"hey u, got ur note. id ttly be ^ 4 hangin sumtime so w/e day wrks 4 u is gud (:"

No, too informal. Not only did typing all that chatspeak almost give me an aneurysm, all that suggests that we're close friends, which we aren't (yet?).

"Hello, Emery! I got your note that you left at dinner, and I'd love to hang out sometime. Whatever day works for you is fine with me, so just let me know."

Too formal. I sound like I'm making a business proposition. A really eager business proposition.

I threw down my phone and buried my face in my pillow. I had decided I was going to text him, but big deal! I couldn't find the right thing to say at all. I know my friends would have told me that it didn't have to be absolutely perfect, but I wanted to do this right. I didn't want to get brushed off because the text I sent sounded stupid. I wanted to impress him from the start, and I was getting nowhere! I had an hour of trig homework to do, and I had spent the last half hour composing stupid text messages. Congratulations to me.

I looked around my room, hoping the blue walls would help calm me down. It didn't work. I was wound too tight to do anything productive. I let my phone stay where it was and padded downstairs in my bare feet to clear my mind.

My piano is a maple-stained upright with two keys that stick and one octave that is quieter than the rest. I love it all the same. A large, gold-framed painting of the cosmos hangs on the wall above it, brilliant in blacks and blues and purples.

I pulled out my well-worn book of sonatinas. I flipped to a Clementi, my favorite in the book. The rhythm helped me to relax, the dark, warm sound of the piano allowing the tension to flow out of me. I hit the keys precisely, each note getting the same amount of time as if my hands were metronomes. After I finished the six-page sonatina, I was calm. I reached for my black binder notebook. It was time to think.

The black binder holds sheet upon sheet of page-protected pencil scratchings. A few are unfinished, a couple are little more than a page long. Whenever I need to think, I come to this binder, because my thoughts are already on the paper. I turned the pages slowly, not knowing what I was looking for. When I reached the ninth song, I stopped.

If. That was the song I needed.

I put the binder up on the piano. I started slow and soft, letting the slow, deep triplets resound. Just when I was getting fully used to this, the left-hand part started, sixteenth notes making the song carry an asymmetrical three-over-four rhythm. The melody rose and fell, coming in and going out like the tide. Without warning, the parts switched, the triplets and melody moving two octaves lower to the left hand. The sixteenth note pattern transfered effortlessly to my right hand, and I let everything just be. The deep, rich tones cascaded over one another, and I let the inconsistencies of the four-over-three rhythm fill my ears. Slowly, in imperceptible increments, the left hand sped up the tiniest bit as the right hand slowed. And suddenly, both parts fit together, flowing in and out of each other, one part supporting the other. Before I knew it, the song ended with a eight-note chord. It's meant to feel unfinished, for that chord to have a questioning tone. Daring me to ask, what if? Daring me to dare.

I let the sound die. I sat on the bench, still and silent, considering the questions for a few minutes. Then I went back to my room, picked my cell phone off the floor, and typed a message. Without hesitation, I clicked send.