When composer Philip Glassstarted performing his own music, a lot of people didn’t know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke, some even became violent:
“This was in Amsterdam and I played a piece called “Two Pages.” And I guess it could drive you crazy a little bit — it only had five notes in it, but it was five notes in a lot of different ways, and I thought it was interesting. This was about 1971 and the idea of music that was so, let’s say, consciously or steadfastly repetitive was not so common then.
And someone jumped on the stage and began banging on the piano and, without thinking about it, I stood up and I punched him on the jaw or something, just like the comic books, and he fell off the stage. People came afterwards to say hello and the fellow was there and he said, “And now we have the discussion,” and I said, “No. We had the discussion, thank you.” And that was it. … I think he thought that I was making fun of him. … When [artist Jackson] Pollock first began doing his drip paintings, people thought he was making fun of them. … Why would you go all the way to Amsterdam just to make a fool of yourself in front of other people? I mean, or to make fools of them?”
I’m doing some homework in my room, and listening to music. It’s a playlist of avant garde classical pieces and 1980s punk. I listen to it when I’m feeling productive. You should see what I play when I’m sad.
All of a sudden, Simon bursts through the door, breathing heavily. I take off my headphones.
“What’s going on?”
His hands are on his knees, and he’s looking at the ground, panting. When he looks up, I can see a cheeky smile on his face.
“She said yes.”
He flops down on his bed, grinning at the ceiling.
I know exactly what he’s talking about, but I hold out hope that I’m wrong.
“Who said yes to what?”
He turns to me.
“Agatha to being my girlfriend, arsehole”
Even though I knew it was coming, it still hurts. Over the past year, I have conditioned myself to stay calm in these situations. I’ve spent so much time trying to control my feelings; I haven’t really had time to sort them out. So, I don’t know exactly why seeing Simon with Agatha makes me want to hurl myself off of a cliff, or why I sometimes get the urge to kiss him or pin him against the wall or see punch him in the face, but I know several strategies for bottling it all up.
“Come on Bazzy, you don’t have to be a dick about it.”
I don’t know why, but things have been different with me and Baz, ever since I started liking Agatha.
We still do out homework together, and eat lunch together and talk about stuff, but he’s more distant, especially when I talk about her. I think he’s jealous that I have someone and he doesn’t. It’s okay though. We can work through it.
He rolls his eyes and sighs.
“Okay, how did you ask her?”
“Okay, so I saw her walking down from dinner, and she said ‘Hi Simon.’ And I was all like ‘Hi Agatha’ and then she started to walk away but I stopped and said ‘Hey, Agatha, do you want to go out sometime?’ and she thought about it and was like ‘Like boyfriend and girlfriend’ and I was like ‘Yeah’ and then she was like ‘Okay’ and I was like ‘Cool’ and then I ran back up here because I had to tell you.”
Wow, that was a lot.
He looks at me blankly.
“So you just… left her there?”
I turn, and run back out of the room. He’s right. After she had said yes, I immediately ran here to tell Baz. I’m such an idiot.
He’s such an idiot. I flop down face first on my bed, and groan into my pillow. Why can’t he be my idiot?
I somehow managed to work things out with Agatha. She had laughed when I explained why I ran off. I love it when she laughs. It sounds like bells tinkling.
I asked her “Hey, do you want to go out on a date Saturday night?”
“I was thinking a picnic on the Great Lawn.”
She smiled at me.
“A little, cheesy, don’t you think.”
“That’s just what people do, y’know? You like a girl, you ask her to be your girlfriend, and you go out for a picnic on the Great Lawn.”
And then you kiss her and then you date her and then you graduate and get married. It’s what you do.
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
I told Baz about it. Obviously. He thought it was cheesy too, but he smiled after I said it, so I think he secretly likes the idea.
“I’ll be back by eight.” I said, and then he nodded and went back to his book. He looked kind of sad. I wonder if something unhappy happened in the story. He can get very invested in the lives book characters.
Now, I’m trying to pick out what to wear. I don’t have many clothes aside from my uniforms, but that doesn’t seem appropriate. I consider wearing my track pants and hoodie.
“Baz, what should I wear?”
He doesn’t look up from his novel.
“Something tasteful. A button down and slacks, maybe a blazer.”
I laugh, and he looks at me.
“I don’t have any of that.”
His eyes get wide.
“You don’t… Crowley, Snow, you really can’t do anything yourself.”
He goes over to his closet and pulls out some clothes. He walks over to me and shoves them into my arms.
“Here, you can borrow some of mine.”
I look. Black slacks, a matching blazer and a baby blue tie. I turn back to him, but he looks away.
“It- it’ll set off your eyes nicely. You can fold up the bottoms of the trousers. They’ll be too big.”
He walks back to his bed and picks up his book, not making eye contact with me. He’s a weird bloke, but I’m glad he can help me with stuff like this.
I change into the clothes, but I can’t seem to work the tie.
I come out, and look over at him.
“Baz, a little help.”
He looks up and sighs.
“You really are useless, aren’t you?”
I nod, smiling cheekily. He walks over and ties my tie, inches away from me. He’s smiling, but he still seems sad. I’ll ask him about it later. He steps back, and nods.
“Okay. You’re ready.”
I fix my hair in the mirror, pick up the basket of scones that Baz had Cook Pritchard make for me, and turn towards the door.
“I’ll be back by eight.” I say again, for no reason in particular. Then, I walk out the door.
I almost slipped. I swear to God, when I was tying his tie, I almost leaned in and kissed him. When he talked about his plans for the date, I almost started crying. This is going to kill me.
I try to focus on my book, but there’s no way that’s going to happen. So, I just sit there, remembering what he looked like in that get up (I was right – the tie complimented his eyes beautifully) and imagining that I was the one having a picnic with him on the Great Lawn. The night crawls by, but eventually it’s eight.
I imagine him coming in the door, saying “Yeah, went on a date with a girl, wasn’t quite my speed. Realized I was pining for you instead the whole time.” If only.
But, he doesn’t. In fact, he doesn’t come back at all. The clock turns to eight o’ five. Then eight ten. Then eight thirty. My mind goes immediately to worst-case scenarios. The humdrum attacked again. He had gotten lost on the way and was now toughing it out in the Wavering Wood. There was only one way to find out the truth.
So, I put on my coat and went out into the night.
I walk quickly towards the Great Lawn, getting more and more worried as I go. Finally, I arrive, and look around frantically for Simon. Then, I see him.
He’s sitting back on the blanket, hair tousled and shining in the moonlight. Agatha is there too, wearing her flouncy pink dress. They’re kissing. She’s almost on top of him. My heart drops into my stomach. Of course, of course, of course. God, I’m such a fucking idiot.
I run, full speed, back to the room, and flop down on my bed. Of course. I put in my headphones.
When I’m sad, I play Taylor Swift, by the way. Specifically “You Belong With Me”.
On this day in 1904, famous Spanish artist Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres. Born as Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech to a middle class family, he was introduced to the arts by his mother. His father, however, was a strict disciplinarian, and punished Dalí for his eccentricities, but did encourage his artistic talent. In 1922, Dalí began attending the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, where he refined his reputation as an eccentirc, often donning nineteenth-century style dress. After a year of study, Dalí was suspended for criticising his teachers and supposedly inciting a student riot; he returned to the academy in 1926, but was again expelled. Dalí was inspired by classical and avant-garde painters, and during the late 1920s frequently visited Paris where he associated with artists like Pablo Picasso and René Magritte. It was at this time that he was introduced to surrealism, a style which greatly influenced his work as he sought to translate his dreams and subconscious into art. Dalí also ventured into film-making, and by the 1930s was an established surrealist artist who was known for his bizarre appearances in public. In 1931, he painted his most famous work - The Persistence of Memory (pictured above). In 1934, Dalí was expelled from the surrealist movement for refusing to take a firm stance against the rise of fascist Francisco Franco in Spain. He moved to the United States in the 1940s, and was honoured there with an exhibit in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. After returning to Spain, Dalí spent most of the 1960s and 1970s creating his Theatre-Museum. After suffering personal tragedies, and declining in health, Salvador Dalí died on January 23rd, 1989, aged 84.