Part Two

There is a new sound in my orchestra -- a truck that provides steady percussion. But the second piece they play doesn’t call for percussion, the second piece they play doesn’t need percussion. Why does the engine still hum?

I close my book and stand up. I grab a hold of a branch, warm to the touch in the spot I’ve rubbed raw from many days of climbing. Jumping and swinging up, I wrap my arms around the weeping willow conductor and peer through the droopy leaves.

Across the fence, a backyard has laid empty and lifeless for months. Everything is brown. The orchestra there is very quiet.

I squint and gently move a leaf out of my vision, mumbling an apology to the conductor, for interrupting the piece. At the moment, it is more important that I get the truck to quit ruining rehearsal. Stopping the piece for now seems like an especially good idea, because someone is listening.

He has hair like violin strings -- the nice, gold kind. His eyes are dead of music. They are the color of a flute in need of a polishing.

He’s kicking the orchestra in his backyard. The ground, with the grass that plays the violin. The rocks that roll like a mallet. The twin weeping willow, the near-lifeless conductor that only conducts his orchestra in a mezzo-piano fashion.

It’s painful to watch the boy be unappreciative of his orchestra. I’ve never seen someone who acts in such a staccato fashion. Even the greatest of pieces played by my orchestra, even the pieces played with the accompaniment of the thunder, don’t claim this intensity. My backyard has always been solemn.

Sitting against the tree trunk, up in the branch, I let the backyard lay quiet for a bit. Just until the truck quits interrupting, I tell myself, as I watch the boy below. Just until he starts listening to the music.

The End

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