Musicians have always been a breed apart. While I’ve sung in choruses and choirs and learned a song or two on the piano, music was something other people mastered, tasted on their tongues, knew in the swirls of their DNA.

I had a boyfriend some years ago who loved music, jazz especially. If he’d had his druthers as a college student he’d have majored in music and become a professional musician. But his father insisted he be practical, so he majored in math and became a teacher. By the time I knew him, he’d abandoned the rules and impositions of the classroom, taken up carpentry, and relished the weekends when he filled in as a jazz DJ on a local radio station.

While jazz is not my cup of musical tea, I did envy the pure joy and passion he found in music. I wanted that eyes-closed, head-tilted-back look of bliss that some singers, musicians, and music lovers get when they ride the invisible rivers of sound and wave. But I was bound, soul laced tight, by my beliefs that I didn’t—really—have music in me. Finally, my own life called me out, desire grabbing me by the shirt, dragging me past the edge of safety and comfort provided by those stories.

Last year I stepped, barefoot, into the river, and took up the guitar.

Each week when I appear in Gordon’s loft for lessons, I am awkward, tottering on spindly legs of ineptitude, toes searching for a steady rock, my now calloused fingers still stumbling over the strings. But, every now and then, my friends, I can close my eyes, and, for a moment, say yes to the music. Here I am. Show me the way.

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