[Jesse, Isa, Kaki, and Cassy are sitting together talking about music and instruments. By which I mean Jesse is silently listening while the three band members talk. Angela is elsewhere.]
Isa turned to Jesse, "And what about you?"
There was silence, all attention turned to Jesse and it made her uncomfortable, and threatened to bring up bad memories she fought to keep down. She stammered, "I don't.. I mean I'm not... I've never..."
"What's your favorite instrument?" Cassy asked, her tone was non-threatening and encouraging. That helped set Jesse at ease some.
"I don't know," Jesse said, "I just listen. I'm not like you."
"Have you ever played one?" Isa asked.
Jesse said, "No."
"What, not even a recorder at school?" Kaki asked.
"No..." the trailing silence was filled with surprised looks, "Is that odd?" Jesse asked.
Cassy says, "Well to us, but apparently not for you."
Kaki asked, "Do any singing?"
"No," Jesse said.
"So in your entire life you've never produced music," Isa said in a way that seemed to fall somewhere in the gap between question and statement.
"That's right," Jesse said. "I'm not like you guys-" none of the three would have had a problem with her saying that but Jesse corrected to, "girls-" then corrected to, "women-" then finally settled on, "musicians. I don't play, I don't sing, I just listen."
"Well we can't have that," Isa said. Kaki and Cassy looked at each other in knowing ways leaving Jesse with the impression that she was the only one who didn't know what was coming next. "You have to play at least one instrument at least once in your life. Pick an instrument. I'll teach you. If you don't like it you can never do it again, but try."
There was silence.
"Come on," Isa said, "just name an instrument."
Jesse looked around. She looked at Cassy, seamstress for the band and drummer . . . who played clarinet too. Kaki, guitar, and an eclectic mix of things that appeared in one song only: saxophone, flute, trumpet, triangle, what else? Isa, base and keyboard and god knew how many other things because where Kaki might play an instrument only used for a single song, Isa would play ones that only appeared in a single line. And when not on stage spent some of her time playing things that never appeared in the band's music.
Jesse tried to think of the most obscure instrument in existence. Something certain not to be around.
Finally she said, "Glass armonica."
"Sure thing," Isa said, then got up and walked away.
"Wait, you have one?" Kaki nodded. "I didn't mean that. I meant harpsichord!" Jesse shouted in Isa's direction. Then turned back to Kaki and Cassy. "She doesn't have a harpsichord, right?"
"Well, that depends," Kaki said.
"Do you mean she doesn't have one with her, or she doesn't have one at all?" Cassy asked.
Jesse simply responded with a stunned look on her face.
"It's why we'll never be rich," Cassy said. "We buy things."
"As soon as money is had, money is spent," Kaki added.
Cassy said, "And Isa can spend like nobody's business because what she likes-"
"More than anything," Kaki added.
Cassy finished, "-is instruments."
There was a bit of a silence.
Then Kaki said, "A lot of the ones I play actually belong to her."
Isa returned with a long wooden box, put it in front of Jesse, then disappeared for a moment and came back with a bowl of water.
When the box was opened a series of horizontal nested glass bowls was revealed.
Isa started talking, "It's got an electric motor to keep it going at a steady pace, and some stuff so the sound can be amplified, but other than that it's just your bog standard glass armonica."
Jesse did nothing. Isa turned on the motor and the bowls started to slowly spin.
Jesse did nothing.
"Come on, touch it, it doesn't bite." Jesse did nothing. "I'll prove it to you." Isa put one of her own fingers in the water, then lay it on one of the rotating bowls. A clear distinctive note sang out until she removed her finger. "See, no biting."
Jesse did nothing.
Isa sat down beside her. "I'm not going to force you do it. If you really want to never play an instrument in your life, ok. Blasphemy, but that's ok. But sometimes you need to try new things and... and seriously did you ever even thing you were going to this close to one of these? All that I'm asking, and that's what I'm doing -asking, not demanding-, is that you give it a try."
Jesse slowly wet her fingers, and then placed one upon a spinning bowl. A note sang out. Isa smiled, then she placed another on a different bowl. And again. Like a child who knew nothing of music playing a piano an erratic tune was produced.
Isa asked, "Would you like me to teach you to play."
"I don't know," Jesse said. "Maybe."
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