The brass section

November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

It is too big to carry, really. It must weigh as much as a small child.

The young man in the lift at the station stands his tuba case next to him as if it were his younger brother; aloof but involuntarily protective, he keeps hold of the top of it with one hand as he descends, staring straight ahead at the glass doors of the lift and the empty platform disappearing from view.

His hair laps in inconsistent waves at the collar of his anorak, a coat that was clearly bought for him whilst words like ‘sensible’ and ‘practical’ were used with chivvying efficiency. He is not someone for whom a second glance would be offered, save for that huge black case; it’s the only thing anyone asks him about, and after he tells them it’s a tuba and they realise that he is not some heavy brass Menuhin but merely a drab young man with skin like tapioca, he knows that it’s easiest to look down, to forget about them, and to think about the evening’s rehearsals. More specifically this evening, and about how it might have been if, when the tall slight boy with the cherubic pout had lifted his lips away from the mouthpiece of his trumpet after a solo performance, his eye had alighted not on that new girl with the ginger hair – so obvious! – but instead had fluttered across to catch on the hopeful glance of this whey-faced boy whose hot fingers glistened faintly on the valves of his dulled instrument.

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