Looking back, I see that I must have driven my parents crazy over the three days between that lesson and my next. You see, unlike so many beginners since the beginning of time, I actually practised - a lot. Partly because I didn't have anything else to do, and partly because I was determined that I wasn't going to hang about at the scratchy dying-cat stage for much longer. Unfortunately, like all beginners, ever, I was at that scratchy dying-cat stage and so they were forced to put up with me.
Well, it was only for two days. By the third I managed not to squeak all of the time. Four hours practice a day can do that to you. Many people, especially those that have been a beginner violinist at some point in their life, will be shocked to hear that that's how much I played, but you don't know what it's like to be me. I mean, I don't go to school, so I've got a whole lot of time on my hands, and I was fifteen when I started so I wanted to get better quickly. It makes sense when you look at it like that, doesn't it?
When Mum came home on the first day, since she'd been at work again, she heard me playing and couldn't believe it was me. I'd worked out what my fingers were meant to do and was experimenting, intrigued to realise that the different pitches were just made by putting a finger down. It was fascinating, and I couldn't help but wonder how it worked, until I discovered the answer about an hour later.
"That's sounding great," she told me. I didn't believe her. I could play four notes on each string. Open, First finger, Second finger, Third finger. Fourth finger was possible, I knew, but it was a little tricky to use and I was ignoring it for the time being.
On the second day, Dad rang us up from the hospital. I told him that I was learning to play the violin and he was very pleased, but his news wasn't quite so good. He wasn't going to be coming home for a couple of weeks at least, since they'd discovered that he had a blood leakage inside his lungs from the accident and they were going to have to operate. "It's quite possible they're mistaken, but they're worried that I might have brain damage," he confided in us, and I almost went into shock.
"But - what does that mean for your future? And what made them think that anyway?" I wasn't letting Mum near the phone. She was getting irritated.
"Calm down. It's just because when they ask me questions I find it difficult to answer, like mental maths and stuff. They do it to check that your brain is still working fine and I'm having a few difficulties. But don't worry, we're pretty sure it will pass." Always the optimist, my father.
On the third day I managed to master the fourth finger and was soon happily practising scales, again something that will shock other violinists, who will remember the hours their teacher had to spend nagging them to practise their scales even when they didn't have an exam. Mum had taken the day off work and every now and again would come in to listen to me play, but I didn't mind as long as she told me she was there. When she didn't, I was often frightened by her comments, which seemed to come from nowhere.
My fingers were sore, so I put the violin away. "You're doing really well," she told me, and now I started to believe it. I could feel something different. Yes, it felt like I was better. It felt like I knew what I was doing, so there was no need to worry. And I was convinced that when I went to my lesson on Friday I would blow Anna away with my new found skills. Or at least, I would try ...