Band Practice

Band Practice

Band Practice 1920 1440 Ashley Jones

Behind me, an array of trumpets blew out of tune. Saxophones squealed and clarinets hummed in disarray. The clicking sounds of cases, opened by calloused hands, filled the classroom. Warm air blew through polished flutes and they whistled. My toes, tucked in my navy Vans, shifted and wiggled.

My alto sax rested in my case and waited for me, silent. I leaned up against the tall doorway of the practice room. Michael stood by the room’s sink with his back to me and washed the mouthpiece of his trumpet with carefulness. The rushing water poured over the silver and made a whooshing noise. I spoke over the sound.

“What do you think about the new pieces we’re learning?”

He answered back, “I don’t know,” and, after a moment, he shrugged, “I think they’re fine.”

His words were distant like his mind was somewhere else. He turned the faucet off and the handle squeaked.

“Yeah, this set is harder than usual.” I continued on and rambled about the new sheets of music our band teacher, Mr. Benny, forced upon us.

In the middle of this, I remembered Michael had something to say. He mentioned a desire to talk earlier in the day before third period.

I sighed. “Michael. You wanted to tell me something. What did you want to say?”

I asked him this quietly and my words carried. He still faced the sink. His hands moved methodically over his cleansed mouth piece with a cloth. The silence in the room felt thicker than the brass which made up his trumpet. His instrument and mine continued to wait patiently for us in their velvet cases as we stood there together.

“Michael…?” I uttered quietly.

“I like you,” he spoke softly still facing the sink.

Those three words rolled through the air like sweet notes in a symphony. I “liked” Michael too. Would I add to the music he played for me by confessing this secret?

“I like you too,” I admitted. As I breathed, those three words added to the cacophony of emotions which pulsed through me like a rapid tempo where your foot can hardly tap. Michael turned around and faced me. He smiled and his expression was a melody. Warmth spread across my cheeks and I blushed.

We stayed quiet as we stumbled to our rows. When I took up my instrument and looked at the music sheet in front of me, I tried to focus. Michael sat several rows behind me with the rest of the trumpet players. I wondered what he thought in the moment. As the band warmed up, I listened to the sound of my heart which beat like a metronome. To this sweet beat, I replayed those three words in my head like lyrics to a favorite song.

Header photograph © John Felago.

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