It has now been twenty-five days since my orchestra has played.
I have sat in this tree for far too long, but something inside me tells me that this boy needs my attention more than music does. Nothing has ever spoken to me from the inside. I don’t speak outside of my own mind, because there is nothing for me to say that comes from inside. Mother worries that I don’t have friends because of this, because of my lack of speech and my burden of quiet.
Perhaps it is time to share my burden with the boy, who is loud without quiet at all. Though I am content with imbalance, I need to help this boy who is not.
“You’re scaring the conductor,” I say, just barely above a whisper. The boy looks around, as though expecting someone to be in his backyard, and I raise my voice to repeat what I said. “You are scaring the conductor. Stop shaking him.”
Walking closer to the fence in a hesitant manner, the boy squints up at me. “Who the hell are you?”
“Your neighbor,” I answer shortly “Now stop shaking the conductor. You’re scaring him an awful lot.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Your orchestra.” I sigh, tempted to jump down from the weeping willow’s branch, but aware that I have not left my own orchestra in years. I wouldn’t want them getting the wrong idea. “Your backyard. The grass and the wind and the branches of the trees. The pebbles and the rain and the pattern of your feet.”
“I’m going to go inside now,” The boy says, backing away slowly.
“No, wait!” I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and jump down from the branch of my tree, landing in his backyard. I wince as my ankle bounces, then open my eyes. The boy is frozen, his violin hair falling into his eyes. I lean kneel down and pluck a blade of grass, whispering an apology to my orchestra for leaving.
Holding it in my fingers, I blow through my hands. “Just listen.”
As the whistle reaches his ears, the tension in his face folds like music stands after a concert.
“If you listen, there are more sounds just like this.” I hold out the blade of grass then open my arms wide, throwing my head back and closing my eyes.
I crack my eyes open to find the boy in the same pose as me, a smile parting his lips. Knowing peace is rare for most and should not be disrupted, I close my eyes again. As his orchestra finally blares a tune, we share a moment of quiet and bliss.