“Sit down over here” Michael’s mother instructed him as they walked along the balcony of Symphony Hall.
His grandmother had bought him and his parents tickets to the symphony in an effort to help him to become more ‘cultured’. He was wanting no part of it though. He could watch the symphony on YouTube if he really wanted to. What was the point of coming here? The lights dimmed a little and Michael sat up a bit looking toward the stage. There were still people gently talking all around the hall. Then a group of musicians came out carrying instruments and sat down. A few tuned their instruments and remained still. Finally, a man came out and stood on the platform in the spotlight and held up his hand high in the air, then looked at all of the musicians and waved his hand, and simultaneously, they began playing the Theme from Jurassic Park as John Williams directed them in tempo. It sent a chill up the boy’s spine. He was instantly mesmerized. Michael watched the musicians playing, each individual but all part of a greater voice.
That was when Michael saw it.
The boy watched from the balcony as the little girl in the summer dress slowly inched closer and eventually sat next to the large amplified speaker sitting next to the stage. She had long auburn hair and fair skin, both a stark contrast to the pale blue dress she was wearing. The girl had been sitting three seats over from him before the concert began and although the boy had noticed her, he did not speak to her. He had no idea when she had gone downstairs. Now she slowly reached out and touched the speaker, the sounds of the orchestra pouring out of it as John Williams’s right hand swiped from left to right in the air while his left changed pages on his music stand less than fifty feet from her. She closed her eyes and placed her head on the side of the black box and was clearly moved as was the boy sitting a hundred feet away above her. A kettle drum bellowed and she smiled, eyes still closed as the orchestra neared the crescendo of Star Wars. The girl, so small next to the massive speaker, the boy couldn’t believe that the sound wasn’t too much for her to handle. He noticed a few people looking at her and briefly wondered if she was doing something against the rules.
The little girl’s smile was illuminated as if lit up by heaven. She had an ethereal beauty about her and an innocent discovery that he wasn’t completely sure he understood. The girl looked back and up at the balcony, seeing the boy looking down at her and smiled warmly, then pointed at the black box she was leaning on. The boy smiled and shrugged his shoulders, not understanding what she was trying to convey. He stared at her, his blue eyes locked on her brown eyes and for a moment, the room was empty, save the boy, the girl, and the music. For a fraction of time, it made sense to him and the moment passed. Then the girl looked to the boy’s right and moved her hands in front of her face, making gestures at the woman nearby.
The woman looked over at the boy and smiled, causing the boy to have a puzzled reaction, feeling like he was missing something that had transpired between the two of them. The woman leaned across the aisle and whispered to the boy, “She wants to know if you feel the music.”
He looked confused, “Feel the music?”
“My daughter is deaf, she’s never heard music before. This is the first time she has ever experienced a concert and is listening to the orchestra by feeling the vibrations in the speaker down there.”
The boy smiled and looked down at the girl who was eagerly anticipating his response. He nodded and delighted, she went back and put her arms and head down on the box, feeling it vibrate as the next piece in the Star Wars ensemble played out.
Suddenly, the concert was no longer interesting to the boy for the girl was so much more fascinating. She felt the music and she talked with her hands, from across the room. He yearned to understand more.
During the intermission, the girl came back up to her mother gesturing excitedly. The boy stepped across the aisle to the woman. “Why does she move her hands like that?”
“It’s how she talks. It’s called sign language.” The woman made a sign with her hand off of her forehead in a motion, “This means ‘hello’.”
The boy looked at the girl and gestured ‘hello’. The girl signed some more gestures, to which the woman translated. “Her name is Kasmira. She wants to know where you’re from.”
“We live in Chestnut Hill.” he replied, to which her mother translated, speaking aloud as she signed, “He lives in Chestnut Hill, not far from where we live in Cambridge.”
She nodded, “What’s your name?” her mother asked.
“Michael,” he replied, looking over at his own parents who were watching patiently.
The girl’s mother signed out the letters of his name.
“She would like to know if you want to come over for a play date this weekend.”
Michael looked toward his parents and his mother nodded. “Sure, sounds good. Just let me know your address.” his mother said.
Over the next several days, Michael spent over an hour each day watching how to sign on YouTube, he was amazed that there was an entire language that existed where you never had to say a single word out loud.
Saturday finally came and Michael and his parents stood on Kasmira’s step. The door opened and the little girl stood on the step and smiled at Michael. He made the sign for “Hello, thank you for inviting me.” She smiled and said in sign language, “You’re welcome. Would you like to play hide and seek?”
Confused he looked up at her mother who was standing behind her, “She wants to play hide and seek.” He nodded and ran in after her.
~ Check next week for the conclusion ~