From her earliest youth, Jessica knew exactly who she wanted to be. She wanted to be a singer, to spend her days on top of a stage and just please millions of people with her voice and personality. She insisted so much to her parents that they finally accepted to pay for acting lessons and singing lessons. They didn’t really support her aside from the money aspect, so every single thing that happened afterwards was done only by that young idealist girl who wanted to eat the world.
She spent every single weekend practicing in her singing school and at home. Her family didn’t really like it because her voice was not very good at the beginning. And even when she improved it, it was still very annoying for people that just wanted to relax at home after long days at school or at the office. Jessica sometimes left the house and sang outside, walking to the store or the park. In her mind, she had to keep using her voice until someone noticed her.
In all the magazines, her favorite singers and stars told the stories of their discovery exactly in the same way: someone had seen them in a public space; sometimes it was the supermarket and others in an ice-cream parlor. The point was that they just saw them around and knew that they could be amazing artists. As she wanted to be a singer, she decided to sing in the park sometimes, hoping for people to stop by and just stay for a while, enchanted by her voice and talent.
Jessica convinced her best friend Anna to play the guitar while she sang. Anna had been pressured by her parents from a young age, leading a very different life than the one her friend had. She had been told that by the age of ten she should know how to play at least three instruments, and one of those was the guitar. She accepted Jessica’s request after her friend said that it was the best way to be far from her mother, who was always telling her what to do, even in summer holidays.
They started doing their small shows when they were around thirteen years old. They would sing five songs, chosen that same morning by the both of them. They had to do an act that would attract young people to the park but also adults that had connections to the artistic world in order for them to get noticed by a label. Anna was not as optimistic as Jessica, but she supported her nevertheless, mainly because it was such a fun time to have every so often. It didn’t happen every day, that would have been impossible, but they sat on the lawn of the park as often as they could.
Four years passed, very slowly for Jessica and very fast for Anna. They had only one more year of high school to go and then they would be sent to college. Their respective families had been saving for a long time and it would only be the right thing to do to keep studying and go on to live a life where they could be someone. But Jessica had already chosen who she wanted to be and nothing could ever change that. I her mind, she had a year to breakthrough and then, it would be undiscovered country.
Anna was always checking universities on her laptop, even moments before their musical outgoings. She would tell all of the details to Jessica, who never really paid attention. She was too busy memorizing the lines of several songs or learning about her favorite artists. She had her room all decorated with several pictures of them as well as of other artists and bands that had come before. Her aim was to be in one of those posters in the future, inspiring other young girls to be the best they could be.
However, life has a way of laughing at people’s dreams. One of those days, in which they sang on the park, Anna was late with her guitar, as her mother had decided to argue about the prospects of university. She wanted her daughter to study to be a chemist or a biologist. However, Anna wanted to learn something that required more creativity, more freedom. She had seen a lot of brochures about design schools, film schools and others like those. She wanted more than what she already had.
As they fought with her mother, she forgot that time was passing and that Jessica was not the most patient human on Earth. Once before, Anna had been five minutes late and she had been received by a furious Jessica yelling at her a bunch of things about decency and manners that a person in the artistic world should have. She also said some hurtful things and it made Anna regret her decision to help her friend. Jessica apologized later but made her promised she was not going to be late ever again.
But she was. Jessica had been waiting for a while. As winter was coming, the clouds and the sky turned darker sooner than before. It was the perfect moment for a criminal coming from outside of town to attack her right there, in the park. He covered her face and dragged her away from the lawn and into a wooded area, where he gagged her and raped her. A woman walking her dog found her the following day. Jessica had passed out the day prior and was still asleep when she was found. Not even the sound of more people around her and the paramedics woke her up.
Jessica woke up in the hospital three days after having been found. Some of her bruises were already receding. Her mother was on the room when she woke up. It was obvious she had been crying for a long while. Her father came in later and he hugged her and cried, without saying a word. It was very strange but she didn’t even try to say anything. It wasn’t that she couldn’t talk; it just seemed wiser to just listen and wait for the right moment to say the right amount of words.
That night, the doctor told her what had happened, her parents had left only minutes prior. She cried in silence as the man told her that the police had captured the man the day before on a road. He had been cornered by them, trying to take advantage of another girl. He was so surprised to see the police that apparently let the girl go and shot himself on the mouth. The police didn’t even have a moment to properly respond or to save his life in order to get the criminal to jail.
Jessica nodded. She wasn’t really hearing the doctor. She was thinking about her career, about her possibilities now that she had been through something that horrible. She felt physically ill, disgusted and just tired. But something in her brain made her think that it wasn’t the end or something like that. She felt that there was more to her story than just that. She made sure the doctor knew she was going to get out of that hospital bed soon in order to achiever her goals, by any means necessary.
Sure enough, she started writing songs the moment she was able to leave the hospital. Jessica closed her room door and did not come out of there for a whole week. Her mother would bring her food and she would often tear up but not say a word. Her father stood by the doorframe and watched her, absolutely stunned that she could be that active after what had happened. It didn’t seem right, but at the same time, Jessica seemed to be in her element writing in silence.
Three songs came out of those writing sessions. She grabbed her video camera and recorded three different videos, which she uploaded to YouTube on the same day. She sang on them about what had happened, about how she felt and about what was going through her head.
Her music was a success. Millions of viewers saw the videos and shared them in less than a week. Soon enough, a recording label contacted her and an album was planned to be released within the year. And Anna… She never saw her again. She couldn’t forgive her.