Chapter 29: Song of the Dawn

Does the violin player care how he looks? That he is not dressed appropriately for playing the violin with his scuffed shoes and leather jacket? Leather jacket that opens, but still covers the greasy cheese stains that reside just over his heart?

Does the violin player’s legal mother make conversation with the violin player as they walk to the park, or to the pub? Does anybody else join in the conversation? An aunt, perhaps, or a drunk? What is the tone? What is the violin player’s legal mother’s tone? Does she comment on the injustices towards the downtrodden? On the weather? Has the violin player ever talked about the violin with his legal mother?

Is the violin player afraid to talk about what happens when he plays the violin?

Is the violin player afraid to talk to his legal mother about what happens when he plays the violin?

When the violin player arrives home from school today, will his violin be where he thinks he left it? If it’s gone, is it because his legal mother has hidden it again? Or is it because he’s misplaced it? How often does he misplace his violin? Does he misplace his violin on purpose, or is he just forgetful? Do others think of him as forgetful?

What caused the violin player to take up the violin? Love of music? Does he play for the sheer joy of playing, or does he play out of obligation? Obligation to who? When he plays for his legal mother, does she always sit and listen, or does she step outside? After he’s done playing, where does he find his legal mother? Do they then eat dinner? Do they eat tacos for dinner? Grilled cheese? Who makes it? Do they eat anything else?

Does the violin player enjoy his music?

Does the violin player listen to his music?

Does the violin player know other violin players? Where did he meet them?

How much of the violin player’s songs are written for the world to hear? Does it please the violin player to know that one day hundreds or thousands or millions of people might one day enjoy his music? Are there songs he cannot play? Are there songs he wants to play, but can’t? Are there songs he will not play? Does he play them anyway? Can he play them anyway? Are there, in addition to those songs he cannot play and will not play, songs he doesn’t know? When will he learn those songs? Who will teach him? Has he met his teacher yet?

At his house, in his pajamas on an early weekend morning, he stands outside and plays the violin. Is it really morning, or is it late at night? Does it matter? Does his legal mother know where he is? Does she not care? Or did he sneak out while she was asleep? Out of fear? Out of duty? Does he play the song he’s been practicing, or does he play something brand new? Something he made up on the spot? Does he play under the stars or for the stars? Does he do this as a way to repay the songs they sang to him as a toddler? Does he know that he does this? Does he seriously believe that the stars listen to him? Does he know that the stars have no ears? Does he know that others do have ears? How often does he think of the birds? Of the bees? Of anybody else who might be listening?

Across the world, many people love music, and music is what unites people from all cultures and countries, no matter where they are. Is the violin player aware of this?

What music does the violin player listen to? Is it only classical? Does he know about Mozart? Can he play Mozart? Or does he have broad musical taste? Does he want to play music one day? Does he dream of playing in a band? Would he prefer to play alone? When he does his homework at the small folding table in his kitchen, is he thinking about his future? Does he do so when he sleeps at night? Is there a stuffed animal on his bed? Beside his bed? Is it a purple dinosaur? A brown bear? What did he name the bear? Does the violin player ever think about this bear in his free time? Does he know where it was made? Does the violin player know how many stuffed bears identical to his exist in the world at the present time?

Sitting at the breakfast table with his legal mother, the violin player is given a grilled cheese sandwich. Does he burn his fingers as he eats? Why are the grilled cheese sandwiches hotter than ever before, the buzzing in his ears louder, the sun brighter than he ever remembers? Does his legal mother notice this? What does she mean to him? What does he mean to her? Does he love her? Does she love him? Why is everything more extreme?

What is the violin player’s favorite sound? Is it his violin? Does he make that sound on his violin? Over and over and over? Is this why his legal mother often goes to another room or even outside? When he plays his violin, why is it his aunt who is the only one who listens? Is she really his aunt? When she gives him a headache, does he take aspirin? Does he take a nap? Does he bring his violin with him? Does he leave it behind? Will he remember that he left it behind? Is this how he misplaced his violin in the past?

Is the violin player frightened by those who can play the violin? Violin players from who knows where? Homeless men with Russian accents? Longhaired hippies who dream only of flowers? Do the biological parents of the violin player, who the violin player has never met, play the violin? When the violin player sits with his legal mother, does he wish she would play the violin? Does he wish he could play guitar? After he finished playing the violin but before joining his legal mother inside, does he sometimes climb the apple tree and pick his legal mother an apple? Does he pick himself an apple?

When the violin player plays his violin, does he concentrate? Does he think carefully about the position of his fingers and the movement of his bow? Does he know which songs can make people begin to dance and which songs can make people begin to cry? Does he want to know? Does the violin player care that in 1518 almost four hundred people danced for days on end without rest in an act of mass hysteria brought on by listening to just the right song? Does he care that this plague has been dismissed as food poisoning? Has the violin player ever had food poisoning? Did he get it from a grilled cheese sandwich? Does the violin player know that learning to play music can affect and even change his personality? Does he want to change his personality, or just express it?

Is the world filled with listeners? Listeners who train their ears to hear across the globe or even across the universe, to hear the songs that others want to play? In his backyard, the violin player and the birds listen to the noise of the violin. In her bedroom, the legal mother sleeps, is startled, and rolls over. The noise outside is no longer music, but possibility; it flirts with music until it devolves into a trance of back and forth movement, the rare sound of nothing and everything as the violin player nods his head and drifts off. Then, the noise recedes. The violin player continues to move his bow and his fingers.

Is it the case that, on a certain morning, when the violin player is finally ready to listen to the noise of the universe inside of his head, that he will finally pick out the individual thread of one single song? Is it the violin player’s song? Somebody else’s? Does it sound like this?

Sala dastaliyu
Sala daspaliyu

Vendrufī gopan
Vendrufī goxan
Sanghi gotukoda
Mokiya gotukoda

Baliyu daschavendru
Baliyu byuvendru

Sala dastaliyu
Sala daspaliyu

Who sings this song? What language is it? How much does the violin player comprehend? How much does the violin player understand? Does the violin player even know how he heard this voice? Or does he care more about the fact that somewhere, out there, reaching across the stars, is another? An individual with a voice that he hears in his head?

And what does the violin player do now?


Author’s Note:

A special thanks to CathyTea for providing the song. If you’re not familiar with it, you should go ahead and read Lighthouse, the story it’s from (or go back a step further and read through Septimus, My Son, which is the story that Lighthouse is a sequel to.) While not necessarily important to know the meaning of the song Kanto hears – at least for this story – if you are curious as to what it means, you can find out here.

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