Iam holding the CD between my fingers, whirling it around on my forefinger, and I have this absurd urge to crack it again.

To repeat history? To end this craziness in a thousand holographic pieces?

Not that it would help; just around the corner there are dozens more for sale.

I pop it into the CD player, my heart pounding as the machine crackles and comes to life.

Beat, beat, beat.

Rafi is listening intently. I sit down on the rug and grab a pillow, pulling it over my ears.

Did he keep it, that horrible, cheap lingo in our lyrics? Did he?

Behind ‘em, desert

Before ‘em, sea

Even through the pillow, I can hear that he has. I am back on that cold summer evening, heart sinking, sinking into my stomach as I realize what he’s done to my lyrics.

But I’m not there. I knew it was coming, and I’m not bowled over like I was then.

I am breathing, through the pillow, through the pain.

I glance over at Rafi. He has the weirdest look in his eyes.

And he said, follow me, follow me.

Into the depth of the sea.

I throw the pillow across the room, and suddenly I am laughing. Chortling. Like a hyena. The release of it, all those cascading feelings whooshing, whooshing out.

My laughter rings louder than the music.

My brother looks at me like I’ve gone insane. Maybe I have. I don’t care.

And then he is laughing too. The refrain of the song belts out of the CD player and there’s a dramatic pause. And right there, as if on cue, we are trilling along. Shouting out the words faster, faster, our voices — the beautiful voices we get from Dad — rising and merging, a thousand emotions flying up with them, popping and plinking like bubbles.

The song starts up again, and we are going louder still, when the door opens.

Mom stands there; a frozen silhouette.

For an infinite moment Dad’s voice keeps playing, reverberating between us. I come to my senses and jab the “off” button. The quiet, thick and stodgy, is worse. I look up cautiously and into Mom’s face. Her eyes, they are blinking very fast. Don’t cry, Mom, I plead in my mind. It makes me wilt inside when she does, desperately, helplessly.

But she doesn’t. Mom comes into my room and perches on my bed.

After what seems like forever, she says, “I like when you kids sing.” She is half-whispering. “It’s a part of you, music is. Your dad gave you that part. I wouldn’t want to take it away, even if I’m dis—” She clears her throat. “Even if I’m not very excited about what he’s done lately.”

“Neither are we,” Rafi says.

The words stick in my throat, and suddenly all I want is to throw them out at Mom. At this strong and accepting Mom I have.

“I wrote the lyrics,” I say, my voice catching, “The words are practically all mine.” (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 699)