“I'm not performing tonight.” Gerard's jaw actually dropped. I resisted the urge
to smirk at his reaction.
“But...why? We can't do it without you! We'll be booed off the
stage!” I looked away from him to stare out the gray window.
“I don't care. Now leave
me alone.” I grabbed my iPod from the small table and lazily walked to my room, shutting and
locking the door behind me. I placed the small white earphones in my ears and pressed play, not
really caring what song it landed on. I was a bit surprised at what I heard, though. Out of the
hundreds of hardcore metal and rock songs on the small machine, it chose a song I hadn't even
purchased. It was gifted to me on iTunes back when some of our fans knew our email addresses. Hey, I
wasn't complaining. Free music was free music.
Any other day I would have plugged it into the
speaker system, or sang along as loud as possible.
But I couldn't. Not today. Today I listened.
And I liked what I heard.
Soft, melancholy tones of an orchestra emanated from the headphones. I
lay back on my bed and closed my eyes. It was so beautiful, especially when the piano began to play.
The singer's sad, almost strained voice emphasized my mood.
Sound the bugle now.
it just for me.
As the seasons change, remember how I used to be.
Now I can't go on.
can't even start.
I've got nothing left, just an empty heart.
I'm a soldier, wounded so I
must give up the fight.
There's nothing more for me.
Lead me away...
Or leave me lying
I turned the volume down just enough so I could hear the rain outside. There had
been violent thunder earlier, but now it fell placidly and without interruption. I needed the
Sound the bugle now.
Tell them I don't care.
There's not a road I know that
leads to anywhere.
Without a light, I fear that I will stumble in the dark.
Lay right down,
decide not to go on...
The music intensified, and a single tear appeared in my eye. That
was how I felt just then. For the past few days I had been contemplating taking a break, a small
vacation at the most, but now I thought of quitting altogether. I loved this band with every ounce
of my soul. But lately it had
gotten to be too much.
I was overwhelmed.
on high, somewhere in the distance,
There's a voice that calls, “Remember who you are.
If you lose yourself, your courage soon will follow.
So be strong tonight. Remember who you
The tone of the song changed. It lost the depressing melody line, becoming
more and more hopeful with each measure and line of lyrics. I sat up and pulled the curtain away
from the window, leaning against the wall next to it to watch the rain trickle down the cold glass.
I contemplated opening the window.
“You're a soldier now,
Fighting in a battle to
be free once more...
That's worth fighting for.”
I listened as the last chord
died away. The iPod shuffled off to a random Green Day song, but I
paused it and took the
earphones out of my ears. I tossed the iPod onto my bed and turned back to the window, able to catch
my own reflection on the cold, gray-hued glass.
I watched the rain. I stood there for the longest
time, watching as the clouds lightened to silver
as the sun passed over them, only to darken
further as it sank behind the mountains.
I continued to watch as the gray sky let the
violet-black hues of night take over. The lights of the
city appeared to wash away beneath the
raindrops on the window. The falling water began to slow, eventually stopping. I opened the window
and smelled the fresh oceanic air. I smiled, suddenly turning to look at the clock. I still had
“Where could he be? I can't believe he would do this to us,” Gerard
said as he paced the floor backstage. I heard the heels of his shoes click sharply on the floor with
each step and turn he took. Mikey shrugged in response.
“Can't believe I would do what to
you?” I asked with a smirk as I approached him. He was stunned momentarily, then his face
brightened. I glanced at Mikey, who seemed pleasantly surprised by my arrival.
you decided to show up,” said Ray bitterly as he entered and began the process of tuning his
guitar. I smirked and took a deep bow, then took my guitar out of its case and began strumming
several of the chords from the song just to annoy him further. But when I looked up he was smiling,
as were Gerard and Mikey. Bob walked by, also surprised to see me, but not in a bad way. I was
thankful for that.
I continued to play bits and pieces of the song as I walked away from the
group, planning to get one more look at the sky before we went onstage and I wouldn't be able to see
anything. The city's glow illuminated the clouds with deep, smoky purple shades, showing no gap
between any of them. The smell of rain was still fresh, and I wasn't entirely certain it had stopped
for the night.
I walked back to the group, listening to their conversation. I smirked. It was
“What do you think was wrong with him?” asked Gerard.
know. Maybe the battery on his iPod died, or he just needed some iPod time,”
“No, Mike, that's you. He just needed some alone time,” said
“Close,” I said, approaching them with a knowing smirk. They all looked at me
expectantly, wanting an answer.
I heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. No, the rain
was definitely not over. And I didn't care if it interrupted our concert. I welcomed it.