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Reconciling #musicalpoetry, #spanish learning, #CI, and #culture


I’m a music teacher. I’m a Spanish teacher. I am a both. I am a Native speaker. How do I reconcile both in my classroom? These were my thoughts throughout #CIIA2018 this month, especially when Laurie Clarcq was speaking in her breakout sessions.

As a Spanish teacher, I constantly use music in my room. Mainly in a indirect way for my non-native & non-heritage students (if you are ACTFL fan they are Novice to Novice-low, rarely a Novice-Mid as a Second Language learner because of contact hours). I mostly use my Spotify playlist “Songs in Spanish” to keep playing in the background. All. The. Time.

When I have commented to my coworkers about this during the school year (mainly a music teacher) I told them that it grounds me. It keeps me connected to music, but there IS a method in my madness.

The madness

My first 2 years as a Middle School, MYP teacher in an International Baccalaureate school, I have 35+ students. Every class period. Yes, that means that in 2 days (we’re in an A/B schedule) I teach a max of 400 students. In my classroom, I have free seating & “you have a phone, ok. Use it to your advantage.” Policy. Meaning, that if a student has a phone, I do not go “phone-Nazi” and take them away. I purposely teach focus. I did not realize that I did this, until our technology teacher told me that she did the same thing. I want to teach focus. Intentional focus. This is hard at the middle school brain.

I start the school year telling all my students that I am a music teacher, I conduct choirs, I sing in choirs, and that I conducted choirs in Puerto Rico, my home country. They are always “shook” and as one student told me this year “show me the receipts Brenda, or it didn’t happen”. I show them the “receipts” and they’re impressed (to say the least). Honestly, that was the point of “the art of musical poetry” when this blog began: how does music, language and culture works. As a Spanish teacher, while the core is still there, it’s been tweaked as I teach Spanish.

How do I use the madness to my advantage

Using my Spotify playlist, I put on music that I will teach during their 3 years in the program, music that is fun/different, music that my students (mainly my native speakers) choose to share to the “gringo students”.

It opens up conversation that yes, in Spanish-land you have as many musical genres as they listen to in English. From Taylor Swift-like pop, to hard metal, to Spanish covers of their “omg this song gives me life” favorite songs.

While it takes them some time (mainly new students and incoming 6th graders) to adjust, they LIKE the culture in the classroom. They KNOW that if they don’t have music playing something DIFFERENT is going to happen in the room. Students BEGIN to WITHOUT prompt sing the songs in Spanish, learn their favorite songs in a Spanish cover, and even better? ASK for SPECIFIC songs. This year Corazón sin Cara, Andas en mi cabeza, and La Gozadera were huge hits.

WHY?

We go back to the Why? Why would I do this? I do know that most teachers would think I am crazy for doing this. Well… I might be. But it goes back to who I am, what I do, and what I want my students to achieve and feel successful. In 3 years, in an A/B schedule, my students will NOT be awesome superstars with their output. I know that. I’ve accepted that. Now, this year’s 6th graders (next year’s 7th graders) might make me reject that reality. If so, #ChallengeAccepted.

In my room, silence needs to be important. Just like music. It has to have MEANING. It reminds me of what Laurie Clarcq said at CIIA (I’m paraphrasing)

The Teacher is the conductor of the orchestra. They know (or should know) the music, the theory, and each student must bring their “instrument” or kill so that they can continue to improve.

But let’s be real, most of the students do not have some skills, what ever skill you’re looking for (reading, writing, social-emotional, etc) so we have to address it and teach it.

How do I teach it

1. Student’s who are notoriously late: Conversations.

As of this year, students have a grade that directly ties their attendance. It’s a small rehearsed conversation: Hola Maestro. Me llamo ____. Como estas? Now while it was surprisingly spanish (Sam Finneseth) who started this year, I followed suit and it gave me a lot of rewards. Students who are shy and are more receptors rather than “sayers” they have at least 1:1 interaction with me. Most importantly it teaches students that they need to be on time, is simple and parents are supportive.

2. It can be used as a warm up.

3. I use it to actually remember students and their names. (I am horrible with names)

4. Students with phones: Teach self-control

I am a phone-a-holic. I am. I let my students know this. I even check my phone (sometimes) while they are working. It’s part of life and these kids never lived in a time where people have smartphone (and I feel old about that). So I have to teach them, just like a part of the orchestra, they do not need it at the moment. IF you are grabbing the phone its to check time, listen to your OWN music when SPANISH music is not plating (which is almost never), using Quizlet in class (when we need to), etc.

5. What to do with silence

If we have silence in the room, we are using it when we play mafia (listen to be understood. Listen to comprehended), when we are reflecting on our process, when I am talking about our CFA’s, Scales, and/or “big things” like real-life connections of culture and what we are reading, etc.

Would love to hear from you, what are some things that some peers think is “unorthodox”, “crazy or mad ideas” or simply how do you mix music, culture in your classroom that might be out of the norm?

Faithfully unfaithful


This is the second post in the “Murmure dans le vent” series. This post will be showcasing the third movement in Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for strings” in C Major. I know I sort of cheated (jumping the second movement), BUT you know how the muse is… she eluded the second movement & something just clicked with the third one. Fret not, my dear reader! The second movement will come soon.

Read the rest of this entry

50 thousand reasons to sing and conduct


In the past few posts (these to be exact: Nobody said it would be this hard, One Winged Angel, and  Caught in the Storm)I have shared my Goals Statement, what I want to do with my carer, some of the people who have inspired me & the obstacles that I’ve had in this past year. While I had this whole post defending why I want to do what I want to do, I’ve realized that… they will continue to put me down, try to shut me out or appear as if they are going to help. I realized that people will continue, no matter what you do, try to make you unhappy. Life sucks. Life throws a lot of obstacles to “test you on how strong you are”. One thing is certain I won’t back down. I will continue to fight for myself, and for the person I love.

A family member asked me a while back… “you do realize that if you want to do this you will have a debt of $50,000 in your ribs, right?” I simply replied: YES. I don’t need to defend my lifestyle, my carer choice to anybody. I have one life, and I’m going to live it the way I want to. I have 50 thousand reasons to sing & conduct. Some of those reasons are:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Love.
  3. Smile.
  4. Make high quality music.
  5. New experiences
  6. New places, people, and things.
  7. Your smile.
  8. The way you when your proud.
  9. The way I feel when I do a good job.
  10. To be brave in all aspects in my life.

Start being happy. Truly happy.

One Winged Angel


Lately, I’ve been overthinking. More than usual. I’ve been pondering in my relationship. I’ve ben pondering in my relationship with peers, friends, and professors. I’ve transported myself back to the time where it felt just like this one. I call it the Great Depression of 2008. But (there is always one, isn’t there?) it’s not.  The circumstances are not the same. Many things are similar, financial problems, for instance is one of them. Also, it reminds me when I started in studying music in 2002. In short, I rediscovered or should I say reaffirmed that everything is a cycle. The good things and the bad. But in everything that has happened to me. In all these almost 24 years, there has been one single common factor: Music. My One winged Angel.

One Winged Angel

When I started studying music in 2002, I was bullied. I never wanted to accept it (as many things about myself, my reality or my life), but I did struggle with it. My defense mechanism is to over-work. So I became more of a workaholic (if it can be possible). I also became (more than ever) distant with my reality and the people who were close to me, and acted as if everything were peaches & cream. My family (who I believe never noticed anything, I am a good actor when I need to be) finally let me take music classes. So, I poured myself into the only thing I could. Music. I also did my academics, but who cares! I had MUSIC from 4:30 to 6:30 from Monday to Saturday. I made my own little universe of pitch, tones, harmonies and I stayed there. I did it so much that it was the only thing I could think of from when I got woke up until I would fall asleep. I attended Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Plucked Strings Orchestra, Guitar. Cuatro, Theory Classes, in short everything and anything I could musically. I also founded a Music Club in my school so that I could think about music at school too. After doing all of this, did it work? Did it seclude me from my reality, and most important my problems? I can say yes. Did I learn from it? Yes. Did it help me? Absolutely. Was it maybe a bad way to manage my problems? Yes. Which is why I have tremendous empathy for people who have battled with depression. Everybody deals with depression, rejection, and anxiety in different ways and every case differently. My escape is (and always will be) Music. Sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me. Hell, sometimes it gives me a migraine! Sometimes I take it very, very, very personal when other musicians do a crap job (or don’t care). Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me but I can’t help it. Music has giving me so much, that I just want to do the best.

I struggled, but survived High School. I thought that everything would get better, and for a moment it I was under the aloofn

This time I wasn’t really that good at acting. Mainly my brother was the one who noticed. I lashed out on everybody in my family, but kept a happy face and my strong demeanor in my college life. I have basically no social life so (I believe) they didn’t noticed. I was the same (even more) nerd that I was on my freshman year and continued to do so. My bachelor is in Musical Education, so I majorly focused on my studies and vowed to “get out of this place and promised myself I wouldn’t do what I was living to myself or to my loved ones”ess that everything would. Untill 2008 rolled in. I was in college. I had a good freshmen year. I was getting to know my peers, making new relationships, new friends like Sheila, Glorimar, and Yolimar. And just like “The Last Airbender” scene: “Every thing changed when the fire benders attacked”. Everything that was dear to me changed, was grabbed like a lolly from a baby and I was down, again. And I was on the floor receiving kicks. Life intervened again, and just like that self-defense mechanism did too. I had to move from my house (to my sisters and then to the apartment where I currently reside). I had to basically sell (most) of everything I owned, because it was “no longer mine”. Everything changed, and so did I.

During my passage through the Music Institute I was always keen in Conducting (especially to Choral Conducting), and my musical mother Fombe, noticed. She basically took me under her wing for the past decade, and she made me a chorister, a singer but most important a teacher. When I was in college my passion for Music Investigation was Prof. Laracuente. My love for writing flourished tenfold thanks to Doctor Mercedes Torres. My love for Choral Conducting (and the one who gave me as much opportunities to cond

uct) is thanks to Prof. Ruben Colón Tarrats. But  there was one professor who taught me the most about musicianship. That was Professor Freddie Feliciano (AND) Aponte (because I have a mother!).

Professor Freddie Feliciano (and) Aponte is the one who basically told and taught me to believe in myself. He was the one who told me that if I have a talent I must share it, the one who told me one day that I must love and let myself be loved. The one who basically flat out told me (very sassily) that I have all the passion, talent, but “most importantly the drive, and motivation” to do anything I want in my life is Prof. Freddie Feliciano.  Freddie is an amazing person.

Professor Freddie Feliciano

Prof. Freddie Feliciano (AND) Aponte

Freddie (because that’s one of the things I love about my music department, the professors encourage you to call them by their name) showed me who a musician is, how a musician should act, and how a musician reacts to to the world around him/her. Freddie taught me not to give a damn about what other people think about you. Freddie taught me and rekindled (just as did Kevin) my love for languages, especially the French language. It never occurred to me HOW much he taught me. And the only thing I can think about is the same question I have to all the professors mentioned above… “You’ve taught me so much. More than I have ever imagined. How can I repay you?” I read an article a week ago. In the article Dr. James Jordan from Westminister Choir College asks this to his mentor. Her reply was “Light a candle in every student you meet. That is more than enough.” I can say that I met Freddie in a crucial part of my life. And I can say that he’s another One Winged Angel I have in my life.

When I finished my bachelors’ degree I knew I learned a lot. From my personal life to my personal life. What I can say from both is that no matter what may happen to me, how I feel or what life can throw at me… I have Three One Winged Angels: Music, Freddie, and Kevin. In my life, these two people and music have done so much to me that they can’t even imagine how they have changed my life for the better. Kevin, Freddie, and Music literally and figuratively they have saved my life. I only wish Kevin, and Freddie have One Winged Angels as I do. As for Music? I believe she’s an angel who has saved many and still has more people to save.

Let’s Chat Over Coffee- Chapter 8 (a)


Chapter Eight

                 “I can’t do this…” Said Bradley throwing the sheet music to the floor. “Why didn’t I study business or psychology?!”. Picking up his iPhone, he looked at the picture he took with Colin that day they went on their “brodate” to the coffeeshop. “I wonder what he’s doing right now… Maybe he’s reading Les Miserables in French for the thousand time…” He said, laughing at the picture tenderly. Bradley walked to his bed, sat on a corner and looked at the window. “Why am I doing this? It feels like a chore, not something I want to do. I wonder if Colin ever felt this way? Is that why he didn’t study music, ‘cause he didn’t love what he played? I wonder what he played? Was he good? Why did Father made me do this… Music was fun… Music…” Said Bradley as he fell asleep.

 

                 “Do you like music?” Said the stoic man. “Yes. I want to play the piano.” Said cheerfully the short, blonde child. “Well, since the piano teacher is a quarter mile away, I bought you a guitar and you’ll start your classes with Mr. Williams next week. That is all.” Said the man while he left the room. “But I don’t want the guitar, I want to play piano!” Cried Bradley. “Is either the guitar o no music classes.” Said the man from the living room while Bradley cried in his room.

“Hey, Bradley. I’m sorry for your loss mate. She was a great woman. She was like my mum.” Said Eoin to Bradley. “Thanks. I’ve got to go I have a test tomorrow and if I don’t practice Father will kill me.”  Said Bradley coldly. “Mate, your mum died three days ago! Give yourself some time off.” Shouted Eoin. “Well, I took yesterday off, so I’m behind schedule after this. La Catedral is hard and I don’t have my digitation 100% down.” “Mate… the funeral was yesterday.” “Exactly. YESTERDAY. What’s done is done. I can’t change it. Just got to move on with my life. It’s what she wanted and she loved it when I played the guitar. That’s what I have to do, I have nothing else.” Said Bradley holding his guitar as tightly as possible, his knuckles pale white fighting the sting in his eyes. “Bradley…” “Bye, Eoin. See you tomorrow.”

 

                 “You have to be the best, you will audition to Oxford.” Father said calmly. “Do you actually think I’m prepared to even audition to Oxford?” Spat Bradley while drinking his coffee. “Obviously you are. I’ve spent a fortune in looking only the best guitar teacher in all of England, and you will get into Oxford ‘cause you want to study music, don’t you?” He said neutrally. “It’s the only thing I have, it’s the only thing you’ve given-” “And that’s why you will get in.” 

Let’s Chat Over Coffee Chapter Seven


Chapter Seven

                 On a cold December night, Colin clutched his pillow, shut his eyes hard so that he could fall asleep and forget. Rustling in his bed, the only thing that

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry it was my fault… I’m sorry”

…It was so easy… It just came to me. The Piano… Music… Happiness…

                 Colin walks on the street, with Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca” clutched in his left arm and his right hand firmly grasping his mother’s. He was going to have another fun day with “uncle” Gaius. They arrived to Gaius home, Colin saw the familiar red oak door and he knew it was music time. It sends shivers down his spine, Colin closed his eyes as he let the music rush in. Hunith knocked on the door as the diminute music on the other side stopped abruptly. “Colin! Welcome! How is my favorite pupil today? Said Gauis and Colin looked at him in wonder. I’m ok. How are you? That was “Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata, right?” Said Colin all his bubbly happiness. Gaius laughed “You are a smart one, aren’t you?” Now in the living room, Hunith prepared Colin’s sheet music on the piano “You already know that Gaius. You know that Colin is… different. You would think that he would be playing basketball outside with Will but he’s always thinking about music and reading.” “Ok Honey, let’s get started. We have to go to go Will’s birthday party.” Hunith sat down on the expensive leather black sofa. “Ok Colin, let’s review your scales and arpeggios. In Adagio, play F#m.” Said Gaius  while preparing the metronome.

 

                 “I don’t like this. I wanna play the song! I like it it’s like a story. Do you think Mozart was thinking of a bird flying over a meadow and, and he sang to the other birds and the flowers and then flew high to the sky and danced and then went on playing with-“ Said Colin as he started to play his scales perfectly. “My, my… for a ten year old you have an amazing imagination. You can play your song after you play C major, B major, C minor and A major in arpeggios in triplets.” Said Gaius. “I like triplets, they’re quirky. They want to stand out, just like me.” Said Colin as he played B major. Gaius was always amazed with Colin and his piano playing. Colin’s playing was so innocent, pure. “Ok, very good. Now you can play your song.”  Colin needed no further instruction, he started playing as his swayed his lanky legs barely touching the pearly white tiles.”

 

                 “Gaius… I want study music. But I have to do an awesome audition if I want to get in Oxford.” Said Colin. “Well, you do have the potential. So I think you’re ready for this one then…” Said Gaius as he gave Colin 5 pieces. “Debussy, Bach and Rzewski… I don’t know that last one but I like the title. And, seriously? Claire de Lune?” Said Colin incredulous. “Ah… it may be “cliché” but very few can play a good Claire de Lune.” Said Gaius as he started to play. The chords and the subtle intensity made Colin’s gasp. He felt in another realm, all the knots in his back from playing in a bad posture were gone; he closed his eyes and dreamed. He felt he was in Paris, under the Eiffel Tower with his mum, after he got accepted to Oxford… he felt at ease and most importantly, at peace. “Now… that is how that clichéd piece should sound like.” Said Gaius laughing. “Now let’s get started. As always you start thinking about College and you’re still… how old are you?” “I’m 16… why?” Said Colin… “Did you forget my age… again?”  “My boy… you need to eat more. You’re too skinny and besides you look as if you were 13 years old. Now, now… go and sight read the Bach”. “Yeah… yeah ok. I’ll start with the Bach,k?” Said Colin as he opened the score. “Bach’s Piano Concerto #2 in D minor… I think I’m going to like this one.” Smiled Colin to Gaius as he started to play.

 

                 “We’re late! Come on Gaius, pick up!!” Said Colin pacing on the porch. “I’m just around the corner… I fell asleep. Sorry, my boy!” Said Gaius, quickly as he ended the call. “Typical” Said Colin. “Mum! I’m going to the audition? Right? Said Colin as he headed to the kitchen. “Yes. I’ll be there, don’t worry. Right after I finish babysitting Asa. I know you’ll be amazing. I love you.” Said Hunith as he kissed his Colin on his forehead and gave him a biscuit.  “I love you too! Bye mum.” Said Colin as he raced towards the door.

                 Emerys, Colin. It’s your turn. “Good Afternoon. I’m Colin Emerys.” Said Colin toward the judges and he sat on the piano. “What are you going to play?” Said one of the Judges. “It’s a surprise… I think you’re going to love it as much as I do.” Said Colin smiling at the judges.  Colin breathed and started to play Claire de Lune. Halfway in the song, he felt something was off… His piano sounded weird…. He looked at the chairs behind the judges. Hunith wasn’t there. He tripped over a few notes, but continued playing. His heart started to race, his hands were sweaty, he lost all concentration. “Maybe she’s stuck in traffic”… Just as Colin finished that though. The theater door slammed open. “Sir… Sir you can’t go in there. There’s an audition…” Screamed a judge. Colin jumped, he stopped playing as he saw Gaius almost falling down… He looked at Colin and Colin felt he was going to pass out. “Colin…” A judge got up and said “ Gaius! You know you can’t be here. Your pupil is in the middle of his audition.” “I know… Could you give me a few minutes? It’s an emergency” “Sure…” Said the elderly judge with a comprehensive eyes. “Mr. Emerys. You can start again as soon as we’re finished with the next one.”  “Gaius… what happened? What happened to mum?” Said Colin agitated. “Gaius! What happened?” Gaius just looked at Colin and said… “I’m sorry… a truck… it started to rain and…I’m sorry” Colin just stood there as his world came crashing down. 

Let’s Chat Over Coffee- Chapter 6


Chapter Six

                 So was this you trying to impress me? By tripping on the carpet. By the way that cinnamon dolce latte is really good. It might be a new favorite. It might be. Said Colin smirking. Oh shut it. I did not trip. As I told you the Earth rotated against my will. Didn’t you come here to help me? Instead you are judging my amazing Earth rotating abilities? I am disappointed at you. Judging someone over they’re abilities. Said Bradley holding his literature book. Ok ok, I’ll stop judging you. Now what is it that you don’t understand? Said Colin smirking. Ok… Here-  Bradley hands Colin a yellow folder labeled “To-Do List”- The ones I can’t figure out are the ones marked in yellow. – Do you even understand the material? There has to be like 30 terms! Colin said surprised. And that’s why I need your help. Said Bradley with one of his award-winning smiles. Ok. So let’s starts with the Iambic Pentameter…

 ______________________________________________________________________________________ 

                 Bad night, Arth? Said Eoin, rummaging in the fridge. “Why are you in my flat? I was informed that you were moving out last week.” Said Bradley throwing himself to the couch. “I knew you wouldn’t live without me.” Said Eoin as he bit an apple. “That means you couldn’t find a flat that was cheap enough, close to the bar and college. And the fact that you can’t cook makes it harder for you to live ‘cause you cant live with just Beer and Healthy Choice’s Café Steamers.” Bradley got up from the couch and heads to the kitchen and slaps Eoin in the head. “So that means you have to pay rent on time, buy groceries and pay half in everything. If you can’t do that I will kick you out.”I am pleased to inform you that you are going to buy dinner ‘cause as you can see my former flat mate ate everything and now I don’t have anything to eat.” Said Bradley hitting Eoin again but with an orange. “Fine! I’ll order some pizza. At least you have some of that wimpy beer”- Hey! Smirnoff is not a “wimpy beer” and what are you talking about? You drank half of them last week!  Said Bradley insulted. Exactly, I didn’t get wasted. Hence why its wimpy and you should buy straight up vodka. What’s the number of the pizza place?  Said Eoin after munching another piece of apple and fumbles with his krazor.

______________________________________________________________________________
For what it’s worth

I miss you…

Why do you linger?

Why do you stay?

Can’t you see this can’t happen?

Not this way?

 

Colin tries to shake his thoughts as he sits down. Closing his eyes he exhales and places his hands on the keys. He opens his eyes; his hands linger over a C7th  he shifts his hands as he meticulously starts playing. Exhaling and inhaling with the beats, he closes his eyes. An amalgam of arpeggios, chords bounce off the walls and fly off the tiny cubicle. Students stop and stare at Colin’s piano playing, asking each other “who is the virtuoso pianist?”

                 When he finished playing, he could feel himself sweaty and hyperventilating. Oblivious to the crowd outside, he closes the piano, picks up his bag and heads to the door. Colin halts as he stares at the people staring back at him. He starts to slowly move towards the door as he looks at the students fleeing the scene and only one figure is left. Colin opens the door and recognizes Eoin. “So why aren’t you studying music. You studied with Gaius didn’t you?” “ Um, yeah I-” Colin started to ramble. “I don’t know why you stopped playing, but you should continue, I’m looking forward to more of you impromptu concertos” Eoin smiles as he flips his black wavy hair to the side as he smiles cockily. “Could you at least tell me what it was?” “The people united will never be defeated, the Variations 27-29th by Federic Rzewski” Said Colin in shock. Eoin walked away as he said “I’ll see you when I see you, mysterious pianist”.

_____________________

Here’s a video of the piece Colin played:

Let’s Chat over Coffee- Chapter 5

Let’s Chat Over Coffee Chapter 4


Two weeks pass as Colin looks at the picture of the cup that’s carefully placed in his night stand, as some priced possession sighing as he, failing tries to think of something else. Should I call him? Even though it’s been two weeks? I saw an episode by the Millionaire Matchmaker that the first 48 hours are the crucial and that I shouldn’t give it away…Wait… what the hell am I thinking. I didn’t go on a date with Bradley… ergh! Snap out of it Emerys. It’s been two weeks, he forgot about me. Just stop behaving like a twelve year old! As Colin tried to not think about Bradley and focus on his essay due tomorrow, because obviously he spent the time he ~should have dedicated to his paper he dedicates (as usual) in reading fan fiction of Doctor Who, watch America’s Next Top Model (‘cause Tyra Banks is fierce as hell and would beat Naomi Campbell in a model off), Project Runway, Misfits (‘cause Simon and Alisha could have it all!) and The Devil wears Prada (‘cause Meryl Streep is flaw-free and Anne Hathaway looked beautiful in those Dolce and Gabbana dresses ). Staring at the paper for the fifth time and hating his “European” professor he looked at his laptop and his thesis statement.  This is so stupid. Why do I have to do this essay in the first place and why did tell him I would do an analysis of Les Sœurs Rondoli instead of Une Vie?  Just as he wanted to throw his laptop to the ground and flip his desk in frustration. Just as he wanted to scream, his blackberry started to ring.

 

Maintenant je maudis le jour où j’t’ai rencontré,

J’aurais pas dû te regarder
Si t’es plus là tous ces souvenirs

Qu’est c’que j’en fais, je veux juste t’oublier 

Tout ce qu’il me reste
C’est juste une photo de toi,

Juste une photo de toi,

Juste une photo de toi

 

Colin looked at his cellphone incredulously, he didn’t know the number but he had a feeling that he had to pick it up. Picking his phone tentatively he answered. Allô? “Um hi. Is this Colin’s phone? It’s Bradley” Said Bradley confused and dreading he called Colin. Damn it maybe Rachel gave me the wrong number just to mess with me!  Thought Bradley. “Um. Hi, sorry… yeah it’s me I was just doing a French paper and once I start I continue to think in French and it takes a while to change back… um… Wassap?”  Trying to sound as calm and collected while he tripped over his bag as he was standing up, thinking that would give him more confidence.


            “Ok, ok. Sorry I’m calling, I asked Rachel to give me your number I kinda wanted to talk to you. My English lit professor just gave me the list for my final test and I’m sort of freaking out, ‘cause I don’t understand the material. I was wondering if you had some free time and help me out. If you can I can pay you.” Said the musician.  Trying to recollect himself and trying not to hyperventilate, Colin replied “Um sure, but finals aren’t like in a month. Have you at least read your selections?”Yeah I’m in the middle of three and I finished two and I’m kind of struggling with these… I asked Rachel, but she was busy and she told me to ask you…” Bradley’s voice trailed. “Oh my God, that Rachel. I’m going to kill her next time I see that bitch! Thought Colin as he casually responded, “Well, sure I could help you out. I can’t right now ‘cause I’m in the middle of writing a paper I have for tomorrow. I’m free tomorrow, if it’s urgent.”  “Yes, that would be amazing. I have rehearsals up until like 6-ish, so maybe if you like we can meet wherever you like.” Said Bradley a bit too exited for his sake, doing a little jump and his guitar fell making startling Bradley. “What was that?” asked Colin. “Just my guitar, I didn’t secure it well apparently” Lied Bradley “So where should we meet?” Asked Bradley. “Well first of all I need to know the list, to know even if I can actually help you. Tomorrow at 6:30 at Perk’s?” Asked Colin. “Sure.” Said Bradley. “Let’s chat over coffee, my treat.”

Let’s Chat over Coffee- Chapter 3


Chapter Three

After ending his conversation with Colin, Bradley feels good. He doesn’t know why but he does. He looks around in the tiny cubicle he’s in, guitar on hand and sheet music on the stand, he thinks of his playlist for the night. Maybe if I use half and half… half classical half popular. People go to a coffee shop to drink coffee and talk. They’re not there to hear people sing. Bradley started to fidget in his chair and started to sweat. And I’m still not comfortable in singing alone in public. Yeah… That seems like a good idea. I wonder is that Colin kid will ~actually~ show up. He’s kind- Wait… what was it that I was going to say… think… whatever… He seems nice. Just. Nice. Bradley picks up his guitar and starts to sing, trying to get Colin out of his mind. Focus Pendragon! Bradley sigh and tries to focus on the lyrics. I wish I could get more money out of this gig…

Colin anxious by the minute picks up his phone and starts to text Rachel.

Colin: Hey. What should I wear? I mean… jeans and a shirt or would that be awkward? Is it too much?

Entering to her room, Rachel listens to her phone and picks it up. She sighs as she sees too text messages from Colin, one with a text and the other a picture of Colin in “outfit”.

Rachel: /sigh I knew I was going to have this conversation with you. Cols, its just to PICK UP A BOOK. Ok? Do you even know he ~goes~ that way? And besides you’re not going on a date. And if you are I will kill you because I will NOT be the third wheel. Are you? Omg this is a date isn’t it Emerys I will KILL YOU!
Colin: Please. I know. You’re right. I’m over reacting… and NO!!!OMG NO it’s not a date. I will just pick up the pick up the book and that’s it….
Rachel: Please don’t tell me you’re getting your hopes up? /sigh I know you Cols. Is something up?
Colin: Who said about getting my hopes up? He’s just a random guy. And yeah, I’ll ditch what I have on. I’ll be out at… five-ish so I can meet up in the music building.
Colin: PS: I will change… and to be honest I looked hot. >_>
Rachel: Ok then. See you soon luv.

Colin sighed as he looked at himself in the mirror. I look nice… I’m not ~hot~ but I look ~okay~. Rach’s right. I’m over dressed. I’m such an idiot. I don’t even know if he’s… Looking at himself in the mirror in his room, Lance walks in looking at him with a weird look in his face. “Are you going on a date?” Said Lance with a smug smirk on his face and a beer in his hand. “I wish, sadly no. I just overdressed. I’m going with Rach to the coffee shop” Said Colin with a hint of sadness. “Oh… I see and you don’t invite me or Angel, huh?” Said Colin’s roommate, amused. “It came up last minute and besides now you can invite Angel over here. Haven’t you been trying to kick me out? Now you have until 8 approximately. Use your time wisely.” Smiled Colin knowing he touched a sensitive subject with his roommate. “How did you know about Angel and I?” Lance looked pale as snow, and fumbled to get his beer that almost fell to the ground. Colin smirked as he changed his black ¾ shirt to a black T-shirt, still in his tight black jeans and high top black converse. “The walls have eyes and ears Lance. The walls have eyes and ears.” “What do you mean?” Said Lance “It means that before you bring somebody for a shag. In this case your girlfriend, since I know you’ve been with her more or less after… September? Be a little less… vocal.” Laughed Colin. “You bastard! Did she tell you?!” “No, she didn’t tell me. Lance, she’s not that hard to read. And yes I knew it ever since you two started to date. Angel is my childhood friend after all. Now you better treat her well, if not I will chop your balls, with a chainsaw.” Just as Colin finished that sentence, somebody knocked on the door. “Shit” Lance cursed as he, looked at Colin and went and opened the door. “So… are we gonna- COLIN! Hey” Angel awkwardly smiled at Colin, as she knew the gist was up. “Hey Ang. Wassap? Don’t worry. I’ll be off in a few minutes and your secret will be safe with me. And no I won’t tell Katie. I swear.” Colin winked to Angel as she looked at him shocked. “You really are a Sherlock, aren’t you” asked Angel. “Yep”. “Oh… and Angel? Think wisely… I mean Lance? Come on you could do sooo much better” smirked Colin as Angel started to laugh and Lance glared at him “Just go to your ~date~ already!” yelled his roommate. “Look at you, going on a date. Who’s the lucky guy?” asked the girl dressed in a yellow dress, showing off her breasts. “Like I told to your ~boyfriend~, it’s not a date. Just going to hang out in the coffee shop with Rachel. And I’m off… and by the time I get here, this place should be spotless. I don’t want to know what you did.” Said Colin walking to the door. “I owe you one Colin!” Said Angel as Colin left his dorm.

Colin picked up his phone, dialed Rach’s phone and pressed call just as he heard the first beep, he heard Rachel’s ringtone in a distance. Rachel screamed Colin’s name and he walked up to her. They walked together in silence as they reached the Central Perk’s coffee shop. They opened the door and they took their regular seats just as Bradley started to introduce himself. “Hello, I’m Bradley Pendragon. It’s great to be playing at Perk’s for open mike. The manager told me he wanted to give the music department a break and he wanted students from the uni to play here on Sing it out! Thursday. I’m going to change it up a bit. Let’s start with the depressing thing ‘cause I know we’re still have the stench of failure’s from last weeks midterms so let’s all hang it out and try to cram everything for finals! With that Bradley started to sing Talking to the moon.

Rachel looked at Colin with a smirk as he looked at Bradley. Colin fancies Bradley. I mean who wouldn’t? Bradley’s a musician; he’s talented, nice white smile, beautiful blue eyes and nice hair. He’s smart too, after all he’s in the top 5 of three of our classes together… obviously I’m better than him ‘cause I’m in the number one spot, thank you very much. I don’t know, maybe Bradley, if he went that way and if he liked Colin back, he could help Colin. Colin’s too shy. I mean… shyer than his normal shy self. Something’s up, I know that and he wont tell me… maybe if I pair him up with- Oi! What are you staring at? Said Colin as he looked at Rachel as a confused puppy. Sorry… just thinking too much about my midterms lied Rachel. Come on; buy me some coffee, after all if I’m going to be here ‘till seven watching you look at Bradley as a lost puppy who wants to get adopted then the ~least~ I can get out of you is some free coffee. Said Rachel. “Ok, I’ll buy you the coffee, only if you finally take me out for some shots at the bar.” Countered Colin. “Touché Emerys. Fine… Let’s see how many shots you can handle.” “So what’s the deal with Bradley, how did you meet him all of the sudden?” Asked Rachel, curious to know where exactly Colin knew Bradley from. “Oh, um…” Colin’s eyes traveled to his coffee as he tried to stop his big ears from turning beet red. “I know him from here, actually. He comes here at more or less the same time I’m here doing my reading for my classes, but it was when I saw him playing in a cubicle and a book of mine got lost, he found it and he called me today to give me the book back.” Colin said turning red and failing in saying all of this casually. “He’s actually good. When I saw him play in the cubicle, he was rehearsing a song, that it’s actually one of my favorites. Well… obviously he’s not better than John Williams, but still he played the song really well” Said Colin, looking at Bradley sing and turning even more red, when he actually listened to what Bradley was singing.

~I’ma get your heart racing in my skin-tight jeans
Be your teenage dream tonight
Let you put your hands on me in my skin-tight jeans
Be your teenage dream tonight~

People clapped and a group of girls cheered Bradley as he finished his song, Colin couldn’t help but notice that Bradley was looking at him as he sang that last verse and Bradley was smiling ~as~ he sang that verse. Colin looked at Rachel, as she was looking at what just happened. “Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who saw that.” Said Colin, his voice shaking. “No, you weren’t the only one and besides obviously he sang that to ~me~.” Said Rachel tauntly.

In a daze, Colin saw the manager walk towards Bradley and whispered in his ear while Bradley smiled and nodded. As the manager walked away, Bradley grabbed the microphone and said: “Well you guys our friend Gunther told me to stop the show for a few minutes ‘cause apparently you guys aren’t buying coffee! Bradley laughed as the costumers giggled. No I’m serious, Gunther my dear friend who is the manager and who very kindly asked me to sing today, told me to have a 15-minute break. So I’ll see be right back, and buy some of Gunth’s amazing coffee. Smiled Bradley as he placed his guitar on it’s case and looked around on his bag, took out a book and after saying hi and smiling to the table full of freshmen, he walked towards Rachel and Colin as the giggles from the girls Bradley just said hi to burst as bubbles from a bottle of sparkling wine freshly poured into a flute glass on New Years Eve.

“He’s coming. Don’t screw it or spaz.” Said the girl through gritted teeth to Colin and sipped some coffee. “Wait… What?” Said Colin surprised as he looked at Bradley suddenly in front of him. “Hey Bradley. Nice guitar playing. I don’t know if you recognize me. Rachel Smith we take three classes together.” Said the girl as she extended her hand to greet Bradley. “Yeah! Sure.” Said Bradley smiling and shaking her hand. “We take Chem, Shakespeare and what was the other one? Health was it?” “No, we took that last semester together. Sociology, with Dr. Hermioz.” Replied Rachel with outstanding kindness. “Oh right, Soc 101 with le Herz. I honestly fall asleep in that class so… that’s why I don’t actually remember it. Honestly that class is such a waste of time, if people actually read the book they would get an A. Especially with Dr. Herz” Said Bradley showing his perfect white teeth that left Colin mesmerized. “Bradley you don’t know how much I agree with you. I take that class to do my homework or basically read my emails. Oh that’s rude of me! Do you know Colin? Colin Emerys meet Bradley Pendragon. Said Rachel cynically, which made Colin stop staring at Bradley. “Um… yeah sure. I was the one who invited you remember Rach?” Said Colin ashamed and blushing just a touch that made his cheeks get slightly pink just like when the clouds in sunrise. “Yeah. I met Colin in the music department. Hey Colin. Here!” Said the musician a bit over enthusiast as he gave Colin his book back. “Sorry I didn’t call you earlier I got a little sidetracked ‘cause of the midterms and some juries I had.” “Be back in a tick, I have to get another cup of coffee. Here Bradley, take my seat.” Said Rachel as she left the table and mouthed Relax! He’s cute! To Colin who gave her a I can’t believe you’re doing this to me look.

Colin laughed nervously as he took some of his coffee and he tried not to drink what’s left, just dreading that he had to speak to Bradley alone. “So what instrument do you play?” Asked Bradley. “Um. I actually play a bit of piano. I used to play back when I was in high school. I studied in the conservatory with Prof. Gaius, I don’t know if you know about him.” “Wait… you studied under THE Gaius… The one who won the International Chopin Piano Competition three years in a row?” Almost screamed Bradley looking at Colin in shock. “Yeah, I did. I started to play piano when I was 6 years old. Gaius was actually my second and last teacher” smiled cautiously Colin. “Woah! And please tell me your studying music. You must be an amazing pianist! I mean with Gaius as your mentor and all” Said Bradley still in disbelief as he looked at Colin as if Colin had all the Christmas presents in the world. “No actually, I’m a Literature Major.” Replied Colin amused. “Wow man, you have to call me so I can see you play piano. I mean… you must be amazing!” “Do you like what you’re studying? I mean I like languages and literature but that’s ‘cause well music is deeply intertwined with both of them.” Said Bradley

“Yeah, it’s really my thing. Do you compose or play something other than guitar, which by the way you’re really good at.” Said Colin smiling at Bradley “Oh yeah. I play a bit of piano, but I suck at it to be honest. I also play just a touch of violin, I sing as you could see and I just started in conducting.” Said Bradley self-consciously. “Wow you really are a multi-talented guy, aren’t you?” Replied Colin amazed. “Some people just say to me that I’m a workaholic, I just say that I love music so much I want to do all I can. It’s basically my life you know.” Said Bradley proudly. “Know that feeling.” Said Colin drinking a bit of his scarcely sweetened black coffee. “You know. I got a feeling about you Colin. Colin, that ~is ~ your name right. I’m bad with names so-” Said Bradley as he saw Gunther saying that he had to be up again. “Sorry they’re telling me to go up again. Um… anyways here’s my number if you lost it. And I would really love to talk to you soon. I can use some tutoring with my Shakespeare class. I know you might be good, ‘cause you’re always reading here when around by the time I come here… and I would like to talk music with cha.” Said Bradley as he wrote his number in Colin’s cup as Colin looked at him puzzlingly. Bradley finished writing on Colin’s cup, looked up smiled at him and went back to where his guitar was, picked it up and smiled to the microphone and said:

“Sorry about that. Was talking to my new friend over there. I think he’ll like this next piece I’m going to play. I’m going to change it up once again, you see in this part just to get you more relaxed and give this awesome shop a cool vibe; I’m going to play some classical pieces. This first up was made popular by Andrés Segovia and is one of the most recognizable classical guitar pieces. It’s part of a suite, which was published in 1892. Ladies and Gentlemen, Asturias.” Bradley stretched about a bit, and started to play. Colin watching him, smiled as he finished his coffee and closed his eyes to take truly listen to the song, trying to ignore the people murmuring in the background. Half way toward the piece, Rachel sat back on the table and watched Colin look at his coffee cup and simply said: “When are you going to call him?” Colin just smiled and replied: “Don’t know.”

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