Listening

David - Snohomish, Washington
Entered on January 23, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

There is something strange about how people communicate. Speaking is odd because words are noises and letters are only shapes, but these have meaning. This art of speech has always eluded me and I don’t think I can write that well. I have always been a musical person because I have always been awkward in expressing how I feel. I’ve played saxophone in band since elementary school and still do at Brigham Young University- Idaho. Playing in band requires a certain concerted effort by all the participants that is everything but audible; I mean subtle, universally comprehensive, and natural. Growing up I didn’t have many friends, that is not to say that I am done growing up or that I don’t have friends. However, some things never change regardless of how many people you know, or how mature you become.

My hard steps and heavy breathing are obvious in the chill of the night. Everything is more obvious at night. At night things are still and the air stands tense, waiting to make any sign of life manifest. I walk inside the music building to my favorite practice room, bringing the cold and stale air with me. I stand beside the mini-grand piano feeling the coarse worn wood, which I lift to reveal the array of tense strings. I sit down and “play.” Sound explodes from the strings shattering the air making my life manifest. “ A minor nine to a first inversion of an E major nine with a minor seventh followed by the second inversion of C major nine…” I speak a unique language in my mind. I think about how an audience had heard me play this at a piano improvisation recital, but they did not hear what I was communicating. Letting the last major seven chord float in the placid air I stand up. The piano strings sigh with overtones and sympathetic vibrations, and then I sigh and leave. Even when I speak to people, they don’t hear me.