Life in the Viola

by Catherine Chiu

Sitting alone in the center
Is a viola boy
Not violin, but viola
He sits there with his instrument
He slowly raises it up to his shoulder
And breaks the silence
He begins slowly, very gently
The viola and the sound that it makes
Takes me to a place long gone
A place and time where there is peace
The single yellow light that is shining on him
makes him look older but wiser and more magnificent
He picks up speed
His foot tapping to the tempo
His eyes become more focused
Trying to block all disturbances
His lips move
As he tries to remember everything
His brows knit
He closes his eyes
He sways side to side
In time with his bowing
He plays furiously
Like this is the last
And because this is his life
He plays faster and faster and faster
Mesmerizing me.
Then stops.
He lowers his precious viola
Then exhales slowly
Then opens his eyes
Something has changed
His eyes are sparkling
And a small curve forms on his lips
He looks more beautiful
Renewed and reborn
And he simply walks away.