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No Sweat

Tags: music, beach, fears

A beautifully mundane moment.

An artificial stillness crept into the air around me, as sets of eyes waited for what was to come. My terror, growing from each stare, fastened its grip, constricting my breath until it was unbearable . I can’t handle playing for my family let alone a crowd. I needed to escape this asphyxiation; find somewhere, no, anywhere to go. Should I stop and just leave? But pride tethered me firmly to that warm sand, and there I sat, waiting with my guitar. After all, I gave my family my word. Each passing second served to augment this quiet intensity’s campaign, steadily chiseling away at my resolve, as only time knows how. The ocean’s eternal song was the only balance to be found, its gentle ambiance lulling my thankful composure to relaxation. Alright, it’s time to take a breath. As I bid farewell to my anxiety, a new-found confidence coursed through me, fending off my weariness, and signaled that it was time to face my crowd. Two people lazily glanced my way while the others preferred to melt into the sand. Satisfied, my gaze wandered away from the fellow vacationers in front of me, away from the unending hues pouring out of that evening Cape Cod sky, away from the pressures of the world, and toward the only thing that mattered: my instrument. And I played.

I played for the sake of playing, just as I had hundreds of times before, with the same practiced nuances and timings that only repetition can produce. I want to get better; to practice for the sake of others, to be the change, push past my limits. Each note changing the sound subtly, but entirely, as the experience shifted into something more personal. It was now a reflection, expressed not in words, yet understood by all; a reflection translated through the universal language of music. As my last note’s echo faded into the ocean’s next verse, a warm air greeted me. Shyly I looked up, unsure of what was to come. My gaze met the beaming faces of those who had recognized the song, soon to be mere silhouettes in the approaching sunset, and I sat there, perfectly content. Nothing is more satisfying than brightening someone’s day. Bathed in the light of that brilliant vermilion sky, I washed away the darkness that had lingered for so long and saw clearly for the first time.

I played on.

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