getting ugly glares from some of my club mates, and even the two girls who pranked me were acting exceptionally nice to me. But that might have something to do with the fact that our band's Youtube video was pretty much going viral and they were basking in how cool it was to be close to famous people — their words, not mine. I just let them be and enjoyed the flash of fear in their eyes every time they looked at me.

Then after orchestra was band time. I didn't focus on technique there, but on heart. On trying to deliver a performance that would shake my floor if I were in the crowd. Of course, I didn't always manage. I still had a problem of being jarred out of focus when something changed in the melody that I wasn't expecting.

Link shook his head once and said, "The weird problems of someone with perfect hearing."

Quinn was having an easier time of things now that the baseball team had been kicked out of the big tournament. They still assembled for morning practice and had the occasional friendly, but most of his spare time he spent with us, hitting the drums so hard that he'd developed larger arm muscles. A feat that Madison made sure to brag about, which was both gross and funny to me.

I also got to experience the curious effect of the parting masses as Ash and I walked down the halls hand in hand. I knew there were a few bad whispers but he was pretty good at wrapping me up in a cocoon of purpose for the band and a cocktail of fluttery feelings in my belly. The latter were in majority because of him but as Thanksgiving drew closer, they started to become more and more about the contest.

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