Drunk one night I was reminded that I had a birthday coming up
And when asked what I wanted the words “a violin” slurred from between teeth and lips
I hadn’t played the violin in the twenty six years
Yet there I was
Scratching and sawing and screeching and cursing with a sixty dollar violin tucked under my chin
My hand holding the bow cramps with shooting pain after about a minute and a half, but I play for five more before setting the damn thing down
They say the violin takes a lifetime to learn
And I put it away years before some of you were even born
And, at eight, I had showed a lot of promise at the instrument
I had enjoyed playing it
I’m still not quite sure why I quit pulling it out of the closet and slowly and sorrowfully carving out the notes of my life across its strings
But I had
And now when I get lonely, or bored, nostalgic, or just optimistic
You will hear the sounds of a slowly strangled cat emerge from my apartment
Screaming at me of what happens when one quits
Screeching spite into my face at the decision of a child made over two decades ago
Perhaps I will tighten my resolve in the same manner and with the same frequency with which I tighten the strings on a cheap violin
Perhaps I will spend the next twenty six years learning to play it, perhaps I will gift it to my nephew when he turns seven
There is always the chance, however, that I will let it gather dust propped in the corner of my room
To be taken out of the case several times a year
So that it may scream at me of regret
While I grit my teeth and painfully play on in agreement


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