It has been under my bed gathering dust for years. Close to two decades. The black case layered with dust, the nylon strap long replaced with a length of twine that defies time and physics with its tenuous hold on the dingy vessel. When released, three silver buckles flip up to reveal worn rust-brown velvet cradling two items inside: my old violin and my bow.
I played through elementary school but fell off when orchestra practice meant getting to school early in junior high and high school. Nonetheless, I kept a few prized music books and dragged them and it along with me through life, across the years, three states, and then overseas, playing only occasionally.
For my birthday last year, my husband had it completely refurbished. New wood polish, new strings, a bridge, tuning keys, chin rest, rosin, and a new bow. The boss case is a cool lime green now and the fiddle rests there in great comfort and style, wholly protected, and deserving of the upgrade.
My new pitch pipe came in the mail just the other day. With it I can tune the violin accurately enough to get on with playing. Familiar tunes run through my head like old friends: Minuets of assorted numbers, Etude, Gavotte. Like companions I haven’t seen in ages, they are rustier and more compromised than I expected, but of great comfort, and I appreciate their surrounding me with familiarity and memories of many hours spent together – sharing time.
Even though I didn’t play all that much, I kept it near me wherever I went – that violin. It seems strange to have done that – dragged it around like I did – but when I think about why, I think I know. Music has always been a better part of me, so my unwillingness to leave it behind seems fitting.
It was right to keep it close all these years.
That old violin.