Liam Thomson, Staff Writer

Entering the orchestra was all I could remember. True, I had been troubled by my past visions and schoolwork was mounting, but in that moment, all I could concentrate on was the rhythmic pounding of the timpani and the strumming and humming of the violins.

My seat was among the strings, my fellow violinists. I winded through the musicians and virtuosos, sat down and set up my stand, hoping not to draw any attention. My case fell to the floor with a clang; I winced at the sound. The girl to my right looked at me; she had dirty-blond hair cascading over her shoulders and ears. Her forest-colored eyes lingered for a moment, then turned back to her own instrument. I was as careful as I could be from then on, unfolding the portable stand and taking out the polished maple that was my pride and joy.

Remembering the diagnosis was almost joyful, as it was when I got my violin, but it was also life-changing and sad. I remember the doctor giving my parents some forms and telling them about a mental illness. After that, the world was lost; my parents tried to comfort me, but by then I was only focused on one thing: to get this devilish menace out of my head. Music, I found, was the answer.

I plucked at the violin’s strings, making sure the sound was in tune with the rest of the group. I sanded down my bow with dry sap and ran it over the strings, music flowing from the instrument and into my ears. Starting to warm up, I became lost in the music; for a moment, I forgot about my thoughts. My only refuge was once again taking away the sinner inside me, slowly, bit by bit.

My flames of passion were extinguished by the director, tapping her baton on the stand. She raised it and, with quick motions, directed the band to play what she desired. She was a puppeteer, all of the bandmates were her marionettes.

The piece we played was soft and soothing; in 6/8 time, the rhythm calmed me down and flowed about the room, sending a peaceful message inside each and every one of us. I nearly forgot to play; thankfully, I remembered my purpose here, and began to move my bow over the strings.

I was beginning to enjoy this place, as I thought this was what it would be like all the time; alas, I was wrong. The next piece was also beautiful, but in an ominous way; the music was foreboding and dramatic. Even for all the atmosphere, I settled in as best I could, strumming along with the time and the waving of the baton. The girl looked at me again.

As we transferred to the Fourth Movement, the music got faster. As the music got faster, the players had to work harder. As the players had to work harder, more notes were incorrect. The more that happened, the more my visions started coming back, all of the miniscule errors and mishaps caused the capacity of my thought to surcease all hope of entrancement! I strove for salvation, my face increasingly sweating and becoming more enraged and confused by the second. The girl’s face was also panicked, with concern and distress. When the conductor called it off, I was both relieved and reeling from my crisis.

The conductor seemed to notice something was wrong and asked me the same. I took a very deep breath and replied that I was upset by all of the mistakes, and that offense was not my objective by saying this. The conductor smiled and, instead of playing the 25th again, said that we would move on.

The final piece we played that night was a better combination of drama and solace, and as we increased tempo and sound, I played with all my might, hoping that my fretful efforts would chase away the tremors that had haunted me for so long. It worked; when I concentrated more on the task at hand and not focusing on the task itself, I visualized myself soaring among the clouds, free from all of my troubles. My ecstasy doubled back when we finished the piece, and was replaced by dismay that the moment had ended.

But the memory had not; the sound of the band playing the beautiful melody lingered in my mind. What was more, I had overcome my initial cowardice and opened the door to opportunity, epiphanies now streaking into my head; my former visions were futile and empty. I walked toward my parents’ car, thinking, when I noticed the girl walking the opposite direction. She stopped and gave me a smile.