It’s bothered me for years. I know that it’s better to live without regrets, that it’s useless to worry about things we cannot change. When I graduated from high school, I was given a wonderful, and surprising gift: a surplus French horn from the music department of my high school. It was not in the best condition, but it played, and I was incredibly honoured and pleased to have it. However, over time, I stopped playing for a variety of reasons. And there came a point while I was in university when, while waiting for student loans to replenish my bank account, between the end of a summer job and the start of the fall work season, I made a decision that I wish I could go back and do differently.
* * *
Sonnet for a Lost French Horn
Valued once for its brassy gleam and sound,
Beauty was not enough in poverty.
Though dusty, tarnished, dented coils still wound,
Sold on the street for a sum of money.
Immediate hit of regret, loss, despair;
A precious gift turned into cash for food.
The potential, the talent, gone somewhere
Has it helped another? I prayed it would.
Beloved tool, my heart’s mellow voice,
Practice daunted by time and bashful fear;
Lacking spine, still, my neglect was a choice.
It lay silent, slept, for over a year.
Entrusted to a new soul, my token.
Somewhere it sings, no longer broken.
* * *
I remember how wonderful it felt to be part of an ensemble, making music together. I remember the pain of swollen and chapped lips, aching wrists and dented skin on my thigh from resting the edge of the bell. Emptied the spit and oiled the valves. I loved its tone, how it could ring and wail, bellow and whisper. One day, I would like to have another for my own pleasure, to play when the house is empty and the time is mine.
Until then, I have the memories. And the man who bought my horn was an older gentleman. I have hope that he took care of it, restored it to a really good condition, and made it sing again.