Highly Commended Story - The Aspiration Of A Musician
“The Aspiration Of A Musician” by Aiden Tan Guan Cong, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School, Singapore, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Aiden is 14 years old and studies at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School, Singapore. His hobby is playing card games. During the Covid 19 situation, as he cannot play outdoors he has a setup at home which enables him to play card games through applications such as discord or WhatsApp calls.
The Aspiration Of A Musician
When I was 10, I always got ridiculed by my fellow Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) mates, including John. Words like, “Dick is the best player in the CCA! He only knows how to play ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ on the trumpet!” John’s gang sang along, mocking me.
“Don't worry Dick! I know you will be the best musician around and maybe perform 10 times in a year!” Tom encouraged me.
“Thanks for the encouragement even though John is a better player since he has started playing the trumpet since primary school. Meanwhile, I just started,” I replied with determination in my eyes to beat John. Tom, seeing this, decided to give me more support.
After a long day of practice, the band was dismissed. I would have asked Tom to follow me back home but I was in a rush, so I left him. The moment I left the school, I took out my earpiece, listening to recordings like a broken recorder. I got so engrossed to the point that I did not see the wall in front and fell on the ground with a loud thud. Luckily for me, a passer-by saw what had happened and immediately called the ambulance while stopping the blood.
“Ugh, where am I?” All I could think off was Mary having a lamb and then roasting it to make delicious lamb shank. I saw many familiar faces, including my family and friends. The passer-by must have informed my school or called using my phone! He then came up and explained to me what had happened because I must have been very disorientated. This made me embarrassed.
I could not even show my face to my parents! I wished the ground would swallow me whole, but that did not stop me from trying to be the best player.
It became worse when the nurse told me that I suffered severe leg injuries and will be hospitalised for a week or two. The moment I heard that, I could have stopped practicing but that was not what I wanted, I wanted to practice even in the hospital. The nurse told me that I couldn't do it as my body needed time to heal and that would take up a lot of energy. “I want to be the best. One leg injury would not stop me; it would only make me feel more motivated,” I replied to the nurse.
When the nurse heard my words, she brought in the trumpet that I had wanted to practice with and said, “I know how you feel. However, don’t expect yourself to heal so fast. At the rate you are going I think you will only be discharged after two weeks or so.” I noted what she had said, taking it as another encouragement for me. My parents gave me a “thumbs up” and said they would visit me after I had practiced, advising me to keep it down as there were other patients in the hospital.
Day after day, I practiced. It was a harsh period of my life as I found out that every time I moved, it would be really painful since one of my hamstrings had torn. If I had not been careless, I would not have this problem. Yet if I haven't gotten myself into this problem, I would not be as motivated That experience really taught me a life lesson.
My parents motivated me every day by bringing my favourite food or drinks to the hospital. Meanwhile, my best friend had come to give me emotional support, telling me what had happened during CCA today and advising me on how to become a better player. After all that harsh practice, I finally perfected what I would be playing on the day itself. ”YES!” I screamed with joy, pain and satisfaction.
When I was finally discharged from the hospital, I felt like a dog with two tails because I can finally go back to my CCA. I knew John would obviously taunt me some more, but I was willing and determined to beat him and prove him wrong since I trained hard with effort and not force.
On the selection day itself, John taunted me by saying that I would not make it and would be stuck with the recruits for life. The moment I blew my horn, the enter band was shaken, with their mouths agape. The conductor commended me and asked how I had improved so much. I explained that it was because John had taunted me all this time. Also, I had a bad fall recently and that motivated me even more.
The conductor then said that I was a role model and that the whole band should follow my motivation and practice instead of being like John and boasting. This experience when I was 10, made me what I am today. Currently, I am the best player and the head of the secondary school military band.