"As every song has it's own introduction, so does our story.
We will be a melody that never ends."
There is a voice.
A sound, calling out to you. It silences the whole world, it abstracts everything else. All things existent in your fleeting eyes, will turn nonexistent and mundane in your heart when it happens.
It heals you. It cuts you. It may build or destroy you. But regardless, it will make you whole.
You will hear it. You will know it.
You are meant to hear it.
The only thing you have to do is to listen.
But there are some people who could do more than that. They do more than just listen. They understand. You understand.
So when your soul speaks, you write the words and make the melodies. When you do such, you're not the one who listens. You will be listened to. Somehow you're not just meant to hear something, but maybe somewhere, someone is meant to hear you.
Let yourself be heard.
I sat still on my chair and watched patiently as the honorary guest for tonight's grand awards ceremony gave his final remarks. We were just minutes away from the announcement of this year's SeoulMaker Champion, and everyone in the huge hall, including me, were waiting with clenched fists, crossed fingers and bated breaths. It was a long night me and my other contenders have been through; after the long and tedious weeks of preliminaries and semi-competitions, there were now only eight of us left for the grand finals. Eight among the fifty hopefuls who now had the opportunity of a lifetime at arm's length.
I looked to my left and right and saw the other aspiring songwriters seated on the front row, fidgeting their thumbs together or a piece of their clothing, watching eagerly as co-organizers stepped onstage with a wooden plaque embellished with gold and silver, and a huge, rectangular cheque that was the size of an average seven-year old kid being held up by two other men. On it was written the cash prize's amount; I could never contain the zeroes which filled up most of the space on the blank.
"Daebak," The word just came out on its own from my mouth.
I never knew SeoulMaker was this grand as a songwriting contest; unlike the regular songwriting competitions held in the middle of the park or at the mall's atrium, the organizers and producers thought of renting out a theater for the grand night. It was spectacular in its grandeur, and I bet they were looking for a great song this year, just by seeing the production expenses. Slightly intimidated by the prize being held right in front of me, I had to force myself to look to my left and see one of my fellow songwriters taking out prayer beads and murmuring chants with clasped hands.
He must really want the prize so much. The pressure was tough and crushing in all angles. Everyone was tense.
This was it.
SeoulMaker is an annual songwriting competition for aspiring musicians and composers, and it had already existed in the country for ten years. It originated in, well, Seoul: the place where its founder had made music althroughout his life.
This whole grand event was known for being the only songwriting competition which does not commercialize music, but instead stresses on augmenting the winner's skill by giving him or her a music college grant paid in full. Although they would showcase your song, they were not (and never was) the profit-minded institution. I only heard about SeoulMaker half a decade ago, but I never attempted to join in those years long gone. I hesitated maybe because I was too young then to be joining or writing songs, or maybe I just wasn't strong enough to let myself be heard by the jury, or by the founder of the whole peppy contest. After years of contemplating, and after countless days of writing secret songs that normally would end up forgotten in my spare notebooks, I decided to step in as soon as summer started.
One good thing about this competition, as well as the person who founded and organized this event, was that it didn't focus on pushing artists to stardom and commercial music. It fit me; I hated the spotlight and prefer to get praise and recognition in the broader sun. They wanted to produce fresh, homegrown melodies from independent artists and musicians, and I personally think that was one of the best things aspiring songwriters and musicians could ever benefit and learn from. Music was never for money, if there was one thing I learned from the words of SeoulMaker's founder, it is that you make music for the sake of loving music.
To let yourself be heard.
It was his words that lured me to join; but I still thought what he said was true. Everything he would say imprints in me mysteriously, and finds its way to become true and relevant in my life, as if I was always meant to hear every word.
I admired that about him: the man who had just finished saying his encouraging words to the contestants. Once he finished speaking, he stood up boldly on stage in his most casual--yet seemingly stylish getup, along with the other people whom I assumed were part of the production team. One could never take his or her gaze off him. Besides his handsome looks, he was wearing a formal-casual attire, with his white v-neck underneath a dark-colored blazer. He wore a pair of ripped jeans and white sneakers, a perfect balance of rugged and dapper. He definitely looked young, but as I stared at him while he graced the crowd with a smile, it occurred to me how younger he was back then. How old was he now, thirty-five? Or probably a few years older than that. I don't know, really, but he doesn't look like he has aged a bit with his fair skin.
Ever-charming, I thought. I blinked when I realized I had been eyeing him the whole time the moment he was looking at each of the contenders seated at the frontmost row. As his eyes slowly traveled to the row of contestants, and then briefly towards me, my hand involuntarily reached for the pendant of my necklace.
"A big round of applause for our special guest for tonig