The spring when I was about to turn nine, one of my two childhood best friends and her family moved to a brand new house in the suburb. One evening shortly after their move, we met at the local music school in the city centre as usual, and after the music classes, my mother offered a ride to my friend, her mother and little sister.
That day happened to be the day when my friend’s little sister had graduated from the kindergarten and she was carrying bags of flower bouquets and other gifts. It was also one of the last days of the school year (in Japan the school year ends in March), and my friend was carrying a lot of things to bring back home. Among her items was a melodica.
Once we settled into my mother’s five seater – my friend’s mother in the front and the three children in the back – there was hardly any space to move around due to the bags of flowers and gifts along with my friend’s school bag and belongings. As the car started, the two mothers began talking about the day, and we children started chatting in the back.
My mother was asking my friend’s mother how the graduation party had been at the kindergarten when my friend suddenly took out her melodica next to me.
“I had forgot that today I have a very fun thing with me. Look at this!”
Before I could stop her, my friend started to play the melodica, its loud sound piercing through the air inside the car. On my right, my friend’s little sister was sharing her excitement as she opened her gifts. Squashed between bags of gifts and school belongings, I tried to figure out which activity or conversation I should join. But I couldn’t think properly with my friend’s melodica ringing right in my ears.
“Let’s not play it in the car, shall we?”
I wanted to say to my friend, but when I looked at her, her face was glowing with such excitement that I couldn’t bring myself to ask her to stop playing.
The car made turns here and there, and each time, the mountain of gifts and school items shifted in the backseat. It was uncomfortable to say the least, and yet, nobody in the car seemed to be bothered. The mothers kept talking, my friend kept playing her melodica, and her sister kept opening her gifts.
Half way into this madness, my friend’s mother finally realized why she was shouting instead of talking normally – there was an extra noise in the car.
“Honey, could you please stop playing that instrument in the car?”
But my friend didn’t hear it because her music was coming out so loud. After another minute or so, my friend’s mother turned around and said in a louder voice.
“HONEY, STOP PLAYING THAT INSTRUMENT IN THE CAR, WILL YOU?”
Upon hearing her mother’s firm request, my friend stopped playing her melodica. As she stored it away, however, I saw a smile of satisfaction on her face.
“It’s been so great!” she said smiling. “I love my melodica!”
As I heaved a sigh of relief, I couldn’t help admiring my friend for her love of music and her boldness to make such a loud noise in the car and moreover have fun with it.