A few weeks ago I wrote a writespiration based on ‘your first time’ this week I’m flipping it on its head and asking you to write about the last time you did something.
I’m not a quitter. Sure, I’ve tried things, decided I didn’t like them and stopped. But rarely do I start something with the intention of seeing it through to completion and then quit. It’s not in my nature. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had a few last times. All the last times I’ve experienced were raw with emotion. If I made it far enough to have a last time, then I’d stuck at whatever it was I was doing – which means it’s was in my life for a long time.
I can remember one last time vividly. So rather than a story this week you have an anecdote: I played the cello for 7 years when I was at school, I adored it. Adored the way the strings pressed into my fingertips leaving marks for hours. I loved the way I could furiously whip the bow back and forth and how I could pluck and pull at the strings to form a symphony of notes. I could get completely lost playing the cello. It took me to magical places. But, playing in front of people was a no no. I only just managed to play in front of my tutor and do the occasional family recital, but really I played selfishly. For the love of it and for my own selfish enjoyment.
But one of the caveats of playing an instrument once you got to high school, was a requirement to play in the school orchestra. I hate rules, and hate playing in front of people even more. I was not under any circumstances going to play in the orchestra. The head of music and I were at a standoff. My point was that I’d played the cello long before I came to high school, so why should the rule apply. He was insistent he could differentiate.
The stand off lasted a year. I made it through year 9 ducking and diving the music teacher, avoiding him at all costs, and most definitely not giving up my lunch break to play in the orchestra. The thing is, I read music weirdly (surprise!). So I wasn’t able to just look at a new piece of music and play instantly, not like the others in the orchestra. They could play by ear or magically strum a new piece of music for the first time note and beat perfect.
One session at lunch (after I was forced to attend orchestra) the music teacher humiliated me because I missed some notes and couldn’t keep up with a brand new piece of music like the rest of the students. He singled me out. I don’t remember his exact words – but I remember being humiliated.
At the end of lunch I pulled him to one side. I said, “I’m not playing in your lunch orchestra.” He said I was.
“I’m bloody not…” I spat.
“Listen Sacha, I’ve had enough of this, if you don’t play in the orchestra I will ban you from having cello lessons. It’s your choice.”
So I let go of the cello watched him fumble to catch it and walked out of the music room.
That was the last time I played. ?
It takes the brightest sun to create the darkest shadow
The white light of fission burns the retina
Plunging us into the deepest dark of blindness
You are the brightest light in my world
Yet you burn our love
And call me to the darkest place
Love is blind and love blinds
Light and dark; love and hate
The one cannot be without the other.
When loves course is smooth, no shadows show
But admit a crease of uncertainty,
Allow a wrinkle of doubt
And festering hate has a dark shadow
Within which to grow
Sarah wrote this profound piece:
Dark? The hollow blackness that nestles deep inside? I am carved, well and truly—my shell hides the cold. I am empty. Nothing resides within. My screams echo in this kind of darkness.
Light? The brightness I desperately try to unearth? I see rays filtering through ruins—the neglected remains of myself. I shrink away. Terrible things emerge. This kind of light illuminates the ugliness.
I must choose.