Joined at the Heart · Mouths of Babes · Writers Write

Flipped Switch

“Mom, I have butterflies.”

“You’ll do fine. Just do what you practiced.”

Coco was the youngest musician in the warm up room. She watched a teenager in a tulle dress play Bach. The girl sat her viola on a chair and knocked out Ode to Joy on the grand piano. Returning to the strings, she twitched. The instrument hovered and crashed to the floor. The bridge splintered.

Coco lifted her bow and played A Simple Gift. The butterflies melted. Seconds earlier, I wondered, would she balk? Run away? Freeze? Now, she understood, nerves are universal.

When Coco’s name was called, she marched out of the room like she was twenty instead of nine. Later she said, “This was the best day of my life.” She won a position in the orchestra.

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