The Other Side of the Music

I didn’t want people to touch me. They thought it was okay to pick me up and scratch me with horse hairs! It was the worst feeling in the world, and I have been through a lot. But the odd thing is, I miss it, I truly do. The days of being a played viola were like no other. And boy was Francesca a good violist! You probably hear it all the time from your parents to appreciate what you have, blah blah blah. But it is the truth. This longing that I have to be played again is like the attraction of the earth to the sun.
I am sorry, I’m just rambling. Let me introduce myself more formally. I don’t have a name, but I can go by viola. I can’t say I came from a good family partly because I don’t know them and partly because according to the viola crafter, I am a low quality of wood. “Strictly for beginners,” he used to say.
Other violas on the shelves would tease me. So I spent most of my time hanging out with more open minded instruments like the violins. They eventually got sold, in fact everyone got sold, everyone but me. The shop keeper went out of business and I went on sale for 50% off. I was so worthless that he decided just to give me to some girl on the street. I was worth nothing, not even a dime! The girl, Francesca was delighted with the arrangement. She played me all the time.
In the beginning whenever she tried to play, I made sure it was the worst possible noise I could muster from my wiry strings. But she had more persistence then anyone I have ever known. Pretty soon it got to the point where I just had to give in and let her play. At the time, I would have hated to admit it, but I started not minding her playing. It felt nice to be so appreciated and make someone else happy; it was something I had never done before. As time went by she got better and better and I got more lighthearted about the whole situation. Her parents had just gotten laid off so it was out of the question to buy a new and better quality viola. I felt safe for the time being. But my ominous past of bad luck would not let me rest for long.
Francesca’s music teacher found out about her “musical gift”. She lent her one of her own violas. The first time I saw that thing, I honestly did not know what to think. So many emotions came washing through that I just stared at it. As quickly as I came into her life I was shut out. Someone who you thought was your friend can just dump you like you never existed. That didn’t seem right to me, I must have just been blowing things out of proportion. Of course if I got a new toy I would be happy to play with it. She would remember me after the excitement set in, at least I hoped so. An important thing to know in life is that people who you think you know can sometimes morph into a different being all together. She became a much more confident and dedicated musician. Francesca would not fool around and try to tune the new viola like she experimented on me, nor would she just throw it back in the case. This new viola got treated like royalty. She wiped it down every night, re-moistened its dampener and loosened the bow.
So more time passed and I was buried in the closet with all the other old and forgotten things in the house. All the free time really gave me a chance to reflect on my life. I used to be such a conceited little instrument. It hurt to think that I had once been so reluctant to let her play me, but now that is all I wanted and could not stop thinking about. What if I had not been so stubborn, would she have thought playing the viola was too easy and given up? It was my one hope that I had done something right in my life of blunders. That is when I realized that for the first time I was caring about someone else. I had never known someone so well as to be concerned about their well being. It was an odd feeling, something a life in a music store could not have prepared me for.
Days dragged on and nothing new ever occurred, until one particularly musty Saturday afternoon. I had overheard Francesca’s father talking about moving to an apartment in a cheaper complex for a few weeks now. I guess they finally got the chance to move and jumped on the opportunity.
Later that afternoon, the closet door was yanked open and things were tossed in all different directions. Whatever box was not full, something quickly filled the space. The boxes had different labels on them. One said “Francesca’s things” others said “Peter’s things” some said “Helen’s things” and yet others said “donate”. I unfortunately ended up in the “donate” box.
It was like being given away for free again, except this time I was not even an option of being put up for 50% off. I had been through this once before and was not expecting it again. If I had tears to cry they would have been streaming down.
I was put into a car with other boxes on top of mine. The pressure was beginning to get to my strings, I was hoping they would pop and make a loud enough noise that Francesca would realize she had put me in the wrong box. I would take any amount of physical pain for her to just remember me.
We arrived at the destination much too quickly. I thought maybe we had gone back to the house so they could double check the donation boxes. But the multitude of “thank you’s” from some unknown lady confirmed that we had not gone back. Somehow I did not quite catch the part when they mentioned where I was going. I just kept thinking of how Francesca's face was glowing when she first saw me. Now she was the one giving me away. Not her mother, not her father, but Francesca herself handed me over.
The next few years I spent travelling with a symphony group. Sounds great, but the professionals did not actually play me. I was a toy for children to try playing for the first time. I must have been with them for about 20 years travelling all around America. The group eventually started breaking up and the members began retiring. This did not affect me too much, I had abnegated myself the pleasure of making any personal connections since Francesca, and I could do without the constant traveling. I honestly stopped caring about where I went next. My self-esteem had shrunk so low that I would not have been surprised if I ended up in a dumpster one of those days.
It was not a dumpster where I landed next, but rather an antique shop. The flute, hand held drum, and I who had been toys were now so old that we were considered antiques. The antique shop was a very pleasant place to be. I expected everyone there to have a dull personality. They were actually quite friendly. Many of the items had such extravagant stories to tell about their past and how they ended up in the shop. The lady who ran the shop was such a nice person that her mood emanated from her to the rest of the store.
After a few months of living in the antique shop, I grew accustom to the place. I started to accept it as my final destination in life, after all what other use could I be to anyone now? The shop was not a particularly busy place. There were some days when no costumers came at all. But once again I was wrong in predicting the outcome of my future.
It was an average April day when a family walked in the store. The owner had just dusted everyone yesterday so there was an air of anticipation that someone might get sold. Around midday the bell above the entrance gave out a soft jingle and two people walked in, a father and little girl.
Something in me stopped when I saw that girl. No, it was not Francesca, she had grown up, but the resemblance was remarkable. Yes, it was definitely her daughter, I could tell those ivy green eyes anywhere.
The best part of the day was that I was the one who got sold. Emily’s eyes light up from across the store when she saw me. You know, that is the funny thing about life, it is a constant cycle.





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joanne said...
Oct. 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I thought u had to fill in each star working from one on up-but it stopped at just one--and couldn't fix it.  I called up the company and they said they couldn't correct it. They need to give better directions on how to do their rating system!!  I wanted to give it 5 stars +.  It was a very upbeat, inspirational story.  

LOVED it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I

 
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