Short stories archive

“a lesson in… music”

“a lesson in… music”

At school I was given a choice, except it was worded to make me not have any choice at all.

“Steven, you have got through the auditions and you can play either the flute or the trombone.”

Excellent I thought and was about to choose the flute when the teacher continued.

“Do you know Jody?” I looked at girl standing a little away from me. She wasn’t one of my active bullies but she liked to watch. I didn’t like her. I nodded. “Well, she can only play the flute. Shame isn’t it.” I nodded again. “Think about which you would like to play over lunch.” And with that she was gone.

Jody marched over. “I want to play the flute.”

I smiled.

She leant in invading my space and making me wince. She appeared glad about that small weakness. “Let me have the flute and you can play the trombone and I won’t bother you again.”

I looked at her and weighed up my options. Finally I walked away with her and her friends laughing.

I chose the trombone, and played it throughout the high school. I even added the French horn to my repertoire. Don’t get me wrong I’m not great at playing either instrument but I have continued and I have fun playing. Jody only played for two months, but true to her word she never laid a finger on me and although she didn’t help she would walk away. I was grateful for her missing laughter.

The two instruments I learnt meant that by the time I left high school I could read both treble and bass clef music. So when I had time on my hands in my late twenties I got the phone book out and looked up music teachers. I can now play the flute and I have my own. I admit that sometimes it isn’t the most delightful sound but I have got the skill to hold my own during the slow songs at least. Sometimes as I pick up my flute for a bit of a blast I wonder if Jody still plays, but I have no idea where she is or what she is doing. So I shrug, not really caring, and begin the first bars of Edelweiss.

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