I am five years old when I announce that I will play the violin. Not the piano? My mother asks. She plays the piano, we have a piano. We don’t have much money, violins cost a lot. I wake up one morning and my mom, bleary eyed in the kitchen, presents me with a gift. She’s made a violin entirely out of cardboard. An exact replica. So I can hold it, she says, practice the movements, play silent music. But it was never silent, I could always hear it.
I am twelve and my grandpa gives me my first full sized violin. It comes in a ratty old case, belonged to a member of his church. I’ve thought about upgrading but by now we know each other so well. Where the dead notes are, the windfalls, the small corners, the spot where we sing.
I am thirty years old and I’m stuck in Montreal for immigration reasons. I don’t have my violin so my friend lends me his. It belonged to his friend before him. Frasier. Perhaps his grandpa gave it to him, I’ll never know. Frasier passed away far too young, left his violin. His parents gave it to my friend and my friend lent it to me. This piece is for Frasier. It was recorded on his violin.