The flute

September 19, 2005 | 13 comments
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Jessica is sad.

It’s Friday afternoon and the algebra class is dragging on.

Jessica is the only Mormon in this small Catholic parish school. Except for nine-year-old Chrissie in the elementary section across the narrow playground, but that hardly counts. Jessica is in high school.

It is late September, still sunny. The windows are open and sounds from other classes drift by. The two sycamores on the playground gather light on their yellowing leaves. But today, for Jessica, the world is black and red.

Yes, agreed, she has a few friends here. But the frontiers are rigid between clans. And the Word of Wisdom is a shaky rope to walk when teasers rock the poles.

Jessica is sad for things still to be lost. Lost in what she has learned to call the elusiveness of life. Words make concepts to adopt. She harbors regrets, not knowing where the pain comes from. Wishing to be someone else. Feeling guilty for her fury last night at home. Convinced of future failures.

Right now she could scribble a poem filled with doubts and hurt and scars and stains and a bleeding heart and life hanging on a hinge.

Suddenly, time stops. The teacher falls silent, lifts her head. Faces turn to the windows. The buzzing from other classes dies out. From the other side of the playground, the melody of a flute fans out over the school. It comes from the fourth grade.

It’s only one of the children, assigned to show a talent, and playing with the hesitant charm of a child. But the slow, unknown tune is carried by the wind or by angels. The school listens.

Jessica bites on her lip. A wave of bliss scatters the gloom.

She is the only one who knows. Chrissie is playing I am a Child of God.

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13 Responses to The flute

  1. Steve Evans on September 19, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    wonderful.

  2. b bell on September 19, 2005 at 5:02 pm

    Amazingly well written.

  3. Keryn on September 19, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Brother Decoo.

  4. harpingheather on September 19, 2005 at 7:06 pm

    Simply beautiful.

  5. manaen on September 19, 2005 at 7:29 pm

    I stop by for a moment’s break from work, read this, and now my eyes are wet.
    You’re making this site unsafe!

  6. Melanie on September 19, 2005 at 8:19 pm

    Your posts are always my favorite.

  7. Heather Oman on September 19, 2005 at 8:22 pm

    I was just thinking, “Man, the bloggernacle’s boring today”, and then this. Thanks.

  8. jeanette palmer on September 19, 2005 at 10:39 pm

    Walking a shaky rope, it is easy to fall off. For those of who do fall and question, the angles’ wings are always willing to bear home those who wish to try again. Failure is inevitable with free agency, many people I know forget this simple and important concept. The simple faith and hope of a childs song often has moved me more than anything else could-simple faith can keep you floating in a world full of hypocricy and dichotomies. What a beautiful post-thank you!

  9. Ryan Black on September 20, 2005 at 7:43 am

    I, for one, do not want to get caught at the law office with tears in my eyes. My coworkers might smell blood in the water. Please stop posting…or maybe I can just shut the door and let my eyes water away. Childlike faith is a wonderful thing–too bad there isn’t more of it in the world.

  10. Wilfried on September 20, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks all for the kind comments. I do appreciate the echo’s.

    Apologies for wet eyes at the work place. Perhaps you can say you have a fit of ophthalmic incontinence.

  11. annegb on September 21, 2005 at 9:51 pm

    As usual, a sweet uplifting post that makes me feel good about the world. You are a gem.

  12. Wilfried on September 21, 2005 at 11:38 pm

    Thanks, annegb! Such a compliment from one of our most assiduous and to-the-point commenters is greatly appreciated.

  13. Barb on September 22, 2005 at 5:35 pm

    I really enjoyed it!