My breathing is soft and slow, my heart beat rhythmic against my ribs as I stand behind those red curtains backstage. I can hear a gentle hum emanating from the other side of the curtain, which is unmistakably the sound of a cheering audience. I smile to myself. I have gotten so used to being in this position now that it is hard to believe there had once been a time when being in a state like this would have caused me to cringe with nervousness. But that was a long while ago. I have been going out on that stage, performing for the millions of people who gather to see me and bowing to the cheers and applause of appreciation for as long as I can remember now. This is where I feel content, where I feel complete. This is where I belong.
I stroke the glossy, polished wood surface of the violin the production house has offered me for tonight. It is obviously a violin of the best quality, just the right size, with just the right tuning to make it perfect. I go out onstage every night and play famous notes on a different violin, each better than the other, but never once have I felt…comfortable playing them. They are of the best available quality, no doubt about that, but something never feels right. Earlier, I could never quite place my finger on the reason. But today, as I stand facing the closed curtains which are soon going to be drawn, I find the answer dawning on me.
I bring out the old, battered violin case which holds my most prized possession. The full-size pinewood violin, ancient in its origin but still as sparkly new in my eyes as it ever had been. I run my aged fingers along its surface reminiscently, pondering how long it had been since I had touched this instrument and feeling a warm glow of gentle happiness in my heart upon remembering the feeling I got every time I held it. It was everything to me. The music that was created when my fingers touched the bow that was united with this violin dwelt in everything around me and everything within me. I presume you must be wondering why this particular instrument means so much to me. You must have probably even come up with plausible theories about it. Was this passed down to me by my great-great grandfather? Was it something I had been presented with by a loved one? No. The reality of the significance of this violin in my life is a lot different than that.