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All I Seek

Under the spotlight scrutinized by hundreds
Thousands
Maybe even a million and two,
The expectation level to perform is higher than ever.
“Don’t let them down” I tell myself.
“Don’t mess up” I command my calloused, aching fingers.
“Please accept me for who I am” a tiny voice in my head whispers so quietly
Even a ghost would struggle to make out the words.
But finally, it’s over.
All smiles in the audience, save one, reveal my great triumph as a young Juilliard star.
An almost flawless performance in my eyes,
But unfortunately, I don’t share the same opinion as the small pointed Japanese woman at my house.
“Your G sharp too sharp! Shorter staccatos in Vivace section of Sarasate!
Need more practice before recital tomorrow.”
But how can I practice any more than I already am?
Three hours a day is ample practice time for a fifteen year old, right?
I argue back, but I always get the same response back:
“You Pre-Juilliard Artist because you young and you good.
Aim for better.”
It’s sickly religious how she preaches that one line to me
Day in and day out—
But how can I possibly be better than my best?
How can I make her proud of me?
Perfection.
Perfection.
Perfection.
Once again, I tuck the Stradivarius beneath my chin where my violin bruise is a sickly blackened purple
I curl my calloused fingers around the neck of the violin ready to practice until…
Until…
Who cares anymore?
Perfection is all I seek yet I’ll never reach it.
I’d love to have a break from the hundreds of hours of practicing and rehearsing,
But I’d also love to have my mother’s approval that I’m good enough.





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