He didn’t remember anymore when he had started hearing the music. But he remembered when he started looking for it.
Every day he woke up, face down under his pillow, bright dreams fading from his mind’s eye, music sounding in his ears, some song ringing through his brain as though someone had turned on a radio by the bed. It was almost always something he never remembered having heard before.
Thinking back, he could recall a time or two when he’d be humming, at home over breakfast or at school or during practice, when Tyler or somebody would wrinkle their nose and say, “You like that song?” and he’d look at them wide-eyed, at a loss, until they turned away. He wanted to say, “I don’t know.” Because he didn’t. Usually, he didn’t know what they were talking about.
Once in awhile he’d hear music playing on the radio or tv or in a grocery store and a shock would go right through his body. But he didn’t think too much about it. He’d learn the songs, how to sing them or maybe play them on the piano, as though he hadn’t already known them in his bones. As though he hadn’t already lived with them echoing through him, moving with him as he moved through his days, sometimes for weeks before a dj would say “brand new!” and he’d hear, for the first time, the sounds of the music inside him that someone else sang, and played.
They called him musically gifted, because he could pick up a tune so quickly. But he knew that wasn’t so.
Sometimes he wondered where the music came from. Lots of songs he woke up to he never heard again. He wondered if those might be his songs, the songs he had to offer. He was kind of nervous, though. How could he know which songs were his?
He thought the best way to find out would be to surround himself with people who knew about music. Then he could play the songs he heard in his mind and wait for them to nod and laugh, saying, “I didn’t know you were into that!” Or maybe they would just say, “That’s good!” He really, really wanted to hear them say that. He didn’t know how else he’d find himself in all the music in the world. It was a little overwhelming sometimes. So much music.