As the summer began, I spent most of my time relaxing and watching TV. I didn't want to do much of anything. It was just nice being able to hang out in my pajamas and relax.
Well, the longer I did that, the more agitated my parents seemed to become. I heard my dad talking to my mom, saying something about me regressing. One Saturday, I was in the kitchen fixing myself a bowl of cereal for lunch, and my dad said "Don't you think that you're a little old to be playing with toys?" I said "What, this? This isn't a toy, it's my teddy bear. And I don't play with him, I just..." and then I couldn't think of anything that I could say that would erase the frown from my dad's face. My dad said "You've been carrying that thing around everywhere you go." My mother came in and patted my dad on the arm and said "It's alright, I'll talk to her."
My dad walked away and I fixed my cereal really fast, hoping that my mom would walk away too. But she followed me to my room and closed the door. I tried to hide my eye rolling from her. She said "You really do miss that boy, don't you?" I said "Who?" My mom didn't even try to hide her eye roll from me. She said "Bob. That's the boy who gave you that bear, right?" I nodded hesitantly. My mom continued "Yeah, we talk to his dad Brad sometimes at church. Brad said that his son would be gone almost the entire summer. Calista, he will be back before you know it." I said "Ok.", hoping that would end the conversation.
My mom said "In the meantime, we are not about to let you spend your summer moping around and hugging on a stuffed bear. You need to find an activity." I said "Isn't it a little late for that?" My mom said "No, there's still plenty of things that you can do. If you can't find anything, your dad and I will choose something. Hey, Vacation Bible School is coming up next week..." I said "No!" I didn't mean to say it so loudly. I said "I'll find something." My mother said "Ok, you have 1 week."
I went to the Community Center that same day to try to find something to occupy my time this summer. As I expected, there wasn't a lot left to choose from. But something did catch my eye. A local musician was offering music lessons. I've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, so it seemed like a good idea to me.
I called the number from the ad and I set up an initial meeting. When I arrived, I was surprised to see that the "local musician" was actually an older boy from my school named Jay. He didn't recognize me, even after I told him that I had been on the Junior Spirit Squad. I recognized him right away. He performed in school talent shows, and he's really good. He also has a bit of a reputation for being a jerk. And from what I've heard, he skips school and drinks.
I told him that I thought I needed to find an instructor who was a bit more mature. He told me fine, he didn't need my money anyway, and that the lessons were for my benefit and not for his. He said that he was trying to share the gift of music with someone who was willing to work hard. I told him that I am no stranger to hard work, but I need to make sure that I get someone who is reliable, and I shared my concerns about him skipping school. He told me "So what!" He went on a rant about how music is his life, his passion, and when it comes to music, he does not cut corners. He works really hard, he's good at what he does, and he does not disappoint. He told me that it was up to me, but if we chose to work together, I would definitely be impressed. He said that I would not find another person who was as passionate about music, especially within my budget.
I told him that I would give him a chance. He told me that he would give me a chance also, but that he would drop me if I didn't work hard. I said "Drop ME? I'm the one paying!" He said it didn't matter, he didn't want to waste his time on someone who wasn't serious. He said "Are you serious, Clarissa?" I said "It's CALISTA, and yes I'm serious."
So he showed me his instruments. He asked me if I was interested in playing the drums and I told him no, and that I thought that was too easy. He told me that there's a lot more to it than what I think. He let me play his drums, and I sounded awful. Still, I wouldn't want to pay anyone to teach me to play the drums. That seems like something that I could learn on my own.
Then he let me play his guitar. He showed me how to play a couple of chords.
I liked the guitar, but I knew that I wanted to take lessons on the keyboard. Jay said that the guitar is more his thing, but that he can definitely teach me to play the keyboard. We agreed to have my lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He told me that I needed to practice 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. I said "2 HOURS!" He said "Hey, you said you were serious, and not a stranger to hard work, right?" I replied "Right."
I played Jay a song that my dad had taught me on his keyboard when I was a little girl - Chopsticks. Jay said that I would be blown away by the songs that I would be able to play by the end of this summer. I hope he's right.