This I Believe

Jonathan - Mesa, Arizona
Entered on April 2, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
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I believe in…Music

I believe in music. Over the summer, my parents felt that I needed to contribute to the community, so I “volunteered” to help at the local senior center, a building full of odd smells, and silence. My task was to show up after breakfast and prepare lunch for the seniors who couldn’t travel to the center and pick it up. Weeks past and I soon recognized the regulars; Pat, the cookie lady, Bill, the retired marine, and a host of others. However, one sullen, wrinkled man would always sit in the corner, his back towards the crowd, a coffee mug always in his hands. Through rumors of his psychotic personality and criminal charges, I learned his name was Kenny. Just Kenny. He wouldn’t pay any attention to others, so everyone left him alone.

As more never-ending weeks finished, I began to play the center’s old piano, just tinkling off some blues and swing tunes for some amusement. Oddly, out of the corner of my eyes, I could see Kenny’s face. Entranced, contemplative, but oddly, calm. There is something extraordinary about the way notes and melodies can calm and soothe even the most hardened heart.

Soon, he would come early, just to hear me play odds and ends. I figured he was a strange old man, so it didn’t bother me, until one day, he slowly rose out of his seat and walked towards me, with an aged piece of paper in his hand.

“Play this,” he growled as he shoved the piece of paper into my face. It was a sonata, slow and elegant, but I managed to struggle through it. As the last chord rang out, I glanced up, and surprisingly, saw tears flowing down Kenny’s face.

“Thank you, son,” he whispered. Suddenly, he turned around and left the building.

For my remaining time at the center, Kenny had not been spotted anywhere. I didn’t think anything of it until my last day volunteering when, clad in a wool suit, Kenny came walking, no, striding through the door. He walked straight towards me, beaming, and gave me a bear hug.

“Thank you, thank you,” was all I could hear, and he proceeded to tell me that he had had a bad drinking problem, left his family, and ignored his only son for 14 years. One day, he had seen a young man playing the piano, and it reminded him of his own son. He grabbed a piece of music from his son’s old playbook, and had me play it. Once reminded of great memories, he vowed to fix things with his family forever.

Music, from just an ordinary piano piece, changed this man’s life forever. I believe that music has the capability to inspire, motivate, and uplift. If listening to music was a habit every day, who knows what one person might be inspired to find world peace?