Music From Standing Waves
    “No,” I mumbled, sorry I had said
    Justin turned to me. “What does the violin
guy want you to do?”
    “He wants her to go to the city,” said
Rachel. “To study.”
    Justin let go of his kickboard and it drifted
down the pool. “Abby?”
    “I’m not going anywhere,” I said quietly.
“Sarah won’t even let me go to the beach, let alone to
    “To Melbourne ?” Justin repeated.
“That’s a million miles away.”
    “I’m not going,” I said again.
    “But you want to.”
    I didn’t answer. Justin swam to the edge of
the pool, leaving me bobbing in the shallow end. I sucked in my
breath and followed him out of the water.
    “Jus? Are you shitty?”
    He didn’t answer.
    “I’m shitty,” said Rachel.
    I glared at her. “I wasn’t asking you.” I
grabbed Justin’s arm. “You know how much playing the violin means
to me. You know how much I want to make something of myself.”
    “Fine,” he said. “Can we just stop talking
about it? You said you’re not going, so that’s that. Let’s just
leave it.”

    We pretended our conversation in the pool had
never happened. Violin became a part of my life that I no longer
mentioned in Justin’s presence. For months, I practised in my
bedroom with the windows closed, afraid the sound would drift into
the street and remind him of things we were trying to forget.
    A lot of the people that stayed at our park
drove enormous, scruffy campervans. They slept on air mattresses in
the back, drank juice straight from cartons and hung wet board
shorts out the windows to dry. One van had a map of the world on
the back, dotted with stars to mark off all the places they’d
visited. I saw it out of my bedroom window and laughed at the
thought of what my map would look like. I’d mark Antarctica with a
star just to make myself feel better.
    The people in the vans rarely stayed more
than a couple of nights. Unimpressed and restless, they’d pack up
and disappear out of our lives like half-baked memories. I’d stay
behind of course, stagnant and desperate, watching Sarah triple
check the campers’ payments because she didn’t trust boys with long
    I felt I was watching my future.
    I practised until my fingers were raw, my
arms ached and my neck was iron. I had no money. I had no parental
support. So it had to be music that would get me out of Acacia
    I let myself into Andrew’s basement, tears
flooding down my cheeks. He looked up from a crate of music he was
rifling through.
    “What’s wrong?”
    I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. “My
mum’s making me stop violin.” Fresh tears spilled down my face.
    “You serious?”
    I flopped onto the piano seat. “She says we
can’t afford it, but I know she’s lying,” I sobbed. “She just
doesn’t want me going to the city. She thinks it’s stupid to want
to make a career out of music. And I don’t make enough money
working at the caravan park, so I can’t afford to pay you either.”
I gulped down my breath, hatred welling inside me.
    Andrew reached over and touched my wrist.
“You don’t have to pay me for lessons, Abs. You know I’ll teach you
for nothing.”
    “I can’t expect you to do that,” I coughed.
“You have to make a living. And you spend so much time teaching
    “I love teaching you. You know that. And I’m
making plenty of money working at the high school.”
    I sniffed. “I’ll baby-sit for you whenever
you want. And I’ll give you all my peg money.”
    Andrew laughed gently. “You keep your peg
money, Abs.” He brushed my arm. “Stop crying, okay. It’s
    I tried to swallow my tears. They left a
salty taste in the back of my throat. “Thank you so much.”
    “Does your mum know you’re here?” Andrew
    I shook my head. “She thinks I’m at
Rachel’s.” I lifted my chin slightly. “But I don’t care if she
knows. She can’t stop me from playing.”
    He stood up.

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