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Mr. Thompson gaped at me, his crooked glasses sliding down his beaked nose ever so slightly. He shuffled through the pile of papers strewn haphazardly across his desk, as if they would contain the answers he needed. Looking up, he stammered, "R-r-rose-’"
"I'm sorry, but I've decided that I need to focus on my grades and college applications," I continued. "Joshua is more than capable of replacing me."
"Oh God," Mr. Thompson groaned, "that's just cruel of you to suggest." He added with a derisive laugh, "That kid thinks piano means banging only less slightly on the keys than usual."
"Again, I'm sorry. I'll finish this semester but won't be returning to orchestra in the fall."
He sighed. Looking me in the eye, he said quietly, "Are you sure? You're so talented, Rose. You have carried this orchestra this past year. You have potential to go on to a professional music program, which very few students here ever do. Are you really sure?"
I twisted my hands together behind my back, my only sign of agitation. Otherwise, I forced myself to remain as poised as ever. "Yes, I'm certain. I don't want to play anymore."
Liar liar liar.
I wanted to play. But I couldn't play, not anymore.
Mr. Thompson raised his caterpillar brows at my seemingly forceful tone. "What-I don't understand." His tone became incredulous. "Are you quitting piano completely?"
Gaping at me again, my orchestra instructor shook his head at my answer. "When you said quit orchestra, I never thought you-’of all people!-’would give up piano. You love piano, I know you do. Has something happened?"
Concern lined his face. I could feel my heart stutter at his expression of sympathy, and anxiety scraped at my nerves. I replied unsteadily, "No, nothing has happened. I'm sorry for quitting like this."
I then picked up my backpack from the floor and left a stunned Mr. Thompson in his office.