4 Months and 140 Measures

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words

He would not bother trying to say it in music.”

– Gustav Mahler

There was always one thing I could count on. Then my best friend left and that one thing was ripped from my life. We would play music together: Mike playing the guitar, me following along with the cello. Whenever one of us was upset we would just get together and play. We didn’t talk about what we were feeling; our music expressed all of the emotions. We would play for as long as it took to feel better: whether it was minutes or hours we would be there for each other. In those few months after he left I felt so bad I bet I could have played for days. I deserve my hours of duets.

I guess that his leaving shouldn’t have made me so depressed, but he was the one thing I depended on. After one month of depression my parents finally realized that things weren’t going to get better and brought me to a therapist. I liked my therapist and thought for a little bit that he could become the person I could depend on. Then he left and moved to Texas. So I met with another one that worked with my dad’s office. He told me that since music was the one thing I had left I should compose a bar of music every time I feel any particularly strong emotions, whether they were sad or mad it didn’t matter.

Over the last two months I have composed eighty-nine bars of music with two parts: one part for cello and one part for guitar. That’s probably not what my therapist intended for me to compose, but I still want to believe Mike and I can play it together even if he does live six hundred miles away.

Three months since he left and it’s the first day of school. I took a bunch of music classes and even if Mike isn’t here, I can finally play the cello with other people. Wow, I wish my therapist could have heard me think that. The rumor is that there’s a new guitarist in my jazz class and she is better than Mike was. I’m not sure if I can believe that rumor. But in my jazz class I was proved wrong and I asked the new girl, April, to hang out after school. We didn’t play our instruments we just talked. We were very similar. She was also trying to start a new life. It’s just a bit easier for her to do that than me.

I went home after that afternoon and wrote fifty-one new bars of music. Not because I was sad or mad, because I was happy. I composed fifty-one bars and two parts of happy. After that night in all of my music the guitar part was to be played by April not Mike.

The next day I brought the music into school and asked April to play it with me at lunch. We played it. Not just the fifty-one bars, we played everything, all one hundred and forty bars of it. It was the most beautiful thing ever. I had never heard it all together. My emotions were the most beautiful thing ever. Who knew that one painful separation, two instruments, three months, one hundred forty measures, five hundred sixty beats, and my true emotions could get me to pure happiness.

Ry Walker
Age 13, Grade 8
Saint Ann’s School
Gold Key

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