The wood split into pieces the second it collided with the smooth floor boards. The delicate strings on the neck snapped, and coiled up to the knot, escaping from the center of the instrument. I felt fulfilled, as if my frustration was finally released with the crash. My satisfaction quickly faded as I soon felt a surge of complete numbness. All I could do was stand there, my feet shoulder-width apart, arms limp at my sides, and stare at the life-less violin. I half expected the pieces to magically mold together again like a magnet separated from its pair, but close enough that the magnetic force is strong. But that was fantasy. I wasn’t a little kid anymore.
My mind wasn’t racing, it was stuck thinking, “Shit.”
My muscles weren’t moving; I was standing motionless. I looked up from the floor to the mirror, as if the girl from inside it could help me. But she was screwed too.
The reason I was in that mess was because of my dad. In third grade I had to pick up an instrument and I chose the violin out of the options he gave me. How I picked that, I still don’t know. It must’ve been the way he sold the violin from the list of instruments that attracted me.
“Tasia, it plays beautiful music. It plays wonderful melodies and you don’t have to pluck at a big large cello.”
Okay, whatever, I thought. Let’s just go with that. Pick the stupid violin.
My dad joyfully added, “Oh good! And did you know I played the violin when I was a kid? You can use mine; I bet you I still have it.”
I felt no emotion and no care to the matter. Nothing. Numb.
I thought that that decision wasn’t a big deal but it slowly progressed into an immense one. I started out very badly, slowly squeaking the bow across each string. My dad waited patiently by me and my new smooth and shiny black music stand. Eventually, all those practices made me hate the instrument, but I kept at it because I knew it was what my dad wanted.
“I know you’re tired of practicing, Tasia, but you can’t play songs without practicing scales.”
“I don’t even like playing songs,” I mumbled.
My dad ignored my comments, looking more strict and stern, and he would tap my music stand, instructing me to continue. I would sigh, raise my bow, and begin the scale in A minor.
Finally, I couldn’t last another day playing the same songs over again, piercing my blisters with those thick strings.
“Dad. I hate the violin and I am not playing anymore.” My dad’s eyes’ looked pained and I gulped, not backing down.
“Just sleep on it okay?”
Early that morning I ran to his room before school. “I slept on it, and I have decided. I’m serious about this. I want to quit!”
He was too busy for a reply and simply responded, “We can talk about it later.”
I was done waiting for a talk. I was in the middle of practicing a song that I could not play. I cursed and cried, unsure of why I was still playing this damn instrument. I stopped, dropped my bow and grasped the violin by the neck. I raised it above my head and slammed it to the ground watching the strings snap and the glazed wood crack. Then that’s when my emotions overwhelmed me. This was my dad’s violin from when he was a child. He came upstairs after the bang echoed through the house. I didn’t cover up the pieces or lock my door. I stood there, in complete numbness, as I watched his face. All of his memories of playing that violin, shattered, scratched, and un-mend able.
I realized at that moment that I single handedly took away something special, that no person should ever have taken away from them: a childhood memory, with the good and bad, that helped them form to what they are today; their background, their history. Overwritten, like a video recording of a child’s first words that was re-recorded with a selfish moment of the camera-man. Like an overwritten document in a computer. Numb was all I could feel and I knew he felt the same way.
We try to forget the image of my room that evening, but it is a memory that is unforgettable and irrevocable. A memory that can never be overwritten. He can never bring back that old violin and we can never move past what I’ve done. I shattered his old violin, I shattered his childhood, and I shattered his dream of seeing me play on a stage ever again. To this day, it is the selfishness that strikes me, and I know it is the numb-feeling that kills him.