(photo credit: iceboundseven1 on flickr)
There are friends who tell you how they feel, then there are good friends who go the extra mile to show you.
I’d met with one such friend the other day. One of those random lunches here and there. I don’t normally fess up to the goings-on and going-wrongs in my life, but today I did. The anguish wanted out. I felt bad for inundating my friend with the woes and oh-no’s, but he nodded along and listened. My soul was a little more bare thereafter, and I swear it almost bowled him over into not knowing what to do with me after all that. I didn’t know if I’d spilled too much, or if he’d dismiss my sudden foray into, well, leaning on him as a friend who might understand.
But he did something surprising once I got it all out. He didn’t pick up the tab, he picked up on an idea. A better idea.
“I want to take you somewhere, show you something,” he offered.
We met up at this unimpressive shop shoved into a hole in the wall on a downtown side street. Unmarked and unadvertised.
“Trust me, you should see this.”
What I thought was a dingy thrift shop was instead a collection of rarities that shone upon inspection and introspection. How he knew about this gem when I didn’t — that didn’t matter. But here were things that began unremarkable and became more remarkable as we learned about them. Sheet music drafts from George Gershwin. Notes written by John Coltrane. A microphone used to record Dean Martin.
We went further, seeking out the shop’s other items of note and record. A slide trumpet. A rare twin-didgeridoo. Harmonicas fashioned from silver and gold. A baby-baby grand that stood atop a table in a corner, like a Steinway had met a shrink ray.
“You look at all this,” my friend said, “these things, these instruments, they needed a soul. They need a soul. Don’t forget that.”
He was right. There was a beauty they lacked without someone who could give them that soul.
“You know, I can’t tell you what I think about what you’re going though,” he added. “Let me show you.”
We slipped through a narrow aisle toward an obscured, dimly-lit showcase near the back. Velvet, framed in gold, under glass. He beckoned me to look.
“No,” I whispered, “I don’t see anything.”
Sure enough, I peered further and there, just rising out of its surroundings — a dainty speck. This tiny dot-like thing, just a fleck. I could still barely make it out.
“What – what is it?”
He smiled, putting a comforting hand on my shoulder.
“It’s the world’s smallest violin.”