I’ve mentioned several times that I love band books, books with musicians, or just people moving around the music circuit. I think it stems from my own frustration of not being a musical person? When people ask me if I sing because of my low/husky voice (haha), I say no because I really have a hard time carrying a tune unless I am in church, where people don’t care if you are not in tune unless you’re in the choir, or during karaoke sessions, when I’m singing with others and have a few shots of alcohol in my system.
During NaNoWriMo 2007, I decided I wanted to write a band book. Partly because I had just discovered my favorite musicians Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz and Ben Rector and I thought it would be cool to write a story based on their songs. So that November, I started writing a novel I called Red Meets Blue, from Matt Wertz’s song, about a band called Chasing Daylight led by a guy named David de Gracia. Their band got invited to be the opening act for an international artist having a concert in Manila. But their female vocalist (and David’s best friend), April, had to go away, so now they have to find someone else to take her place temporarily. In comes Marianne Venia, David’s neighbor, who is absolutely not his type but had the voice they need. So they got her.
Looking back, I realized that book is actually quite fun, but I never really got back to it because I felt like a lot of the band stuff I wrote were not realistic back then. Like how can a bunch of 20-year-olds afford a bunch of these? How can David even own a coffee shop (that never had a name in the book, but because it’s NaNoWriMo and I need to get to 50,000 words, it was okay to say The Coffee Shop Yet to Be Named, haha)?
I was about to say that I don’t know if I would get back to it…but now maybe, why not? But fall in line first, maybe. That said, this band will actually appear in Meah’s book.
Okay, this is a pretty long intro, haha. Wordplay # 4 is a part of that unfinished novel, somewhere near Act 3 maybe, after the concert has happened. And there’s angst and pining and all that, because that’s how we rolled in 2007, haha.
They had nothing to say to each other.
Forget the fact that Marianne sang with them at the concert, or that she had spent a lot of time with them for the past month, or that she loved David and Paula’s parents, or that David had been really nice lately, and that she thinks of Paula like a sister. Never mind that she felt like her day was incomplete without Nathan’s jokes or Rex’s stories. Their deal was over. All she agreed to do was to sing for them, and now that it’s over, she has no obligation to hang out with them anymore. They could all go back to their own lives.
So it was all kinds of weird when she saw David again, a week after the concert which was the last time they saw each other. Marianne found him sitting in front of her unit’s door, staring at it thoughtfully as if waiting for someone to come out. He gave a start when he heard her arrive.
“Uh, hey Marianne,” David said, waving a bit before standing up.
Marianne just looked at him, unable to say a word. She couldn’t believe he was there, but she figured that she’d have to face them sometime…she just did not expect that it would be now. And there.
She also could not believe how she felt when she saw him. How her heart leaped when she recognized him and how much she wanted to talk to him again and ask how everyone was and how everything is. The feelings were so intense that she felt she can write a song just from what she felt, but David doesn’t have to know that.
“So…how are you?” David asked. He was shuffling at his feet, looking from them to Marianne and then back at them again. For someone so confident in his faith and his music, he seemed so uncertain now.
Before Marianne could say anything, he started to talk again. “Well, you’re probably busy now that we’re done with the concert and all, but everyone misses you and we’re wondering if you can go to dinner with us tonight. Something like a celebratory dinner for the concert.”
Marianne just continued to look at him. She wondered vaguely where the others were — probably in the coffee shop. Rex would probably be playing with the guitar, Nathan wielding his drumsticks, hitting the table now and then while Paula would be scolding him from the counter, afraid that the tables would chip from all his hitting. For the past weeks, David and Marianne are the ones singing whenever they’d be doing that but since they weren’t there, maybe Paula is filling in for them.
Or wait. April. Of course, now that she’s back, April would be doing the singing. She is the original vocalist, after all, the one Marianne was filling in for. Now that April is back, the band doesn’t need Marianne anymore.
David watched her face carefully, waiting for her to speak. Marianne just looked at him, nodding slightly, and he continued. “So…they’re all waiting for us at the shop, we’ll be heading off to Italianni’s or something for dinner. Will you go with us?”
“Who’s us?” Marianne asked, finally speaking. She saw David smile slightly when he heard her voice.
“There are the people from One Mountain Top, and of course, Nathan, Rex, Paula and me,” David paused, and then added, “And you, if you decide to come.” He looked at her expectantly.
Well, it’s just a celebratory dinner, Marianne thought. It’s still a part of the entire agreement thing. She opened her mouth to speak, but then David interrupted.
“Oh, and April is going to be there as well.”
Marianne closed her mouth. Suddenly, she felt all hollow.
She looked at David one more time, forced a smile, and shook her head. David’s smile faded and looked at her questioningly, but Marianne had turned around and went in her condo. She closed the door on David’s confused face, the click on her door sounding weirdly loud and very final.