Chapter 10: Samuel

My name is Samuel.

I’m 7 years old.

My eyes are brown, and my hair is brown, and I don’t care much for peas.

I bite my nails when I’m nervous.

And I’m shy.

It’s all right there on the form the the people read when they come in to see if they want any of us to come live with them. There are other things on the form, too, like that my Mom was someone who was living on the streets. Her name was Sally-something. When I was born, she didn’t want me. Not that I would have wanted her; the streets are no place to raise a baby. So here I was, with about twenty other kids who have similarly sad stories to tell.

My days are all the same. Not unhappy, mind you, but the same. The brightest light in my day is not when the sunlight streams in through the window by my bed, casting repeating parallelograms on the patterned tile floor. Music is my bright light. The piano.

I can play it for an hour a day, they say. Nobody else really likes to play, so I don’t know why they limit my time. I love the feeling when I sit to play, pulling the bench up to the keys and starting with a simple melody.

The symphony that’s always in my head pops into a third dimension, and I lose myself in the notes. First slowly, just the right hand. Then adding the left hand. I taught myself how to play using some of the tattered books hidden inside the piano bench. I go note by note, page by page, book by book. Then, all too soon, the hour is up and Betsy tells me to go outside and play. Betsy is always telling me to go outside and play.

This day, though, Betsy did not tell me to go outside and play. Betsy took my hand and sat me at the table. The other kids were outside playing. The sunshine was making shapes on the floor again, and the table was covered with crayons and empty juice glasses. Betsy looked at me and smiled, and took me by the hands. “Samuel,” she said. “I have good news.”

“We have found a home for you.”

The noise of the kids playing outside went silent. My legs went numb. Colors became so bright, and I began to cry. It was a happy cry. After Betsy had finished her talking, I asked her if I could go play the piano again. She said yes. I ran back over to the bench, sat down quickly and placed my tiny fingers on the keys. I didn’t get my music out. My heart, beating faster than normal, was full. I started to play a melody I had not heard before, that I’d not thought of before, and it was beautiful to me. The notes were leaping directly from my heart through my fingers.

I was going to be home soon.


This story is part of a series of stories I’m writing as part of a commitment to sketch each day of 2016. My #365daydraw project yields an image each month, by popular choice, to serve as inspiration for each chapter.
Read more about my #365daydraw challenge