Snow was falling outside blanketing the ground in a thin sheet of white. It was only an inch, but according to the man on Channel 5 there was definitely a cause for concern if Mother Nature had anything to do with it. We were set to have a full on snow storm at some point during the day. The think blanket outside wasn’t anything to worry about, but in a town like ours, almost anything no matter how big or small was a cause for concern.
Amir has just finished getting ready when they started announcing school cancellations for the day, and sure enough his was among them. Instead of feeling relief, he just felt annoyed. He had made sure to wake up extra early to get some more studying in before his calculus exam, but now it would seem that that had been a waste of time.
He sat at the kitchen table sipping on a mug of peppermint hot chocolate. He had tried coffee, but found he didn’t like it all that much. It was always either too bitter or too sweet, there was no in between really.
His mother and father were busy mulling about, fixing breakfast. They were initially off from work, but calling in sick has always done wonders, and adding the occasional cough is always a good selling point. And no one questions anyone when the weather is so cold that the doors ice shut and the roads are slick.
“Where’s Jude?” asked Amir.
“He’s getting some extra sleep thanks to the school cancellations. But I’m about to go wake him up. Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes.” Mom never stopped what she was doing as she spoke. She was great at multitasking, and so was Amir. He hadn’t always been, but being constantly interrupted while practicing the Cello got pretty old, especially with a talkative little brother.
Amir fell into a daze swirling a spoon around in his mug of hot chocolate so that the powder mix didn’t sink to the bottom in a puddle of brown sludge, even though it always seemed to in the end anyway. He’s broken out of it by his mother sitting a plate of food down in front of him and a newspaper.
Confused Amir looks up at his mother, his brows furrowed almost touching.
“There’s a pretty nice picture of your young man in there,” said Mom.
“A picture? Really?”
“Yep. It’s about the most we’ve seen of him since summer,” Mom said, giving him a sidelong glance with her eyebrow arched, her version of a soul-searching stare.
“I know,” replied Amir, and then without meaning to, he sighs. Brendon’s band, Shooting Star, is on an upward spiral, which is a great thing—mostly.
“Ah, fame, wasted on the youth,” said Dad, but he’s smiling. Amir knew that he was excited for Brendon, proud even.
Amir leafs through the newspaper to the calendar section. There’s a small blurb about Shooting Star, with an even smaller picture of the four of them, next to a big article about Bikini and a huge picture of the band’s lead singer: punk-rock diva Dawn Vega. The bit about them basically says that local band Shooting Star is opening for Bikini on the Portland leg of Bikini’s national tour. It doesn’t mention the even-bigger-to-me news that last night Shooting Star headlined at a club in Seattle and, according to the text Brendon sent him at midnight, sold out the place.
“Are you going tonight,” asked Dad.
“I was planning to. It depends if they shut down the whole state on account of the snow.”
“It is approaching a blizzard,” said Dad, pointing to a single snowflake floating its way down to earth.
“I’m also supposed to rehearse with some Pianist from the college that Professor Christie dug up.” Professor Christie was a retired music teacher at the university whom Amir has been working with for the past few years, who is always looking for victims for him to play with. “Keep you sharp so you can show all those Juilliard snobs how it’s really done,” she’d say.
Amir hadn’t gotten into Juilliard yet. But his audition had gone really well. The Bach suite and the Shostakovich had both flown out of him like never before, like his fingers were just an extension of the strings and bow. When he had finished playing, panting; his legs shaking from pressing together too hard, one judge had clapped a little, which he guessed didn’t happen very often. As I’d shufﬂed out, that same judge had told me that it had been a long time since the school had “seen an Oregon country boy.” Professor Christie had taken that to mean a guaranteed acceptance. I wasn’t so sure that was true. And I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I wanted it to be true. Just like with Shooting Star’s meteoric rise, my admission to Juilliard—if it happens—will create certain complications, or, more accurately, would compound the complications that have already cropped up in the last few months.
“I need more coffee. Anyone else?” Mom asks, hovering over me with the ancient percolator.
I sniff the coffee, the rich, black, oily French roast they all prefer. The smell alone is amazing and perks him up. But he still preferred hot chocolate.
“I’m pondering going back to bed,” said Amir. “My cello’s at school, so I can’t even practice.”
Mom let’s out an exaggerated gasp. “No practice? For twenty-four hours? Be still my broken heart,” Mom said. Though she’s acquired a taste for classical music over the years—“it’s learning to appreciate a stinky cheese”—she’s been a not-always-delighted captive audience for many of my marathon rehearsals.
There was a crash and a bang that came from upstairs. Jude was awake and banging at his drums, he only did that on a good morning, and having school cancelled was definitely a good morning for him.
“We should all go fro a drive. Maybe stop by Henry and Willows and visit the baby,” suggested Mom.
“And my folks place for a late dinner,” added Dad.
Amir likes idea the second it is suggested. He knew he should take the day off from school to practice the cello or do something else productive, but the sound of a free day was very tempting. “I’ll go tell Jude and get ready,” he said, running up the stairs two at a time.
*Hope you like this. If there are any typos or anything feel free to tell me, I wrote most of this on my phone. Comments are very much appreciated.*