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My Violin

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I always wondered when it was going to be my turn. All I wanted was to be able to live a normal life and go to school and be like the other kids. I wanted to be able to run around on the playground at recess and study and learn new things. School was too far away from my house though and the buses didn’t run where I lived. I couldn’t walk there because my neighborhood wasn’t very safe, especially in the early morning when it’s still dark outside. My mom home schooled my brother and I, but it wasn’t nearly as good as actually going and learning everything at school. Most of all though I just wanted my mom to find a job somewhere so I wouldn’t have to go out every night in search of food somebody had carelessly thrown out or go around and beg for money.

I lived with my family in an old, run down trailer in Texas right by the border of Mexico. I’ve crossed the border before and seen kids who have it even worse than I do and I’m very thankful I at least have a place to sleep at night. The children there walk around in the blistering sun all day selling things like gum or jewelry their families had made. I’ve seen children out there roaming the streets begging that looked as little as three years old. That’s kind of how my family makes a little bit of income too though. My mom cooks different types of food whenever she has money for materials and my brother Toby has a part time job at a mechanic’s shop right down the street. By part time I mean only two hours a day, and it’s just to help them clean the place up. My dad passed away when I was three and my mom hasn’t been able to find a job since. To help my family earn money, I would go around at night to different restaurants with outdoor eating areas and play my violin.

I’ve been playing violin since I was about six. Music has always been a big part of my life though. When you don’t have television or Internet and the neighborhood you live in isn’t the safest, music is a way to escape from the tiring, monotonous life you have. At least it is for me. My violin comes with me almost everywhere because I’m too afraid it is going to get stolen. One day as I was walking through town carrying it, I sat down on the curb and began to play. Slowly a few people gathered around me and a few even gave me a couple dollars when I was done. Ever since I realized that playing my violin could help my family get money, I haven’t stopped playing.

One night when I was playing for some customers at the local pizza place, a girl about the same age as I was walked up to me. She listened to me play until I was finished and then she just looked at me for a while. I was about to walk away and play again when she stopped me. She introduced herself as Melissa and asked me where my mother was. I explained to her why I was there and she looked confused. She said she had never met another kid who didn’t go to school. We got to talking and she told me that she would ask her mom if she could come back to the restaurant again this weekend when her cousins came over so I could meet them. After she left I ran home to tell my mom. I had never really had a real friend before, especially one that was my age. I couldn’t wait until that weekend.

The rest of the week dragged on for what felt like forever. I went to the same restaurant every night and played my violin and went back home. When Saturday finally came, I was so excited. I ran down to the restaurant that night and rushed in the doors. I sat down with Melissa and her family. They all actually seemed to like me! I had so much fun and even made friends with one of the girls.

After her cousins left and it was just me, Melissa, and her parents, Melissa came up to me and asked me if I wanted to come back to her house and stay the night. I had never spent the night at anybody’s house before. Her parents drove me back to my trailer in their car, another luxury I never had the chance to experience, and I grabbed a few shirts and my pillow.

When we got back to Melissa’s house, her parents made sure that everything was neat and picked up and said they wanted me to feel like I was right at home. Of course, this was about one hundred times better than my actual home.

We stayed up almost all night just talking and laughing. We watched TV and she showed me all of her favorite shows. We played a ton of games on her computer and we got to eat more snack food than I had ever seen at one time. By the end of the night, Melissa and I had talked about almost anything you could imagine. She told me all about what school was like as I sat and listened to her in awe by all of her lunchtime and playground stories. I was surprised though, there was a lot about school that she didn’t seem to enjoy. She said that homework was the worst thing about it. I didn’t understand that. I told her that I would love to have homework to do. My mom home schooled me, but we never really had that much work to do.

We fell asleep at a really early hour of the morning and heard her parents coming downstairs just a little while after that. Her mom cooked us fluffy chocolate chip pancakes topped with whipped cream and maple syrup. It was one of the best tasting things I had ever eaten. She started talking to me over breakfast and asked me how I liked where I lived. I told her it was alright, but I wished my mom could find a job or that my brother and I could go to school. As we kept talking, she told me that her husband was the superintendent of the school that Melissa attended. She told me that she could have him talk to my mom and if she agreed, they would be willing to drive over and pick up me and my brother in the mornings and we could go to school with Melissa. I was overly excited.

My mom, of course, agreed to let us go. From that day on, my life was so much different. I felt like I actually had a chance to have a better life and someday maybe I could even help my mother more than I was. I woke up every morning bright and early and ran outside to get picked up by Melissa’s parents. On the way to school we would talk, and laugh, and listen to the radio. School was definitely the best thing I had ever experienced. I got to be with kids my own age and I learned so much more than I knew before. I finally got to go play with the other kids on the playground at recess, too.

Melissa and I became best friends. We did everything together. Her and her family made a huge impact on my life. I didn’t think that I would ever have the kind of opportunities that I have now. I even found a job at the bookstore downtown. I still play my violin, but it’s not to make money anymore. I just play it and think about the hard times I've been through and all the better times that are heading my way.





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