YA Fiction - Serial Novels - The Sunshine Time
The Sunshine Time Season 1 Episode 7
The late afternoon sun streamed into the apartment hall through the three open windows. A light breeze rustled the white lace curtains. They were a surprising touch, along with the potted greenery and bright rugs and baskets of crochet and knitting, creating a tranquil atmosphere that I hadn’t expected when I had first visited Psyche at her apartment in South Monzaemon. When you met Psyche, tranquility wasn’t the state of being you would think to associate with her. She was too vibrant and too exciting. More the steel and glass modernist sort, I had assumed. But, as I was learning, people were far more multifaceted than what first met the eye. In her case, she had a calm, self-contained side that had yet to display a ruffle. It made her an excellent music teacher. There were ten people in my 5-to-6 pm time-slot, aged between 18 to 65, all of us beginners and none of us, so far, displaying any hidden talent, and her tolerance of our atrocious noise production was remarkable. I would have yelled at me by now. Not Psyche. You could fumble at something 10 times, and she would patiently explain it all over again 11 times. There was not even a hint of handing you a dunce-cap. If I had admired her previously, I was now coming perilously close to adoring her.
She sat now on the ledge of the central window, her legs stretched out before her and crossed at the ankles, the sun throwing golden highlights in her face and dreadlocks, her focus seemingly divided between a flower that she was crocheting and an article that she was reading on her tablet, but her ears were attuned in our direction. The moment anyone played a wrong note, she would raise an admonitory finger and point straight at that person. Uh-uh, again, she would say. I thought it was quite incredible that she could sit there doing two other things and attend to each one of us like that. I could scarcely hear my own playing with all the instruments resounding about me. It was good that the apartment had thick walls and that most of the other occupants of the building were musicians too. Billy, who had accompanied me on the first day, had proclaimed the place ‘intolerable’ and, after only five minutes of the din, had taken himself off to wait in the park across the street. He hadn’t bothered to come with me after that.
“Bodyguard not come?” Psyche had inquired, with a smile.
“Torture-cop, more like,” I had replied, and she had laughed.
It was with distinct awkwardness that I had arrived for my music lesson today, the video of her and Guy in bed being too fresh in my mind.
“That is none of your business,” Tavi had already admonished me. “Keep mum, you hear? Unless you want her to squash you nice and hard. She doesn’t take kindly to unsolicited comments on her personal life. Hell, you don’t yourself, do you?”
He was quite irritated with me for even reporting the matter to him.
“Little Miss Sanctimonious Morals,” he had said. “Don’t you have better things to do with your time?”
We had had a nice quarrel over his calling me that.
Anyhow, of course, I had said nothing at all to Psyche. I wouldn’t have, even without Tavi’s telling me not to. I could kick him for taking me to be that much of an idiot. And the awkwardness hadn’t lasted. You couldn’t be awkward and concentrate on music at the same time. Besides, seeing her, it didn’t seem to matter at all. It was over. It was in the past. And it really wasn’t any of my business. I did not even mention Guy, not even in the context of my sketchbook. Even if it meant losing it for ever. That possibility made me wince, but I was determined to be stoic about it. But, at the end of the lesson now, as I was preparing to file out after everyone, Psyche brought up both Guy and the sketchbook herself.
“Oh, wait,” she said. “I nearly forgot. Guy said to come fetch your sketchbook. I thought you might have already been over to collect it. I’m so sorry I forgot to fetch it the other night. It really and truly quite slipped my mind. Anyway, you’d better stop by the Loft on your way home and get it.”
I went into instant panic mode. Go there? On my own? Oh, I couldn’t. My ignominious retreat the other night had quite eroded my confidence. The very idea of facing him again terrified me. I had visualized the scene in my head and, even with me directing everything, it had not gone well. The knock I had made on his door had been with a sweaty fist and when he had opened it and looked out at me, beads of perspiration had gathered at my temples and rolled down my cheeks and dripped down my chin.
“Hello,” I had stammered, with a hammering heart. “I’m Lea, I’ve come for my sketchbook.”
He had not answered. He had been staring in disbelief at my pimple.
“Good Gawd!” he had said. “I never saw a pimple that ginormous!”
Yes, even my imagination couldn’t come up with a better scenario than that.
The pimple was now prominent on my nose and showed no sign of abating. It had seemed a millimeter larger, in fact, this morning. I had nearly not left home on account of it. Mum had had to hustle me out, assuring me that it wasn’t that bad. She had even smacked Billy’s arm for suggesting that I put a plaster on it and tell people that I had injured myself rescuing an orphan from three villains in a dark alley.
“It’s not that bad, kitten,” she had repeated.
But it was. I had been able to see a clear reflection of it in all the glass doors and windows I had passed. I could see it now in the glass of Psyche’s window.
“Couldn’t you go?” I began. “Because I don’t...ahm... I mean...”
“You don’t know the way? It’s not that far. Within walking distance, just four streets up. When you leave here, you turn...”
“Couldn’t you come with me?”
“Sweetie,” she said, “as your brother would say, you need to learn to toddle along on your own.” Then she pinched my cheek in a manner that Tavi would say was guaranteed to keep me in the toddler stage. “Alright, why not? Sure, I’ll come along. I’ve to see him about our song anyway.”
“Yeah, he’s composing a new one for us.”
“For your band?” It surprised me. Why would he compose a song for another band? For the same reason, it turned out, that Psyche and her band had stood in for his missing musicians at Drumont’s Bar the other night.
“Generosity,” explained Psyche and winked like my brother might have told her that this was something I wholeheartedly lacked. “We all help each other out, you know. The indie music community is very close-knit. Besides, he came up with this song and he thinks it’s more my type than his, so, there you go.”