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Mar 2013
A sound better and livelier as ever startled me. Baffled and unaware of my surroundings, my eyes slowly opened, viewing my irresistible grandmother’s hand gently touching my cheek. Listening carefully, I noticed a beautiful sound coming from her voice. The warm-hearted, lovable lady warmly smiled down at me as my smile formed into the shape of a crescendo, getting larger and wider, finally to a laugh of pure joy. I knew one thing was certain to be true; I fell in love with the intriguing sounds bit by bit.
I awoke to the sight of my father playing his guitar at a medium volume. The sound of the instrument inspired me and motivated me to follow him. I lie in my crib listening intently to the various sounds coming from the guitar. It was almost morning, yet I thought it was later in the morning because my light was on its maximum strength. I watched his fingers move very quickly on the guitar, yet the sounds were beautiful.
“Good morning my love,” said my father smiling at me. “Did you have a good sleep, my love?” he said.
“Pno,” I said on my very own.
“What did you say my love?” said my father startled and impressed that I had just muttered my first word at age one. His smile was soothing in my opinion. His eyes became lively and big with complete shock and joy.
“Po neo.”
“Piano!” said my father ecstatic at the moment.
Considering music was his dream, he wanted me to take part in the wonderful career as well. He set his guitar down against my light blue-colored wall. Then my father went to my small rocking chair and sat down. He put his face in the palm of his hands. I thought he was crying and intimidated by me, but then I realized he was very proud of me and believed I would go far in life. He stood up and picked me up gently and set me down on a chair next to my piano. He smiled and embraced me with affection. I knew my father’s name by heart but I couldn’t manage to say it. It was William. He started playing simple notes on the keys with his thick, masculine hands. He played six notes, all with important meaning and full-care. He motioned for me to take part playing as well.
“No, no. You’ve done it all wrong my love. You must listen with ease and act how you feel,” said my father with concern.
I started weeping large sobs as my father talks in a loud tone with disapproval.
“What, my dear?” says William concerned.
I pressed a key on the piano and roar with laughter.
“You’ve got it my love,” said my father in a soft, mellow tone.
I then take again to the keyboard, this time with full confidence playing again. My father then sang a song while playing the piano. I didn’t know the name of the song, but he told me it was a song he had written after. That inspired me to write my own songs and play the piano and possibly the guitar.
“This is the world, I hail from.  The sorrows and pity we might feel for each other. But arised a God who’s mighty strong. Who turns our sorrows into pride and joy, and this is where I am hail from,” sang my father very emotional.
“You’ll go far my love, I promise you. One day music will save you...” said my father.
…28 years later those words stuck with me…
I was off to work going about my usual day. I was thirty one now and living with my girlfriend in our apartment. I still lived in my hometown, California. Whenever I thought of my hometown, the song “Hometown California,” came to me automatically. I’d just start singing. I wouldn’t consider myself an excellent singer, but that was just a hobby of mine. I was phenomenal at playing the piano and very good at playing the guitar in the eyes of many people.
…When the weekend finally came, I found the time on Saturday morning to fit a tennis match in with one of my good friends, Troy.  As we rally back and forth, something caught me by surprise. A grey-haired man about twice my age had an awkward looking smile that lit up his whole face. I was baffled at the bizarre stranger. He came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder.  I looked at him.
“Hello young fellow. My name is Harry Hayfold and I was wondering if you would like to train with me to become a professional tennis player.” said the man.
‘No thanks man, I’m just playing a match with my friend. Thanks anyways.” I said and I went back to rallying.
“Young fellow, please. You’ve great skill as I see,” said the older guy eager to say something more.
“I don’t think I want to train for hours for a chance at becoming a pro- tennis player. Thanks for the compliment though,” I said a little annoyed.
“It would be your loss sir.” said the man.
I just continued rallying with my friend. My friend looked baffled as well and felt bad for the guy. I didn’t care if he was still standing there; I just wanted to play. When we were finished rallying, we started a match. As I throw the ball up to serve, he shouts something right next to me.
“Would you please just listen to what I have to say?!” said the man angry.
“Oh, my god; could you leave us alone now?  I’m not doing the training classes; I have a job. I work in a music store, okay!” I said very annoyed.
My friend came over to my side of the tennis court and asked what the problem was to the man.
“I can’t stand people like you. You’re a liar and a creep.” said John.
“Which music store do you work at?” asked the man.
“It’s called Music Academy. Can you leave us alone now?” I said perturbed.
“I’m very sorry to have bothered you.” said the man.
“Yeah,” I said without any enthusiasm.
“No wait, he’ll be honored to do the classes with you sir. He needs money anyway,” said John’s friend Troy.
“What are you doing?!” I said to my friend with fury. “I will be fine financially once I get signed professionally which will happen troy. It will definitely happen. This guy… He’s out of his mind,” I said confident.
“What did you say your name was?” said the man.
“John.” I said.
“Excellent Johnathon.”“Meet me here on these same tennis courts tomorrow morning at eight o’clock. Don’t be late.” said Harry.
I smashed my racket as hard as I could on the ground with full force, releasing all of my stress and anger out on the court.
“Alright John,” said Troy with pity on him. We’ll hang out again soon.” He said and left.
“Crapola!”  I yelled in mid-air after everyone left.
The next day I don’t even consider going to the psychotic man’s tennis class. Instead, I make my way to work early.
As I’m exiting my shift at night, I noticed someone standing behind a wall. And there it was… I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Oh, no,” I whispered to myself.
“Hello Jonathon. You’re session was at eight am this morning. Have you forgotten?” he said concerned.
“Listen, I don’t think this whole business with the excessive training classes to make me into what I will never become and putting my job in jeopardy of getting fired, is going to work out,” I said with a smile.
“I’ve watched you work in the store John,” said the man concerned.
“Oh jeez, now I’ve got a personal stalker. This is gonna be interesting.” I whispered.
“How much do you make a week? I’ve come to sought you don’t look happy working there and want to become into a real musician.” said Harry.
I was just about to completely lose my mind when I took a deep breath and bit my tongue to avoid making a scene. My face turned so red.
“Once I get a record deal with the piano, then things will be even better for me. But as of now, I’m very happy, just not super happy. And you know what else, I’m so happy I began music because I couldn’t get much happier. Oh, the glory of being a musician would make me so happy. And you barging randomly into my life and ******* up everything… well I couldn’t get much happier!” I managed to scream at the end of my statement.
“Come with me John. Please let me help you find a way to forget that you’re not a musician.” said the man.
“My father was my inspiration. He’s dead now, yet I’m following in his footsteps because I want to.” I said.
“I see… I’m very sorry for your loss John,” said Harry with a fake sad expression on his face.
This man was driving me up the wall by now. I had had it with his monkey business.
There was a long pause…
“So tomorrow at eight?” I said completely unsatisfied, yet willing to experiment with what he had in mind to teach me.
“Yes, oh yes that would be just perfect John,” said Harry ecstatic.
We both started walking to our homes. He had walked rather quickly for an older guy, and me, slowly like I’d just had a pancreas failure.
When I arrived at my apartment, my girlfriend wasn’t there.
“Jenny, I’m home”… “Jenny, you there?” I said baffled at the silence. “Jennyyyyy”, I said playfully. Jennifer… Is dinner set toniiiight?” I said as I smiled at my own humor.
All of a sudden, the phone rang, which startled me and made me uninterested at this point to answer. I answered the phone anyway.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hello, this is a patient of Jennifer; is Jenny there?”
“No she isn’t at the moment,” I said unsure of my answer.
“Ok, thank you,” she said and hung up.
“You’re welcome,” I said sarcastically after she already hung up.
I walked into our bedroom to take my work clothes off and put pajamas on. The door was closed which got me a little concerned and angry. I walked in the bedroom and turned on the light.
“What the hell is going on here?! Get off my girlfriend you crazy *******!” I yelled.
“No John, please stop. He’s my fiancé John,” said Jenny annoyed with me.
“What are you talking about Jennifer?” I said raging with anger.
“Listen john, I’m sorry. Things weren’t working out between us recently and things just clicked between… well Steve and I.” she said.
“ I can’t believe what I am seeing right now,” said john through tears of disappointment and anger.
“Things weren’t working out between us John_”
“Yeah, I think you mentioned that already.” said John crying hysterically.
“Well don’t be sorry. Be sorry at yourself because I did nothing but treat you nicely. What happened to us Jenny? We were so in love with each other. I can’t believe what I am seeing.” I said.
My girlfriend my starting to cry now and as she began to speak I walked out stomping on the floor and slammed the front door as I exited my apartment.
“The next morning John arrived at the tennis courts that he visited two days ago with his friend.
“I’m here; let’s start playing tennis,” I said calmly.
“Wait, wait. I have not yet explained the concepts.” said Harry.
“Yeah, yeah, concepts. I know,” I said annoyed.
I picked up a tennis ball and hit it over the fence as hard as I could.
“Excellent work there John,” said Harry sarcastically.
“That was just a warm up professor. Now here comes glory,” I said about to ****** someone.
I slam my pre-broken racket on the floor so hard that it cracked in half. The man was outraged at the horrifying scene.
“I missed work this morning for this crapola?!” I yelled.
John, you’re crazy right now. Sit down and relax!” said Harry firmly.
“Music is all I want and you’re taking that away from me.” I said
“I apologize sir; I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” I said.
“Anymore? You haven’t even started playing yet,” said Harry with a little chuckle.
“Ok, fine; I’ll play.” I said. “I don’t have a racket now.” I said ashamed and guilty.
“That’s not my problem.” said Harry. “If you no longer have a racket, I will let you have my spare racket if you practice drills catching the ball precisely with only your hands.”
“Ha, you’re kidding right? That was a good one Harry; very good.” I said.
I tap him on the shoulder.
“See you tomorrow.” I said.
“Will you stop acting arrogant and negative for once John! I was serious about the hand drill.” said Harry.
“Ok then.” I said.
Harry got on the side opposite from my side. He took a bunch of ***** and out them in his pockets.
“Now John…I want you to catch the ball wherever I throw it okay?” said Harry.
“Yeah, I’m ready.” I said.
He fed the ball over the net and John caught the ball wherever he threw it. When he was getting exhausted from the number of ***** being fed to him, he took the ball and smashed it on the ground.
“What in heaven’s name has come over you?” asked the man terrified.
“Nothing, except the fact that my girlfriend is now getting married with her new fiancé and was having an affair in my bedroom. That is it ladies and gentleman, the show is now over,” I said sarcastically.
“Oh, haha…hahahahahahaahahaa.” Harry chuckled.
Harry burst out laughing.
“John, John, I’m sorry. The way you said it made me laugh, that’s all.” said Harry.
I run up to the old man about ready to **** him (not literally) when he started coughing. He fell down to his knees holding his chest.
“John,” he whispered trying to grasp more oxygen.
“What happened Harry? Are you alright?” I asked nervously panicking.
I ran off the court to get my cell phone in my tennis bag on one of the park benches and called an ambulance. I then run back to Harry.
“I’m calling an ambulance for you Harry. It’ll be okay,” I said about to cry from the sight of what just happened.
When the ambulance came, he was put on a stretcher by several paramedics and taken to the nearest hospital. I don’t bother calling my ex-girlfriend, knowing I was through with her insecure ways and immaturity level. I drove to the hospital following the ambulance as I drove. I arrived at the hospital minutes after him and sat in the waiting room for over two hours with his son who was about my age, if not older. The doctor came out looking down with tears in his eyes. He ripped off his glasses and fell to his knees. He stood up…
“I’m very sorry. There was nothing more I could precede on doing,” said the doctor.
The doctor walked away looking very upset and disappointed in himself and what happened. I turned to his son and saw such shock and disappointment in him.
“He was a very mysterious, outgoing person and a great father,” said his son through tears.
I nodded my head and smiled.
“My father tried to teach you basic steps of becoming a tennis player, but it wasn’t for a career. Trust me. He wanted you to learn something new. That’s all. He can be difficult at times, I know, but he is a very courageous man and loves helping others,” said his son smiling at me.
I was shocked. I was living an okay life with music. But now I realized that this man inspired me to follow chase after what you want. He taught me that things may be challenging in life, but you can overcome them if you work hard and love what you do in life. Even through financial problems, I realized that you can still achieve your dreams and it is never too late to start a record deal. His son left the hospital before me without mentioning what his name was. I believed the Harry and his family were a mystery, but a good mystery. I showed up to the music store the next morning and the manager of the store had exhilarating news for me. I had gotten signed by a famous musician! This was the best day of my whole entire life and I could not have asked for anything more in life.
“Signed by Buddy Clark, I present to you your record deal. Sign this and you have a chance to work with this talented man for a chance at achieving your dream John. Well done, we’re all very proud of you,” said the manager of the store.
All of the workers in the store started cheering me on and applauding my superb work and efforts. I was now in tears of pure joy and I felt worth something major for the first time.
“Thanks a lot Jason,” I said to the manager of the store. “This is a gift; it means the world to me,” I said as I gave him a hug.
I realized life is not all about tennis or music. It’s the important things in music that make you feel out of this world amazed. People may have a strong opinion about something they love, but never take a person for granitite.
Written by
Shari Forman  New York
(New York)   
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