The Violin / by Cristina Cass

“Beautiful,” I breathe.

My eyes can almost feel the graceful object in her hands. My gaze drifts from the smooth, brown-red surface, glittering in the sunlight, to the light, airy strings, to the long, graceful bow. I can almost feel the music dancing through her very being, as I have seen her bow dance along those strings so many times.

“Shall I play?” I see the smile flit across her face, and her blue eyes sparkle as I nod shyly.

Her bow meets the very first strings of that beautiful instrument, and I swear, it could have been touched by some light-winged magic, as I hear the first notes burst like fireworks into the summer mountain air. I close my eyes for a split second, and I’m drowning in the flowing notes, falling into a sparkling, rushing river of magical sound.

In the blink of a second, my eyes are open again, wide and awestruck. They follow the bow, as it travels quickly and smoothly along the strings, sparking the notes, like the luminous glints of sunlight that pierce the clouds above.

I hear it like an orchestra in my ears. The sound rises, like a river, swelling up from its depths below, coming to meet the high mountaintops, like a wild force of nature. It shoots out in torrents, like the growing, rushing, burning breath of a great red dragon, surveying the stone castles and high hills of some fantastical, distant land.  It runs and leaps, like light feet over fields and stones, crossing rivers with its bounding melodies. It slashes through the air, like the jeweled sword of a great king, slaying the silence with it’s strong, fearless sound.

And then, her bow lifts off the strings, hovering in the air for a moment, with the poise of a butterfly. Then it’s soft feet land lightly on the strings once more, and this time the melody is different. It flows slowly, like the end of the river, the dragon as it lays down to sleep, the sword as it slips back into its sheath. Its bounding notes, like the agile feet of skilled hunter slow their pace. They run, they walk, and…ever so slowly, they come…finally…to a stop…a graceful end. Her bow drifts gently away from the strings, and her blue eyes turn to look at me.

With a sunlit smile and cheerful voice, she asks me, “What did you think?’

For a second, I am breathless. I just look at her, wide-eyed, searching for what to say. I’ve just heard a fantastical symphony but all I can come up with are three small, ordinary words.

“It was… lovely.”

Cristina Cass is a high school student from Chicago who has had short stories published in two small 826CHI publications, and interviews published in McSweeney's and the Chicago Reader. She enjoys music and baking, and is working on planning the first ever Teen Literary Fest in Chicago.