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26 August 2000 @ 10:52 pm
Midnight Orchestra  
Someone once said that authors and poets see the world through different eyes, hear it through different ears, and feel it with a different heart. Maybe no one said it. Maybe I only heard it.
I hear a lot of things that no one else seems to. I was talking to my friend Lindsay about it the other day.

"Lindsay," I say, "Last night, when I was staring out the window listening to the stars sing-"

"Sam," she interrupted, "Stars don't sing."

"Yes they do," I said, closing my eyes and remembering, "It's a haunting melody. They play it over and over again, yet it's never quite the same. Words can't describe it. Sometimes it is so faint and far away, especially in the city where you can hardly see beyond the lights. But when you're alone, in the country, on a mountain, it's a beautiful orchestra performing a concert just for you. The sound washes over you, like diving into the ocean." I want to continue, but I stop upon seeing her expression. She doesn't get it. She's never heard it. She's looking at me as if she expects me to begin spouting about faeries and leprachauns.

They exist too, I think. But not the way we think of them.

"Samantha," she says, being careful to enunciate, "Stars-don't-sing."

"Yes, Lindsay." I say softly, sadly. "They don't sing." Not for you, I silently add.

*****

That evening, I'm depressed. Am I the only one who can hear it? I can't concentrate on Geometry. Not that I ever could. Numbers rattle me, build cages in my head with all the formulas and equations. But I'm trying. I don't know why. It's still the summer, a week's vacation left 'til school. Yet I've already begun studying. I've nearly chewed the eraser off my pencil debating whether this makes me dedicated or desperate when Davy calls.

"Hey Sam," he says. I can picture his eyes laughing. They usually are. Davy's a trip. You have to meet him. He likes words, maybe more than I do.

"Davy, what's up?" I ask, spitting a piece of rubber out of my mouth. I glare at my pencil and then toss it in the trash. I've never liked the things. The permanance of ink is much more elegant.

Davy starts to tell me about his upcoming trip to Sydney. He'll be going to see the Olympics in a few short weeks. He can barely contain his excitement. I hear giggling. His girlfriend, who is going with him, is on the line as well.

"I wonder if the stars look different down under." I say suddenly. I don't know why. Totally random.

"Of course they do," his girlfriend explains, "There are different constellations."

"That wasn't what I meant-" I want to explain more, but she wouldn't understand. Her mind is logic and reason. She's like Lindsay, quadrupled. If there isn't scientific fact to back up something, she won't believe it. Her name's Jada, and we don't get along.

"Then what did you mean?" Jada asks, puzzled. I hear a crashing sound. "Oh, sorry, Davy, gotta run. The brat's knocking dishes over." There's a clicking sound. Dial tone.

"Babysitting." Davy sighs. "I could never do it. Say, let's find out if the stars are different. I'll get my camera, and we can take pictures."

"What, now?"

"Sure, why not?" I can think of a dozen reasons off-hand, none of which would faze him. He hangs up, and I know he'll be at the house in five minutes. He's very into spur-of-the-moment. So I just grab a sweater and scribble a note to my parents.

****

Half an hour later we're on top of one of the hills in the Almaden area. The sun is starting to set. I've got Davy's camera, and he has his guitar. It's his third arm. He's never without it. We sit down in the long grass and wait. The sky turns gold and purple and pink. Davy tunes his guitar, fiddles with his camera. I don't do anything, just stare up at the sky and watch. Soon dusk is over, and the night sweeps in. One by one the stars come out.

And the music begins. First one star's voice, but then another is added. Another and another, their voices blending. As they join each other, the song becomes louder, transforming and growing. I'm transfixed at the jewels in the sky, bewitching me with their music. Then I hear the strum of a guitar.

I turn to Davy. How long he's been playing, I don't know. He smiles at me. "I'm trying to play the music of the stars."

"You can hear it too?" I ask.

"Always have." He shakes his head, looks sheepish, puts the guitar down. "Can't play it, though. It's not meant to be played, not by human hands." So we just sit together and listen. The stars warm up, they sing, sometimes moody, sometimes happy. The melody just goes on and on, filling and drawing us into the universal conciousness, the heartbeat of the universe.

*****

I think that's where Mozart got his music from. The stars. He just reached up, caught one, and put it onto paper. Maybe all performers, all who seek to please, hear the cosmic notes and are blessed with it. A little star riding on their shoulder. And that's why we call them "stars."
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