The bell jingles as a little girl enters the store. The cold and icy temperature of the shop is shockingly different from the scorching sun outside on that hot August day. The blasting air condition sends goosebumps up the girl’s arms and legs covering her entire body. She is wearing small jean shorts and a summery blouse covered with tiny, little flowers. Her gray high top converse are battered and worn from all the days of running and playing.
With her mother and grandmother behind her, she takes a few more steps into the store. Every wall is covered with instruments. Cellos in one area, violins in another. Bases, violas, clarinets and trumpets. There are dark, earthy, oak wood instruments, and shiny, brassy, ones. New instruments that are glossy and in perfect condition, and ancient instruments that have dents, scratches, and look like a pair of vintage, distressed jeans. As the little girl soaks up the environment around her, the mother begins to talk to an employee. She says that they are here to find a bigger violin for her daughter who has started playing a year or so ago. With that information, the employee assesses the girl’s size and starts looking for different violins to try.
With each stroke of the bow against the metal strings, the little girl delved into the sound and history of each violin. The first violin she tried was dark, heavy, and thick. It sounded like the gentle growling of a large, scary, guard dog, or the rumble of a pickup truck searching for the spark to connect and ignite. The second violin she tried was airy, bright, and glossy. Like a bright summer day or a girl frolicking in a field of yellow flowers.
After trying dozens of violins and a few hours later, the little girl has finally found her next violin. She packs up the bow, rosin, and violin, zips the case and carries it out the door to the car. Fifteen minutes later she arrives back at her grandparents’ house. The brilliant green grass is perfectly mowed and the smell of purple hydrangeas carries through the soft breeze. This was the little girl’s favorite time of year at her grandparents’ house. The house smelled like warm wood and old linens, and the teal blue door fit perfectly into the summer aesthetic.
The little girl hopped out of the car with her mother and grandmother. She grabbed her brand new violin from the trunk, and sprinted through the yard to the door. She swung the door open to find her grandfather sitting at the table eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “Come on!”, she screams excitedly. Her grandfather slowly stands up from the chair. He is wearing a plaid, slightly oversized button down shirt. The front pocket of the shirt hangs low from the miscellaneous papers and reading glasses that are stored there. He follows the little girl into the family room and watches as she whips out her new violin. The grandfather does the same, except that his violin is almost twenty years old. Once they are all set up, once they are both in a rest position with their bows against the string. They begin to play in unison.
Staring at the grave, surrounded by dozens of people dressed in black, on a cloudy, cold, November afternoon, the girl snaps back to reality.