Read Where She Went Online

Authors: Gayle Forman

Tags: #Emotional Problems of Teenagers, #Performing Arts, #Love & Romance, #Emotions & Feelings, #Emotional Problems, #Juvenile Fiction, #New York (N.Y.), #Social Issues, #Fiction, #United States, #Interpersonal Relations, #Musicians, #Music, #General, #Rock Music, #Violoncello, #People & Places, #Genres & Styles, #Interpersonal Relations in Adolescence, #Death & Dying

Where She Went

BOOK: Where She Went
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
DUTTON BOOKS
A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
Published by the Penguin Group | Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. | Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) | Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England | Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) | Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) | Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India | Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) | Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa | Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
Copyright © 2011 by Gayle Forman, Inc.
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.
 
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
Epigraph: Copyright © 1931, 1958 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted with permission of Elizabeth Barnett, The Millay Society.
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-47632-1
2. Emotional problems—Fiction. 3. Rock music—Fiction. 4.Violoncello—Fiction. 5. New York (N.Y.)—Fiction.] I.Title. PZ7.F75876Wh 2011 [Fic]--dc22 2010013474
 
Published in the United States by Dutton Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
www.penguin.com/youngreaders
 

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FOR MY PARENTS :
for saying I can.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
 
Excerpt from “Love is not all:
it is not meat nor drink.”
 
BY EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
ONE
Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this:
It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.
I don’t know when exactly I started giving myself this daily pep talk—or why. It sounds like a twelve-step mantra and I’m not in Anything Anonymous, though to read some of the crap they write about me, you’d think I should be. I have the kind of life a lot of people would probably sell a kidney to just experience a bit of. But still, I find the need to remind myself of the temporariness of a day, to reassure myself that I got through yesterday, I’ll get through today.
This morning, after my daily prodding, I glance at the minimalist digital clock on the hotel nightstand. It reads 11:47, positively crack-of-dawn for me. But the front desk has already rang with two wake-up calls, followed by a polite-but-firm buzz from our manager, Aldous. Today might be just one day, but it’s packed.
I’m due at the studio to lay down a few final guitar tracks for some Internet-only version of the first single of our just-released album. Such a gimmick. Same song, new guitar track, some vocal effects, pay an extra buck for it. “These days, you’ve gotta milk a dollar out of every dime,” the suits at the label are so fond of reminding us.
After the studio, I have a lunch interview with some reporter from
Shuffle.
Those two events are kinda like the bookends of what my life has become: making the music, which I like, and talking about making the music, which I loathe. But they’re flip sides of the same coin. When Aldous calls a second time I finally kick off the duvet and grab the prescription bottle from the side table. It’s some anti-anxiety thing I’m supposed to take when I’m feeling jittery.
Jittery is how I normally feel. Jittery I’ve gotten used to. But ever since we kicked off our tour with three shows at Madison Square Garden, I’ve been feeling something else. Like I’m about to be sucked into something powerful and painful. Vortexy.
Is that even a word?
I ask myself.
You’re talking to yourself, so who the hell cares?
I reply, popping a couple of pills. I pull on some boxers, and go to the door of my room, where a pot of coffee is already waiting. It’s been left there by a hotel employee, undoubtedly under strict instructions to stay out of my way.
I finish my coffee, get dressed, and make my way down the service elevator and out the side entrance—the guest-relations manager has kindly provided me with special access keys so I can avoid the scenester parade in the lobby. Out on the sidewalk, I’m greeted by a blast of steaming New York air. It’s kind of oppressive, but I like that the air is wet. It reminds me of Oregon, where the rain falls endlessly, and even on the hottest of summer days, blooming white cumulus clouds float above, their shadows reminding you that summer’s heat is fleeting, and the rain’s never far off.
In Los Angeles, where I live now, it hardly ever rains. And the heat, it’s never-ending. But it’s a dry heat. People there use this aridness as a blanket excuse for all of the hot, smoggy city’s excesses. “It may be a hundred and seven degrees today,” they’ll brag, “but at least it’s a dry heat.”
But New York is a wet heat; by the time I reach the studio ten blocks away on a desolate stretch in the West Fifties, my hair, which I keep hidden under a cap, is damp. I pull a cigarette from my pocket and my hand shakes as I light up. I’ve had a slight tremor for the last year or so. After extensive medical checks, the doctors declared it nothing more than nerves and advised me to try yoga.
When I get to the studio, Aldous is waiting outside under the awning. He looks at me, at my cigarette, back at my face. I can tell by the way that he’s eyeballing me, he’s trying to decide whether he needs to be Good Cop or Bad Cop. I must look like shit because he opts for Good Cop.
“Good morning, Sunshine,” he says jovially.
“Yeah? What’s ever good about morning?” I try to make it sound like a joke.
“Technically, it’s afternoon now. We’re running late.”
I stub out my cigarette. Aldous puts a giant paw on my shoulder, incongruously gentle. “We just want one guitar track on ‘Sugar,’ just to give it that little something extra so fans buy it all over again.” He laughs, shakes his head at what the business has become. “Then you have lunch with
Shuffle,
and we have a photo shoot for that Fashion Rocks thing for the
Times
with the rest of the band around five, and then a quick drinks thing with some money guys at the label, and then I’m off to the airport. Tomorrow, you have a quick little meeting with publicity and merchandising. Just smile and don’t say a lot. After that you’re on your lonesome until London.”
On my lonesome? As opposed to being in the warm bosom of family when we’re all together?
I say. Only I say it to myself. More and more lately it seems as though the majority of my conversations are with myself. Given half the stuff I think, that’s probably a good thing.
But this time I really will be by myself. Aldous and the rest of the band are flying to England tonight. I was supposed to be on the same flight as them until I realized that today was Friday the thirteenth, and I was like no fucking way! I’m dreading this tour enough as is, so I’m not jinxing it further by leaving on the official day of bad luck. So I’d had Aldous book me a day later. We’re shooting a video in London and then doing a bunch of press before we start the European leg of our tour, so it’s not like I’m missing a show, just a preliminary meeting with our video director. I don’t need to hear about his artistic vision. When we start shooting, I’ll do what he tells me.
I follow Aldous into the studio and enter a soundproof booth where it’s just me and a row of guitars. On the other side of the glass sit our producer, Stim, and the sound engineers. Aldous joins them. “Okay, Adam,” says Stim, “one more track on the bridge and the chorus. Just to make that hook that much more sticky. We’ll play with the vocals in the mixing.”
“Hooky. Sticky. Got it.” I put on my headphones and pick up my guitar to tune up and warm up. I try not to notice that in spite of what Aldous said a few minutes ago, it feels like I’m
already
all on my lonesome. Me alone in a soundproof booth.
Don’t overthink it
, I tell myself.
This is how you record in a technologically advanced studio
. The only problem is, I felt the same way a few nights ago at the Garden. Up onstage, in front of eighteen thousand fans, alongside the people who, once upon a time, were part of my family, I felt as alone as I do in this booth.
Still, it could be worse. I start to play and my fingers nimble up and I get off the stool and bang and crank against my guitar, pummel it until it screeches and screams just the way I want it to. Or almost the way I want it to. There’s probably a hundred grand’s worth of guitars in this room, but none of them sound as good as my old Les Paul Junior—the guitar I’d had for ages, the one I’d recorded our first albums on, the one that, in a fit of stupidity or hubris or whatever, I’d allowed to be auctioned off for charity. The shiny, expensive replacements have never sounded or felt quite right. Still, when I crank it up loud, I do manage to lose myself for a second or two.
But it’s over all too soon, and then Stim and the engineers are shaking my hand and wishing me luck on tour, and Aldous is shepherding me out the door and into a town car and we’re whizzing down Ninth Avenue to SoHo, to a hotel whose restaurant the publicists from our record label have decided is a good spot for our interview. What, do they think I’m less likely to rant or say something alienating if I’m in an expensive public place? I remember back in the very early days, when the interviewers wrote ’zines or blogs and were fans and mostly wanted to rock-talk—to discuss the
music
—and they wanted to speak to all of us together. More often than not, it just turned into a normal conversation with everyone shouting their opinions over one another. Back then I never worried about guarding my words. But now the reporters interrogate me and the band separately, as though they’re cops and they have me and my accomplices in adjacent cells and are trying to get us to implicate one another.
BOOK: Where She Went
6.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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