By, Julie W.
It’s 10:25 AM on April 23, right after English class, and you file out of the classroom on the way to the theater. “What’s happening in Assembly today?” you ask, hoping one of your friends will have remembered what Mr. B’s email said the night before. Someone mumbles, “Small Chorus is performing,” from across the hallway, and you feel utterly indifferent; at least it’s not buddy advisory, but it’s not a Cookie Wednesday concert either. Illegally propping your feet up on the back of the seats in front of you, you settle in and prepare to hear a spiel about an 18th century Czechoslovakian folk song written in a challenging 9/16 time signature. But instead, you see a student walk off stage, then back onstage in a black hooded cloak. “Is this part of the senior prank?” you ask yourself, knowing deep down that it’s definitely not. After a haunting introduction to the piece, the next few minutes of—singing? screeching? clucking?—that ensue are ineffable. “This is… different,” an anonymous student says beside you, while another one notes, “I was expecting it to be weird, but not THIS weird.” You feel laughter bubbling up inside your chest, but you can’t tell whether this laughter is due to amusement or plain discomfort. Either way, when the singers exhale loudly (apparently to denote the end of the piece), you cannot help but let out a cackle.
You open your mouth to say something about the performance to your friends, but nothing comes out. What is happening to me?, a voice inside your head screams. Without warning, a memory from just a few minutes ago ashes into your head. “To leave an enemy without an answer, say these words to him: Aglaria Pidhol garia Ananus Qepta… and blow in his direction. Then he will not know which way he is headed and cannot answer you.”
“Did Small Chorus just… place a perpetual curse on me?” you say, not knowing whether to feel more scared or impressed. But no one hears you. No one will ever hear you again. Your friends, laughing, leave the Assembly, beckoning to you to join them, but you can’t get out of your seat—you suddenly can’t figure out which way to go.
It’s not such a bad life for you nowadays. You remain eternally plastered to your purple cushion in the Assembly, but your friends come and visit you when they have the chance, bringing you lunch from the cafeteria and the night’s homework assignments. Ms. T has promised you that at the Fall 2018 concert, Small Chorus will sing the piece that undoes the curse. It’s going to be a long summer for you as you silently anticipate that random Tuesday in October, but hey—at least you’ll have the best seat in the house.