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Music Makes Me Happy

by Cameron Ward

           My heart is beating, beating more quickly and then slowly. My legs, straight as they  could be, move in a way they have never moved before. With the sun shining down on  everyone’s sweat-gleamed faces, our shadows were cast down showing our straight posture. Melodies of different instruments would hide the shuffles of our movements across the concrete.  Our teachers who would watch from above would see the many shapes that we could create by  just following the patterns we were given. We all moved as one and created something together  as one. This was what it felt like to belong and to be a part of something greater. 

           When we all came together after our sessions, the warmth of each other’s bodies was  unbearable. The stench of every individual was like being suspended over a dumpster and yet  everyone wanted to cheer each other on, be next to each other, and be there for one another.  These were people who understood me, and to whom I could express my emotions to. Whether  through body language or just picking up your destiny-given instrument, someone could tell  exactly how you were feeling. For the first time, I could feel the happiness and enthusiasm  returning to my soul.

           As the school days went by, like the notes on a note sheet, the teacher would always play  away on his old-styled keyboard. My mind cries out with joy at hearing such wonderful  melodies. Foots tapping, people clapping, everything with a beat gave me something to smile for.  Even when my eyes were open and away from the band hall, I still could hear the keys clicking  away and the taps of everyone's feet tapping to the rhythm. Even when life was not as green as I  hoped it would be, I felt alive when music was with me. Music for me is the distraction that  adults believe phones are for children and teens. It felt like my tree of life had been rebirthed  with a new purpose filling its roots. Music makes me happy.

           On the days we were out in the blazing sun, my mind would turn into a blur. Being  hydrated was no longer a priority on certain days of the week. The world always became a dizzy  mess of red and grey, and my hands and legs would get covered in scratches. Falling, tripping,  and bumping into others, I started to question my abilities. Tears would trickle down my cheeks  into the blood spilling from the open wound on my leg. Everything and everyone around me  started to turn into ripples of gasps or laughter, but all I could hear was my heart pounding and  the laughter. It felt the same way as I was being treated in school for so many years. It no longer  felt like I belonged. “These were supposed to be the people who understood me, why are they  laughing at me!” I would run to cry in the dirty school restroom. Music was making me happy. 

           Mistake after mistake, I started to grow angry. Marching was never my strongest suit  since no one taught me how to do it properly. Why should I march and be the laughingstock  when I can just sit on the sidelines and let everyone else do it instead since they think they are so  much better than I am? Their burning glares that sizzle the flesh on my body hurt each time as I  got less involved. It was like my presence was causing a disturbance in their peaceful haven of a  world. The teachers knew how life was going for me and knew my deepest inner struggles and  yet they treated me as a pest that needed to be rid of. I could no longer let music be my voice of  expression. Seeing the reflection of myself in that golden brass instrument left my fingertips  stained with golden tears of regret. At the beginning of my junior year in high school, I decided  to leave the band, sealing my instrument in its dark casing. Music did make me happy.

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