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When, after fifteen minutes, nobody else entered the room, Lili decided to continue ogling the instruments on stage, inspecting each and every one with a studious gaze. If she had to kill time by waiting, she might as well get the starstruck part out of the way first. In total, there were nine instruments set up on stage for the band's seven members. Two guitars, a bass guitar, a drum kit, a violin, a trumpet and a trombone, a xylophone and a piano were all visible from where Lili was standing, but she knew from past research that the band was probably hiding more on stage in nooks and crannies.

Six Things to a Cycle was based around the theory of obscurity, that assigning a personality to a musician or artist makes the work about them and not for the sake of art itself. Because of this, none of the band's seven members had come forward with their identities, choosing instead to wear masks on stage. Of course, this stance developed a personality itself, and fans of the band linked each member to the mask they wore most frequently on stage. For the members that chose to persue solo careers on the side, they continued with the persona they assumed on stage, using the same kind of mask. Of all the band's members, she was most excited to see Oni Mask, the band's lead guitarist, take the stage. She had always admired Oni Mask both as a solo musician and as a member of Six Things, and Lili had always wished she could learn the secret of their bowed guitar, how it got the tone that separated it from any sound she had ever heard. Tonight, she would see Oni Mask, on stage, right in front of her eyes. There her brilliant crimson guitar was, all seven strings reflecting glinting light off into the room, begging to be played. Lili could hardly wait any longer.

Just then, Lili heard footsteps behind her. This was the first new arrival to the room in several minutes, so Lili turned around to see who it was instantly. As foolish as it was, for a few moments she believed that maybe, just maybe, it was Oni Mask, choosing to strut onto stage from the audience door rather than with the rest of her band members. Hell, maybe it was the entire band making a statement by entering through the same entrance as the audience, a middle finger to the pedestal that fans place artists on, a reminder that both the artist and the audience are, at their core, just people.

Instead, a girl a little bit under Lili's height walked into the room, wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood flipped up over her head. Even through her endless fantasizing and theorizing on the efforts of the band to defy the common narrative of the music industry, Lili knew that they would never choose to walk in without their traditional disguises, not for any old show in the middle of nowhere. The girl's posture was bent over, a slight slouch, almost like she wasn't excited to be here. Through the few glimpses she got underneath the girl's hood, Lili was able to tell that the girl was around her age, was also Asian, and wore glasses. If it weren't for the flashes of blue hair dye that Lili caught under the girl's hood, she could see the possibility of a stranger being unable to tell the two apart.

"She must be into this kind of thing too," Lili thought, "She showed up alone, and most people my age aren't usually into avant-garde stuff, especially not music." Lili was never one to approach others, tending to take more of a passive role in social situations, waiting for others to come to her. Lili wasn't sure what she was able to read off of the other girl's face, but whatever it was, it wasn't going to say "Hello" any time soon. Lili remembered the feeling she had felt just moments earlier, a longing for company, a desire to share her first real concert with someone else, and focused it on the girl who had just entered the room. "Everyone else here is older than her and I, and/or has some kind of beverage in their hand," Lili observed, "I'd better keep her company."

So Lili made the first step towards the hooded girl, walking from her spot against the barrier that she had held so passionately. The closer she got, the smaller the girl seemed, both in her actual height and how she carried herself, and the more interested Lili got. Coincidentally, each passing step drew even further of a blank in Lili's mind over how to begin her conversation with the girl she had never met. Thankfully, this realization came before Lili walked into the more empty part of the floor, and Lili was able to switch her course so that it appeared more natural and less up front. Breathing a mental sigh of relief, she took mental inventory of how she looked.

Lili was wearing a Six Things to a Cycle T-Shirt, featuring the band's trademark Buddhist wheel of reincarnation wheel logo in the center of her chest, and black jeans, an outfit that counted as fancy for her. She had smoothed any stray ends down, wetting down her usually incessant bedhead, but apart from that had let her bobbed hair take its usual shape. Lili hoped that her appearance wasn't, for better or for worse, intimidating.

"Hey," Lili said, after walking over to beside the girl, completely unsure of whatever words would come out of her mouth next, "Is this your first show too? You look nervous." Lili betrayed a small nervous laugh, as a way to make herself look more unassuming. She just hoped that she wasn't making a huge mistake.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~



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Twin Infinitives · Memories from the Past