Simone was among the smallest of the small, a flutist of the smallest size,
Who carried herself well, and seemed to be taller than she was, at least in her mind,
Making her among the tallest, among those who could strut their stuff across the marching field.
She was proud, even on these practice days, when the dew of morning would
Make the practice areas so wet, and make her roll her pants up to just below her knees,
And her shoes would be soaked before it was over, and her heart would melt
Inside the flute, so big it seemed, compared to her hundred pounds.
Simone left little to chance, her eyes were forward, yet they moved quickly
From side to side, always checking her position on the field, and her
Position among those with her, and her position in what she perceived to be
The best among them.
One, two, three, four, five, six. Repeat. One, two, three, four, five, six. Six to five
They marched, long strident steps for the five foot of her, almost as if she was
Carrying the length of the world upon her shoulders. Her back was straight, her head
High up, toward the southern sky that held not a cloud, and the footsteps of those
Around her, the Flutist, till the turn, then the French horns crossing her path,
And she listened for the cue among them, and realized they carried their instrument
But there was nothing to be heard, as their mouths looked as though they played
Yet only the mouth pieces knew, it was but a scam of time.
She was wrapped in the image, that being here, on this field of one hundred twenty,
There was a leader, if you thought of it, too lead them in their playing,
But the real leader was her, briskly marching; head up, down the field, and hearing
The slides of the trombones, bam bammer, bam bam, up and down, as they never looked,
But kept time, her flute so bright and cheery, and so lost in the mornings lift.
One, two, three, four, five, six. Six steps to five, six steps to five, six steps to five.
Other bands, no all bands, marched eight to five, which would seems so much more
Comfortable to march, smaller steps, smaller people, across the field so major in its size
But her band, marched six steps to five, making for cleaner, tighter lines.
Ta da, daaa da, tee dee daa dumple deed ah daa, the trumpets and cornets rang out, loud
And seemingly obnoxious, in their tee dahs and tee daaaas, making for a crashing sound
Of thuno didity thump thump as the drummers passed, all music ringing loose from her head,
And the crashing sound of the drum, and the Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump of the bass,
Keeping time, keeping rhythm, of the John Phillips Sousa march across the field.
Her feet kept time, her flute braced up to her lips, her breath pouring forth,
Blending in perfect time, to make the most pleasant noise, her breath taken in, and her breath out
She flowed with the drums, the trombones, the trumpets, and heard the bass attempts
To play of the baritones, ***’s most beautiful instrument, and the caterwauling
Of the clarinets, tooting and playing and attempting to play, some brand of music,
Some portion of a song that must have been heard long ago, that seemed to have
Nothing at all in common with the song at hand, but each looking down to trace
Their finger patterns, to hear the music as it played.
Simone’s flute, for all it was worth in her small tiny hands, in her small tiny arms,
Across this major large field, with these bodies next to hers, with the blats and sickles,
The very intent of each one to make its noise across at one another, seemed
To be a cacophony of sound, a completeness of nothing, and mess of a wreck of instruments.
Then there was the noise. A complete and un-fractured belt of wonderful musical sound
As it marched toward her, as it seemed to assault, but to pay compliments to her,
As it seemed to worship the very wet, damp ground, upon which she walked, she felt something
In her body, a stirring, a feeling, her stomach turning in a good way, as her eyes lifted
She saw him, marching, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six times across the field,
One step was starting on the yard line, the last touching the yard line, five yards later.
The sousaphone. This mass of brass, wrapped three times at the valves, turned
Around his neck, ending in a massive, shiny, bell of a horn, bigger around than her body
Bigger than a freight train coming down the track at her, she saw him. Felt him.
Could feel the cool timber of his breath and voice and song, played so well upon
That instrument. He was over six feet tall, no six feet six, and that horn, dear ***,
Was two feet and several inches across the bell, putting him eight feet tall,
Compared to her five feet, and her fragile weight, and the mass before her. That sounded,
So beautiful. So real, such a part of it all, its tone, its timber, its reality was there and Anthony,
Playing it with intensity, playing it so strong, its notes almost removing her light little
Shoes from the field. She thought she could float, she thought for a moment, that she
Had died and was no longer walking, but floating across the field.
Boom. Boom. Boom. Down. The. Scale. Up. The. Scale. Boom. Boom. Boom. Anthony played the music,
And marched, keeping time, and handling the music well……and he heard her soft little notes
This miniature toy before him, this small flutist playing her trills, her melody, her principle
Piece so well, so that it sneaked in and captured his heart in a moment, his breath short,
His feeling of being the only person in the band, suddenly expanded to two, took him hard.
And they played their music, their parts, and the rest of the band tried to keep up.