CURRENTLY BEING RE-WRITTEN!! Don't read this, seriously.
A/N: I came up with this plot after listening back and forth between Jimmy Reed and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and I decided to give it a go. This would be post-book, so Johnny and Dally are dead.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Outsiders or "Girl," written by John Lennon (supposedly co-written by Paul McCartney), and performed by The Beatles.
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
" … is there anybody going to listen to my story / all about the girl who came to stay? … "
I used to like to play the piano, to just sit there in a completely relaxed state and allow my fingers to dance up and down the keys like marionettes. Those eighty-eight black-and-white keys and my fingers, they had a bond. An understanding.
And I had a gift for playing, apparently, though I doubtless ever actually acknowledged that myself.
My dad used to sit me down and teach me songs by his old blues favorites, like Jimmy Reed and Robert Johnson. My mom's choices were a bit more reserved, and she'd practice patience with me, teaching me classic pieces like "Greensleeves" in small, easy doses.
But it was my dad's teachings that stuck. Ever since he'd shown me how to play a simple twelve bar blues scale, I'd become completely smitten with the style, and very fascinated with the fact that it was so widely used by so many artists, in so many songs, and yet it still was able to grasp that air of originality for whomever used it.
And I loved the way the singers were able to express themselves through their music. It was such a pivotal time in history, what with all of the segregation and conflicts with civil rights, and the fact that they were able – hell, that they were even allowed – to do that was just amazing. Even at ten years of age I knew this.
So while I learned and punched out a very contorted twelve bar blues scale on our piano, my dad would distract me further by playing his old wartime records in the background, low but audible, an attempt to branch out my mind even further. Usually it'd just be Glenn Miller or Artie Shaw, but lots of times he'd throw in some Benny Goodman, as well. This was another style that I grew to adore, and nowadays, this earns me teases and taunts and banters about it from my brothers and many of the other greasers around here, but I pay it absolutely no mind. They just don't understand about things, and besides, they like their rock 'n roll like they like their women: loud, fast, and out of control. Most of them, anyway. And that is something that I could do without.
The only problem with this story, however, is that I haven't sat down at the piano bench for months, and it feels as if I've been away from it longer. I cannot go back, though. Since my parents died, I've had no motivation, no want to play anymore. Feeling my fingers run like silk over the keys brings back too many memories, and every time that I try to do it, my mouth goes dry and my throat becomes so tight that I fear I will choke.
This is probably why I haven't attempted another go at the piano. Instead, I have taken up the guitar. I taught myself everything that I'd learned from age six, until now. The only difference was that the guitar had strings, and I had to learn how to barre chords and move up and down the neck quickly. This wasn't so difficult, though, and soon I found that I could do it quite with ease.
It also took my mind off of the fact that I, along with my brothers, was now basically an orphan.
It was a car crash that had taken my parents. I never knew what happened, exactly. Everybody refused to tell me anything. This made me feel quite alone. And that's when I stopped playing the piano. I thought I might stop forever – it was just too much for me to handle, too much for me to take in – but I haven't quite decided yet. I may pick it up again someday.
Though my parents are gone, I thank the Lord every day that I'm not completely alone. I was born into a family where, besides my mother, I was the only female. Of my three brothers – Darry, Sodapop, and Ponyboy – I was born third oldest, or second youngest, depending on which way you choose to look at it. Lots of people seem to think that my brother Soda and I are twins, because we favor most, and are so close in age, but really, we're not. We're a whole ten months apart, me being younger.
At twenty, my brother Darry is the eldest of the four of us, and at fourteen, Ponyboy is the youngest. Soda is sixteen. I am nearly that, myself. Our closeness in age may be one of the leading reasons behind why we are so close as siblings. This is what made me feel less alone after our parents died, this closeness that we shared. Basically Soda and I are like best friends, but more than that because we are brother and sister. When he was six and I was almost that myself, he met a boy at school named Steve Randle, and soon this friendship was tripled. We balanced each other out. Soda was very happy-go-lucky and devil-may-care, while Steve possessed a tough, cocky anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better attitude, and I was the free spirit. I was the one who was constantly on the lookout for the two of them, keeping them out of trouble. But we always got along real good, hardly ever fought except for trivial things, and have been inseparable ever since.
When I played the piano, they would listen for a while, but after about five or ten minutes they would grow very bored, and would start playing various keys just to annoy me and cause me to make numerous mistakes. Now this is real music, they'd say, while one of them banged repeatedly on the lowest key and the other on the highest. This usually got me very upset, but surprisingly, I could never remain angry with them for very long.
Then a couple of months ago, just when I thought that we were finally beginning to see a sense of normalcy around the house, a whole chain of events that spawned one after the other brought us another wave of tragedy, and Johnny and Dallas – two of the other guys in our gang – ended up dead. The whole story is very heart-wrenching, and I don't want to go into detail, but that whole night is one night that will remain burned into my memory for the rest of my life. I know that I won't ever forget it.
Johnny was such a sensitive, soft-spoken kid, and Dallas ... he was so hard and angry all of the time. Johnny didn't deserve the card that life dealt him, coming from such a deranged home life, and in a way, Dallas didn't deserve to die, at least not in the way he did. I can still picture it, in the back of the mind ... the way he looked as he dropped to the ground under the street light that night ... the way we all just stood there in agony, knowing that there was absolutely nothing that we could do ... the way that I broke down into tears, knowing things were never going to be the same again ... the way Soda pulled me into an embrace and told me not to cry, though I could see tears in his eyes too ... the way Steve – cocky, arrogant, angry Steve – had slipped his hand into mine – a friendly, comforting gesture – and didn't let go until we got back to the house, completely shaken. The way the rest of us seemed to soften up a little bit.
In that one year I have grown up quite a bit. I had learned so much, yet I could comprehend so little, but I had grown up. I thought I'd seen it all. You've seen the world, Eleanor, I kept telling myself. You've seen the hatred of the world in a time frame of only one year, of only one tragic, life-altering night ...
But I was naïve, and you're not so worldly at fifteen.
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Let me know what you think so far!
Chapter Two coming soon...