Mozart / by laurel

Sometimes I wonder if the life I lead is a small one. I realize that smallness isn’t such a terrible thing, but is it small because I haven’t been brave? Today I drove home from work, Jimi Hendrix’ Blues causing wheels to rotate and ignitions to fire. The mountains to my left seemed so immense, so foreboding, resting in their bigness. Smog hovered around their flexing muscled foothills and the only thing I could think was eyes on the road.

I recognize safety in my day to day meanderings, but it has left a sour taste in my mouth as of late. When I was younger, I would play the piano to feel courageous. For some reason, beating the hell out of those ivories, coaxing the song into a slow build, a dizzying, rushing finale, and an eventual pounding baseline, seemed so brave. It seemed unsafe because the song wasn’t going to play itself, man, and I owed it to Mozart or whoever to play it just this once, and get it right. But sometimes the melody would just move, against my formal expectations, notes slipping, cascading into shameful defeat. Other times my fingers would fly, muscles twitching faster than the neurons in my brain could fire, and my hands were truly something on their own. I would create this infinitely delicate hurricane of noise, notes rising and falling.

But even still, I only played what was placed in front of me—evidence of another person’s bravery. I’d be terrified of letting myself create something of my own. At my most daring, I am merely recreating. I’m a copycat, living someone else’s life and parading it as my own.

Heartbreaking, really. And perplexing; how, exactly, did I create this cozy, contented tomb for myself? Afraid of failure, perhaps—although that seems to be more to the tune of a psychoanalytical cop-out ballad.

But there it exists—that half-lidded, sleepy little girl within me, deep down anxious and terrified and thoroughly complex. But isn’t even complexity just a mask to hide the terrifying truth of being fully known? Or maybe it’s that being fully known also means being fully exposed. Suddenly, she’s not so complex anymore. Only fearful and safe. Singing to the tune of someone else’s song. (writing clichés that even Cal Contrite would scoff at).

The moon hung at half-mast tonight, a single star dangling from its drooping earlobe in the immense twilight. Somewhere in that vastness I felt very much lost and out of place. It seems that in immensity the only people who belong are the renegades, the brave souls, the desperados. Where, then, for the girl spooked by her own shadow, or the shadow of the unknowable present state, or the shadow of things within herself she doesn’t like?

And so I’ll wait and hope that someday I shall be brave. I hope that I can pound those keys with abandon and no ulterior motive. In the end, hope is the bravest thing I have. So I’ll wait for that sleepy moon and those dangling stars in that too-big sky, and when those constellations wink back at me, I’ll sing out at the top of my lungs.