Part of this introduction is a lesson that your body is just as important as the instrument you use it to play. They tell you that you should listen to your body, and if something hurts there’s a reason. You shouldn’t mistake destruction for the good pain of muscle development. What they don’t teach you is what you’re supposed to do when the damage has already been done. No one can prepare you to completely change your life, abandon all of your current goals at nineteen.
The thing about nerve damage is, it’s usually not something that happens abruptly. You don’t just wake up one day with your body completely unwilling to follow instructions. It’s something that happens gradually and it’s so easy to ignore because this is the type of damage that happens when the pain subsides.
For a violinist, it’s easier to notice a tiny change in sensitivity – not because you know you can’t feel it, but because your ears are hearing something that completely disagrees with your hands. Your pinkie, an always trusted companion, suddenly isn’t where he’s supposed to be and you can’t actually feel that he’s gone. It’s like waking up and remembering you’re sleeping alone because you can’t hear the other person breathing.
It’s not until you start dropping things that you really begin to comprehend what nerve damage means. With Cubital Tunnel Syndrome it’s hard to get past the soreness in your elbows or the pain shooting down the outside of your forearms. Other people, they just think you’re clumsy, unaware of your surroundings. But the truth is, you knew you had a firm hold on that cup. That bowl of cereal you dumped all over the couch for no reason – it was perfectly balanced in your left hand; and that tray of drinks you spilled all over that customer, well, that was just a rite of passage.
Inside a black, canvas-covered case, padded with foam and covered in green velvet, my true love resides. Some people close their eyes and feel the phantom touch of a long lost love. I can still feel the pressure of a thin gold E-string cutting into my fingertips, my thumbnail sinking into the scarred leather of my bow. I close my eyes and I can once again rest my cheek on the shoulder of my violin patiently waiting for a rehearsal to start, not realizing the simple comfort I took in the feeling of a chin rest pushing into my right bicep or the way my shoulder rest held my waist as my instrument lay tucked under my arm.
When you hear the phrase “nerve damage” you think of terrible accidents – you think of athletes with torn tendons and of live completely changed by a single moment. Who you don’t picture is an otherwise healthy nineteen year old violinist.
I was raised to ignore pain. Allowing pain to interfere with any task was unacceptable. As an adolescent, “suck it up” was my mantra. Illness was not something to stop your life for and injury was no exception. If you could stay away from the bathroom long enough without vomiting, you were healthy enough to go to school; to go to work: you weren’t sick enough to acknowledge.
By these standards, a small twinge of pain in your left elbow is beyond negligible and a burning ache in the wrist is certainly nothing to acknowledge beyond a tiny grimace.
In your first semester as a music major at any institution, you are welcomed further into a culture that was, before you arrived, probably only a small portion of your daily life. Freshman orientation courses in the music building teach you how that building will be your home. Practice rooms should be seen more often than dorm rooms and, yes, we even petitioned to have a café here specifically for you because, who would ever want to leave here – except maybe to sleep.
Beginning from a single point in the glass snaking cracks worked their way out creating a web of destruction. Once a shining smooth surface, it was now a treacherous landscaped marred by deep crevices reaching through to the other side. What was previously a unified whole was now, nearly shattered into countless pieces.
Beneath this devastated surface, moments from the past were still laying peacefully; those tranquil shots from a distant past: a creek luminous with the light of a late afternoon sun, a blazing sunset beneath an old bridge. Those pictures, taken to adorn the wall of a happy humble home; taken for longevity with no fear for the future.
As she carefully, slowly gathered the shards of glass she knew there would be nothing to salvage. After enough damage, no amount of repair can return something to how it once was. She scooped the broken pieces into a filthy old dustpan and carried it over to the trash. Pausing a moment, she looked at the pictures which had been dragged across the floor along with the glass. Scratched and dusty, she decided they were no longer worth keeping.
Beginning from a single point in the glass, snaking cracks worked their way out creating a web of destruction. Once a shining smooth surface, it was now a treacherous landscaped marred by deep crevices reaching through to the other side. What was previously a unified whole was nearly shattered into countless pieces.
Beneath this devastated surface, moments were still laying peacefully; those tranquil shots from a distant past: a creek luminous with the light of a late afternoon sun, a blazing sunset beneath an old bridge. Those pictures were taken on a romantic and impulsive day-trip to adorn the wall of a happy humble home; taken for longevity with no fear of the future.
As she carefully, slowly gathered the shards of glass she knew there would be no return. After enough damage, no amount of repair can return something to how it once was. She scooped the broken pieces into a filthy old dustpan and carried it over to the trash. Pausing a moment, she looked at the pictures in the pan which had been dragged along with the glass. Scratched and dusty, she decided they were no longer worth keeping.
Tomorrow, she would buy a new frame.
I sat staring at my screen, silently begging him to log on. Taking another bite of my pizza, I impatiently tabbed out to check my Facebook.
Anyone who spends enough time playing MMOs would agree that after a while, you wind up just killing time while waiting for people to log on. When a friend convinces you to spend the $29.95 for the original game, that same friend fails to mention how, after enough time has passed, that game will become your entire circle of friends; that for $29.95 you’re buying a niche culture: a ticket for admittance into a society unto itself.
That being said, I absentmindedly scrolled down my feed, not really paying attention to the self-absorbed status updates of my friends, the random declarations or various links to videos ranging from strange to informative to disgusting or entertaining. I just wanted him to log on. My entire conscious will was focused on urging his name to appear in the bottom left hand corner of my screen.
I sighed deeply, typed in the address for Pandora and tabbed back into my game. Pressing the “o” button I opened my friends list to see if he’d logged while I wasn’t looking. No luck.
[Guild][Markiemark]: anyone wanna do nething
[2.Trade][Herburgers]: Anal [Force Strike]
[2.Trade][Sheasdamon]: Anal [Thunderclap]
[Guild][Zoghsleak]: id do your mom
[Guild][Peadasdf]: Dude, you don’t wanna do his mom. Believe me. I’ve seen her. I’ve see crack whores who look better than her.
[2.Trade][Chromiumdelta]: anal [Tranquility]
[Guild][Candienziia]: lol it’s prolly true…
[Guild][Candienziia]: i mean, we know what she produced
[John Smith] (Conjulamo) has come online.
Finally. He was on.
Please feel free to submit any comments. I probably won’t continue this since it doesn’t have much viability as a story, but I felt like I needed something to get me started. Thank you to whomever may read this. :)