The Boy & the Violin

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about a German boy's short-lived friendship with a Jewish violinist of his age. A note: I am aware of the historical inaccuracy in this fiction...it is an old tale of mine and back then, I didn't do much research.

Submitted: July 23, 2012

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Submitted: July 23, 2012

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In my childhood, I had many different friends. Some of them were a bit naughty, always sneaking into things like little rascals they were. Some were very kind, and close to me like siblings. But there was one, one friendship that was short-lived but changed my life forever.

It was in a small village of Poland, where the German troops often paraded through and out the area. I was young, only ten, and did not fully understand what was happening at the time. Most of my days, I played on a wide open field at the back of my house.

That field, open and free, was glorious! In the spring, the flowers of all would spout up and show its beauty upon me and my sister’s eyes. In the summer, the sun would shine as bright as it could on down as I played on every ground I found. In the autumn, the leaves of the trees would turn orange and I would so very often take my baby sister walking along the small forest area of the field. And in winter, I didn’t do much, for my mother would keep me inside when too cold. But it was winter, my tenth winter, when I found a special boy of my age.

The snow was white and soft, as I ran out my house to prance happily on the wide field. Like I would always do on such winter days, I took my kite for the wind was perfect for flying. It wasn’t a very stately kite, all blue with no other colors taking its spot. But I was quite fond of it, I was.  I called it ‘Old Noble’, because it never crashed.

Well, I was a bit unlucky that day. I must have forgotten about the many trees on the far end of the field, because…

CRASH, DIP, FELL

My kite went straight into a tall oak! I was so angry! I was never the type to be happy when such misfortune would occur to me, and I would be very sore for the reminder of the afternoon. I checked my kite carefully, and there it had a big hole struck in the middle. I wailed, and cried, and bawled loudly. My kite, poor Old Noble, was gone. I sat solemnly in the cold frozen snow, with my coat of brown and my hat that matched. I used my scarf to wipe my tears that began to multiply.

Suddenly, I heard a sound that momentarily heeded my crying. It faded, and I resumed. But then, I heard it again. It wasn’t an awful sound, dear no. It wasn’t a terrible sound, goodness no. In fact, it was nice. It sounded  like someone playing a violin in the saddest tone possible. I arose, walking closer and closer toward the movement of music playing so solemnly.

It went on, and on, and onward. And thinking I was as close as I could get, the sound came from a tree. I thought, A tree can play music? I chuckled at the humorous fact, how can a tree play the violin if I couldn’t myself?! I then became bold, glancing bravely behind the wooden tall. There I saw him, a ten-year old boy crying as I was, playing his red wood violin with the tears falling on it. I wasn’t the nicest child of the block, but his sad face touch me for some reason.

I asked, “What’s wrong?”

He struck a false note, turning around with a face of shock. I walked back while he stood there. He looked poor, I never will forget his patched up clothes, and his scarf that resembled mine greatly.

I asked once more, this time with a worried look, “What is the matter?”

He didn’t speak. Not a word. But sat back down, and played his depressing song of remorse. Being the kid I was, I thought, What a rude person! I knew however, that he wasn’t trying to be so rude. He was just-- he was just sad. I tried to cheer him up, the best I could with my silly ways.

“Don’t be sad. I broke my kite, and I’m not sad. It’s funny to me!” I laughed a fake laugh, for destroying a kite was all but--funny. “See, I am happy.” I smiled, believing he certainly did not have as great a problem as I, but it seemed much worst when he remain silent and emotionless.

I hated to do it, I was all about pride at that age but, I made the silliest of a face I could do possible. And my heart opened, when he gave a small chuckle. I repeated my face, this time he gave a big smile, as it seemed he was now happy. He still said nothing but his music changed from sad to an upbeat tune.

He played unusually well, the poor boy that cried so great did. His music was unique to me, and I even started to dance a dance when he played his cheerful song. His violin was so pure in sound, so beautiful in performing that I no longer thought of it as a ‘poor boy’s violin’ but a professional violin in the hands of a poor boy. Looking back, I was a bit spoiled and inconsiderate. But one thing is for sure, if someone had informed me to play a violin, I wouldn’t be so good.

We danced as he played the music for a well time, until my back lowered when I heard a voice from afar cry out, “Luca! Come inside!” He stopped, and he looked deflated as if that were his own mother calling him to dinner. I shook his cold and freezing hands before I left, and dashed away to my home that was not visible to him.

“Hey! What’s your name?” I shouted before I left sight. He didn’t say a word, but smiled and walked off.

I knew I wouldn’t see him again, and I felt my heart sink. I never met a kid like him, and even then he was a special child to me. And as I stood by my patio door, I gave a sigh. I walked in with a disappointed air.

The next day was so cold, my mother told me I could not play out. Then another day passed. Then a week. Then another week. Then a month. Then another month, and finally a season before I finally set my foot out for the first time that spring.

It was a sunny day, the air was light and fair, the clouds went by occasionally and my short hair was not affected by the calm winds. I skipped and skipped in the wide open field, so happy that I was outside again and this time, my nagging mother couldn’t say a thing about weather. But like most mothers, she was only concerned about my health, which did not enter my mind at the time.

Oh, I was filled with happiness and I believe I couldn’t have been as happy to play out as that March day. I sat down by a sky-touching tree, that would blow leaves onto my head at times, and I would catch them as they fell gently from above.  

Then, so suddenly as before, I heard a sound. It was close, and by my will, it sounded like a sweet violin of a sweet boy I once knew. I grinned, hoping that it was him, the boy, but its sound faded away. I turned back, with my head down in disappointment. But at the same moment, I felt a cloth of a sort. It felt like my kite, which I had broken and left out in the snow’s wasteland. I looked to my right side, and I saw Old Noble! It was my good ole kite but it was repaired!

“How in the--” I could not finish, and would not for I saw him. The boy and his violin. I gave the widest smile I could, and he gave one back. Then he played, those musical movements as good as the first time I met him.

“Than--Thank you.” I said, with a short frown, feeling that I could not thank him enough for fixing my kite. He only gave a nod, and still yet, I did not hear a sound from him. “I’m Luca,” I held out my hand, but so spontaneously, he gave me a tight hug.

It seemed the boy never had a friend before, or a true one, and I was very proud to be his first. He held onto me tight for much time, and when he finally let up, he grinned. That’s when I saw a button on his jacket, a button that was the Star Of David.

I asked innocently, “What’s that?”

Upon noticing me pointing at the button, he hid it with a single hand. His face frowned and he continued to play his violin as he sat in the grass, to prevent tears from rushing down his cheeks.

“I’m sorry.” I apologized, though I did not know the reason, I could tell he was hurt.

He nod again, and he played his sad tone of music which was very pretty but I disliked it, for it meant he was saddened too.

“Say, how many songs can you play?” asked with a upbeat smile, and he smiled changing his sad song to a slow one. It wasn’t sad, but more for a dance, a slow dance.

He then played a more childish song, which interested me highly. Then he played a lively tune, and he arose swiftly to dance around with his violin. I danced with, and like the last time, we danced, and danced, and danced ’till the daylight faded to nightfall. And, like the last time, my mother that annoyed me so shouted, “Luca! Dinner!”

I bided him a farewell, and we both went on separate ways. But I would see him again the next day, and we did the same thing we would everyday: I danced while he played, he played while I danced. He was still silent and by our fourth encounter I understood that the poor boy was mute. That wouldn’t change our friendship that was close and furthermore, unbreakable.

One day, I took him to a stream down the field. It was a clean stream, with various fish that traveled up and down it. I thought it would be a good place for me and him to fish, and he reluctantly came. I don’t think he liked fish very much, but he came there for me.

“Isn’t it nice?” I smiled, splashing my feet in the stream for the weather was warm enough.

He looked puzzled for just a second, staring into the water seeing his reflected face and smiling. He placed his hand inside, feeling the fish brush up against it.

SPLASH

A fish suddenly went upward and the water splashed right into his face! I laughed, and the only time I would, I saw the boy angry.

“Don’t be mad,” I said, because I didn’t like seeing the boy upset. I quickly splashed water in my face so that we'd be  equal, and I was pleased to see his bright smile and hear his silent giggle.

After our laughter subsided, we fished lively. I did get one, but he got three and to this day, I wonder how he did it. I had been fishing all my life, yet, on his first try he gets three? Beginner’s luck. Only beginner’s luck. He didn’t eat them, no. Fact is he let them go, and they lived. I did the same with mine, dropping the aquatic creature back into the water. He nodded when he saw me repeat what he did, and gave a short grin before grabbing his violin.

He played once more. It was such a lovely tune, and the first person I thought about was my four-year old sister who loved violin music fondly.

“Wait here, I want you to meet my sister.” I dashed off, and he smiled, continuing his music ‘till I couldn’t hear anymore.

My sister never really wanted to be bothered. She was a bit moody, and very fussy. But that day, she was a nice, friendly girl. And as I held her in my arms, and put her down to the grass, she looked as sweet as she could when seeing my friend.

The boy gave a large smile to my younger sibling, taking her hand and walking her to a tree in which he would play a special song for her.

Cheerful and lively it was, my little sister clapping her hands together and following the dance of the boy.  I watched with joy, my sister and my friend dancing with lively excitement and my sister singing whatever she thought matched with the tune he was playing. In all my life, I never saw my sister so hyper and happy. That boy truly had something special about him, and I still have not found out what.

Once the serenade was finished, he gave her a gentle kiss on her soft cheek and a flower upon her head. She hugged him and with a goodbye whispered, she left onto our house.

I felt so wonderful that my sister was treated so kindly, and I thanked the boy twice: first for being nice to my sister, and second for being a great friend. I told him that, and he seemed excited to hear. And then, again, my mother shouted, “Luca!”

Ooh, I hated when she did that, and by the look on my face I was pretty angry. The boy laughed, and walked off with a silent goodbye and played his violin down the stream. I stood there with a chuckle, as the music faded off into the woods.

Ah, our days only became happier and happier. I would visit him by his house, and vice versa, my parents were even fond of him. And he would play many more serenades for my sister, she even tried to learn herself how to play. I was as happy and content as I could and would be with such a friend in my life, but-but it wouldn’t go on forever.

On a late summer’s evening, we were playing with the trees and pretending to be many explorers of the world. But as our game was ending, he walked up to me giving me his violin. I didn’t know what to say, but with his hands guiding mine, he tried to teach me how to use it.

As I did, I failed. I didn’t know how to use the bow, or the violin itself. Even though he was instructing me, doing the movements of how to use the violin and he would move his arms and hands as he if he was holding one, I just did not understand. Suddenly but unsurprisingly, I pluck a string. I broke it, one of his strings that played music so gently and beautifully. My eyes watered and widened, and he looked at me with a grin, if he could have talk he would have said, “Don’t worry about it.”

“I-I-I’m so sorry.” I cried softly, with him giving me a pat on the shoulder. I handed it back to him, I think I did enough damage to the thing!

But he didn’t accept. No. In fact, to my surprise yet delight, he let me have it. I could keep it, at least by his gestures and face that giggled brightly. I couldn’t play it, but he knew I would learn someday.

“Oh thank you! Oh thank you!” was all I could utter, it was truly kind of him to give me his violin, his special instrument to me.

Then, he came fourth, and hugged me as tight as a person could. Tears slowly rolled off his cold yet soft cheeks, and still he smiled. At the time, I thought he was crying about giving up his violin, and I felt like a dirty rat for keeping it. But it wasn’t that at all….

I heard an nearly silent voice call out his name, which was so low I couldn’t hear it and I am still saddened about not knowing that boy‘s name.

He left, with a smile that I’ll never forget, and he slowly faded into the fog of the field. I looked down, and at the violin, which was now mine. I returned home, and all that night I played.

And how I played! Not good of course, but loud! I tried to be as good as my friend but was no where near his talent. As the  evening hours passed, I played continuously with a grin on my face that was so large my sister thought my mouth was broken. She was a silly little girl at times.

That night slowly turned awful however, as I heard the troops march in the village, burning down houses, shooting, and terrible sounds that made me cover my head under the blankets and cuddle up to my dear sister who was crying at the noise. I nearly cried myself but somehow, I kept brave. Thank the lord for it, they never came to our place. But I felt, and still feel truly sorry for the homes that were victimized.

The next day unrevealed a wonderful sun that shined so peacefully on the ruins of certain buildings. The horrible smell of smoke was still in the air, and I was a little depressed that day. More than a little, I was depressed that day. Alas, I still was determined to play, if I could only find him. Where could that boy be? I thought with a positive vibe, Maybe he can teach me some more.

“Hey!” I called out for the boy in the open field, but no answer came, for he would always answer with a violin movement. “Hey!” I called again, this time walking towards the wooden fence that divided me and my friend. There was once a little cottage, where he lived in across the fence. It was a small little building, only could house about four. But there--there was nothing there. Ruins and the smoke was all that was left of it.

I walked mindlessly, jumping over the short fence and onto the ruins. Some small flames were still burning, and I saw no one there, if I did I certainly did not want to, for I am sure they were not alive. He-he was gone. No one was there. The boy was gone.

My tears were falling as rain would, and I slowly walked back as I stumbled upon damaged items. I climbed over the fence and ran back to my house, crying my heart completely out. The lost of Old Noble was terrible to me, but the lost of a dear friend was heart-breaking, never did I think such things could happen in this cruel old world. My parents often asked what was wrong with me, and I would tell them about school or my kite. But I think they knew, I think they knew.

Every day, at the same time we would play, I would, by a tree, the tree I first met him behind, play his violin. It sounded better, but nothing was like his performances. My little sister would come behind me, and listen as if she played it herself. And behind that tree, we would both look lost with mindless eyes. Those mindless, teary eyes saw what we could no longer…. the boy and the violin.


© Copyright 2017 pearose. All rights reserved.

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