Hello, girls. You look so darling. Where is your mother? Mrs. Smith greets us with an understanding smile. She seems to welcome the opportunity to teach us and embraces us with the utmost of care. I love going to her apartment for lessons, recitals and snacks.
Shell be here at 7:20 with the juice. Erica answers confidently. I seldom answer questions if my sister is around, unless they were directed specifically to me. I particularly dislike answering questions about my family.
Erica and Mara, lets tune and practice the Mozart sonata. Thats the only piece Im worried about. You girls do such a nice job of practicing, but I know there are some hard passages, so lets run through it a few times. Mrs. Smith is most gracious in her recommendation. I understand perfectly that this practice session is for my benefit and my lack of musical development. My sister is becoming quite accomplished on the violin and increasingly intolerant of my inability to play and perform at her level. It is now unquestionably apparent that I am by far the lousier of the two.
I am a little shaky through the Mozart piece, but manage to play quietly through the difficult parts, the rationale being that if I mess up, at least it will be less noticeable, if at all.
Hello everyone. Ive got the juice. It sounds lovely. I could hear the girls practicing from the street. My mom is standing behind the screen door, obviously tired, but trying her best to be cheerful. She has her signature alert and distant look, which usually follows smoking a bunch of cigarettes and drinking a lot of coffee. She is wearing her Friday work clothes and smells of Aqua Net hair spray.
Hello, May. Weve been practicing and its going to be a lovely recital. Why dont you put the juice on the table with the snacks? Mrs. Smith and my mom seem to have an understanding; they both know that Erica and I cherish our violins.
The girls father is on a business trip, so he wont be joining us tonight. Hell be here next time. My mom is proficient at creating upstanding excuses for my dads absence to ensure that folks believe that we are a nice Japanese-American family. Mrs. Smith knows that my dad really isnt on business trips, but politely acknowledges the excuse. Erica shudders in disgust, rolls her eyes, and displays a look that says why dont you just tell everyone Daddy is getting drunk somewhere and you dont even know where. I quietly wait for the moment to pass, feeling completely uncomfortable and unable to do much about my moms lie, Ericas disdain and the unquestionable fact that my dad would not be attending our next recital or any other performance for that matter. I sometimes like the idea of both my mom and dad watching me play, but knowing that my dad would inevitably embarrass me makes me comfortable with his business trips. It does not matter that my mom knows nothing about music; she would never embarrass me in the same way as my father. I am strangely comforted by her lies.
Mrs. Smith welcomes the guests and I am poised to begin.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. He was a child prodigy and completed his first minuets at the age of 5 and his first symphony when he was 9. He died in 1791, having lived only 36 years. We will be playing the Sonata in D for violin and piano. Thank you. As I read verbatim from my notes, my voice is soft, timid and hurried. I quietly place the 3X5 index card behind the music on my stand.
One, two, three, four; one, two, three... Mrs. Smith is nice enough to count almost two entire measures for us. My sister begins at the appropriate pick-up. For some reason, I am fumbling with my bow and notice the bows on my socks are on the wrong sides of my ankles. I am slightly forlorn. I miss my entrance. I try to catch up but it is quickly evident that I have blown it. My unplanned improvisational harmony clearly has issues. Mrs. Smith stops the piano accompaniment.
Lets try that again. Girls, are we both ready? Mrs. Smith politely addresses Erica and me; the small audience laughs politely. I am utterly embarrassed. I know I am musically challenged, but I decide that I will not screw up again and risk Ericas glares turning into something more permanent.
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