I fiddled with my seatbelt as Mich pulled out of the tight parking space. The streetlights flickered, causing the near empty street to take on an orange glow.
Mich had found this cozy parking slot someways past her campus, but the main road was not as pleasant. When we turned the corner, we found ourselves caught in a wide net of cars, all too eager for the stoplight to turn green.
“I don’t know what exactly I like about it,” I said, fixing my eyes on the dashboard, and dropping my hands to my lap. I bit my lip and tried to ignore the boys’ animated conversation in the backseat. “I just find the violin enchanting.” I gave her a quick glance in an attempt to read her expression.
She held the steering wheel lightly, listening intently even as she drove. “Well, you never know, maybe God’s put that desire in you for a reason.”
For what purpose He had done so (whether or not He had done so still proves a mystery to me) was beyond me. Too many nights had I laid under the covers pondering Mich’s statement. I wondered whether my motivation was simply a fleeting fancy. Perhaps I had romanticized the idea of the task in my head, choosing to ignore the difficulties of learning an instrument at such a late age. Perhaps my attempt at the violin was a fool’s endeavor, even when pursued merely as a hobby. Perhaps I'd been unduly influenced by Sherlock Holmes, who, unlike myself, was a genius of sorts.
Despite my reservations, the itch to produce an illustrious melody did not fade. In fact, I scoured the internet, searching for violin teachers in a desperate attempt to turn my dream into a reality.
Three nights ago, I asked Dad about it right before he left the house.
“Why don’t you just learn how to play the harmonica?” he replied candidly. My brother threw his head back in laughter. I threw my hands into the air. That wasn’t a proper answer.
I’ve lived with Dad for almost nineteen years, but there are still times when I can’t distinguish his tone. I hoped he was joking.
Dad poked his head into my room later that night, commanding me to go to bed. I jumped at the opportunity.
“Dad, about the violin lessons…”
“Yeah?” he feigned ignorance. I silently prayed for a miracle.
“Will you allow me to go through with it?”
I examined Dad’s face in the dark.
He wrinkled his features, squinting at me. “You’re going to disturb the whole house with your violin?”
“I won’t play at night,” I offered.
For a moment, he winced, and I was certain he would say no. I did, after all, posses a fickle mind, subject to strange whims and urges. I resigned myself to my fate. Then, he turned thoughtful.
“If you can’t play something decent within a month, then forget about continuing.”
My spirit soared. Dad had given his implied permission! There was still the matter of the fine print, but it was a necessary brushstroke in the greater masterpiece. He only wanted decent progress, as any parent would. Whether or not I could fulfill his condition, I would see when the time came.
That time would come at precisely ten o’clock tomorrow.
I can hardly contain myself.