Listening to certain songs can transport people back in time. When I hear a clarinet, I am transported back to middle school, where Awkward and Gangly were my two middle names. But after school a few times a week, I took on a new identity…not as a superhero, but as a member of the band. I played the clarinet, and after my first semester, my teacher made comments about my “talent”.
What is this strange word? I thought. It’s never been applied to me before. And for the next three years, while Awkward and Gangly still plagued me during the school day, at least I possessed a little bit of Talent, too.
At the end of the seventh grade, I bid a fond “see-you-soon” to my band teacher, making promises to practice over the summer. I never saw or heard from him again. No explanation.
Out of spite, I refused to continue playing the clarinet. I tried percussion in high school, and I can plonk out a few tunes on the piano or the harmonica. But my biggest regret is quitting the clarinet. It was a source of joy and an escape from Awkward and Gangly, and I should not have let that go without a fight.
Also, I wish I had discovered The Phantom Tollbooth and running sooner.