Down the Dark Steps

Mr Cionte will never let me put this in, but what's a Black Trail for?

Some days the weirdest nothing can make me cry.

Today my music teacher was showing us how everything depends on the conductor. She showed us Leonard Bernstein on YouTube, the six big notes at the end of the Sibelius 5th, Es-Dur, which I think means 'The Enduring,' and ninety players watching his every breath, looking back and forth from him to their drum or piccolo or French horn or whatever.

My father was suspicious of music in movies, on the soundtrack, unless the people in the movie could hear it too, or they were playing it. He called it Mrs Butterworth, the syrup. Everything tastes great swimming in Mrs Butterworth. How is that better than a laughtrack? But this OK, the Sibelius. I heard it today and I can still hear it, and now I have a chapter with music and a soundtrack!

All the kids were laughing. I was laughing too, how Leonard Bernstein pulls those six big notes out of the sky with just that little white stick, like a magician.

But then I saw his cheeks were wet down in the crags. I saw how old he was. I worried for him, standing up so long while everyone else was sitting. His white hair was huge but thin. It blew around his head like the clouds coming off Mount Everest. Yeah, it was funny but I was crying too, along with him. He knows he will never play these six big notes again. I couldn't look at anyone.

That's when you see you might be different from the other kids, maybe from what happened to you. Maybe I was thinking of my father. His Rachmaninoff in the basement, and maybe Sibelius, I don't know but probably. I could already hear it when I was going down to him, down the dark steps, towards the door at the bottom with light coming out.

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