I sold my cello to see the world. I was 27 then; I didn't think I would ever need it. I didn't take to the musical life like my talented siblings. What I remember is walking from room to room in our large aching house in search of a place where I wouldn't hear someone practicing music. We were not a rock family, where drummers and electric guitars plugged into basements and garages. We were classical. My softspoken pianist younger brother grew irritated with my frequent requests for Judy Collins and other laments about love. Among us there was a flute, a viola, a string bass, a piano, an opera singer, and my own cello.
I could play it. From my years in quartets I learned counterpoint. From my years in orchestras I still remember how to finger the New World Symphony. But I wasn't good enough. Not like them. And so I gave it up entirely to see the world, and to recall their collaborations in stories.
But they were angry that I tried to write them down, and eventually I stopped writing too. At my fater's 80th birthday he thanked all of his talented children for providing music. And with a wave at me he thanked me, the daughter with no visible talent, for coming along.
All this rankled of course. I remembered this Easter Sunday when I listened to my sister play viola, her daughters play violin and harp, my youngest sister sing, and my brother's daughter play viola in a piece my brother composed by himself. Despite everything I still weep when I hear them play.
I had a writing teacher, a very famous woman, who read my stories silently, mused and finally commented, "You really are in search of silence, aren't you?" Another teacher told me my stories are about the white spaces in human relationships. And so my art, if it exist, constructs what you don't hear, what cannot be said, the chords that were never played, and not those that are.
But I know I have missed something, when I see the web of relationships they have orchestrated in my mute absence.