Tuesday, March 30, 2021


During the Blitz, the Murphy family lived underground most of the time. They were cramped in that burrow for the duration, listening to bombs and rockets crunch above. Then of all times, their daughter decided to learn the tuba. There was no school anymore, they were cooped up below London with nothing else to do. They tried to delicately explain how she really didn’t need to play tuba, there were other things to master like Spanish guitar. But her mind was made up and every day the tin ration cans on the shelf would rattle. Her family found ways of being discreet with scarves wrapped over their ears until they just had to ask her to give them a little peace. It was a war and they couldn’t even hear the bombs! They led her upstairs, out the latched door into what used to be a backyard full of flowers. Her mother placed a chair in the rubble and said, “You can play your tuba here for all the world to hear.” Then her family crept back underground. She sat down and the chair creaked. The tuba was the brightest thing on the landscape, a brass dandelion. One that sounded like the 2 o’clock train bound for Brixton before it was blown off the tracks. The music she played clawed at the air and held on for dear life like all the balloons of prayers that float in a cathedral.

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