From the start, not many can hear me

From the start, not many can hear me. You might say, "Oh, well, that's stupid, 'cause people DO hear you." Well, you people are right. People do hear me, but they don't listen. There is an extraordinary distance between hearing and listening. No one listens to me.

Until, that is, band camp. The root of all evil and good. Many things can sprout form it, but usually, it's just blisters and sores and deafness from, well, from band camp, and the things you do at band camp. It's really fun…if you can handle it…

I met a girl, her name was Tara, though why do I say 'was'? Well, she's a senior, so when she's off to college, I'm stuck at school. Sure, I have friends, but come one, losing a friend is always rough. What's so important about Tara is that she introduced me to Marching Band. She was so cool. She is cool. She's awfully smart, too. And funny. I think she's perfect, and imperfect, both at the same time. She's perfectly imperfect. I love her as a friend. She doesn't know it, but I really appreciate everything that she's done for me. Sure, I thank her, and she is my friend, and she loves to help, but it can get tough, you know, having different schedules, and all. She has a job, I have my clubs…but we're still friends.

She's one of the few people that hear me.

I came to the band to play cymbals. They always told me to play louder. When I got volume down, they told me that I needed dynamics, and so on and so forth. I remember, the band director told me to play louder. Louder. LOUDER! I played as hard as I could, fearing I would break the instrument, and the band director said, "Well, I'll have to clean my ears out, but that's good for now. That's all I wanted, hon. Some volume."

AS he started to walk away, I slammed the cymbal with my mallet and screamed, "Can you hear me, NOW?!"

He whipped around, smiled warmly, and said, "Yes, and when we're at the competitions and football games, they'll hear you, too. Get back to practice, girl."

I just smiled back and returned to practice.

But, man, to be heard. By people. By others. By audiences. Wow.

That's all I wanted. Was to be heard. And I would get it, too.

After a while, I made friends (or at least acquaintances) with everyone in the band. Then, I joined more clubs and recognized some faces form band. I got to know them better, which was great. Then, at the last rehearsal, my band director said, "Guys, I'm proud of you, and I hope that after this, you join us again, and that we can make even more awkwardly funny memories together." Some people cried, some pretended to, some tried to, some tried not to. I tried not to, but I was pretty darn close to breaking down. When I tried to say my goodbyes, they didn't ignore me, but they were too busy to listen to me because they were wrapped up in telling me everything. They still couldn't hear me. Not all the time, anyway.

As we carried everything back to the band room, when everyone was talking and saying their goodbyes, I slammed my cymbal, and shouted to everyone, "Can you hear me, NOW?!" Everyone was quiet, and the band director said, "Yes, hon, I can hear you just fine."

Then, everyone would chime in saying they could hear me, some joked by saying that they couldn't, and everyone started shouting and playing their instrument as loud as the y could, yelling, "Can you hear me, NOW?!"

Now, everyone hears me. I've learned that instead of complaining of what I'm hearing, I should really listen to others, too.

So, can YOU hear me?