Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing;
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: “Thou single wilt prove none.”
-Shakespeare Sonnet 8
Story Based on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 8
Dad always had plans. He came home one day from his sales job (he sold baby clothes) and announced we were forming a band, giving up the house, and travelling the states in our van. Mom was braiding my hair at the time and putting flowers in it that I had collected in the back field. My brothers, Tom, Joe, and Calvin, were watching cartoons and barely noticed the announcement. WIthin two weeks we got our deposit back on the house we were renting and had sold or donated most of our belongings, which meager. Mom and dad bought and collected very little, except for music instruments. We had plenty of those.
I asked Dad about school. He laughed. “We’re homeschooling.”
“What am I going to learn on the road?”
“Life.” Dad shrugged and then laughed again.
Our first performance was at an OktoberFest in Wisconsin. I played the piano and sang Deseprado. I was seven. My brothers hummed and played various instruments. Mom recorded us. She called it the demo tape.
We kept traveling. Festival to festival. I did math and reading in the bumpy van. My brothers and I all work together. Our parents didn’t seem to care and it concerned us that we were more responsible than them. In February, while parked near the Golden Gate Bridge Mom announced she was pregnant.
“Now can we get a house?”
“A new band member means more gigs. We’ll teach it to shake a rattle at the right times.” This seemed doubtful to me.
After Peggy was born came Alyssa. With our money we upgraded to a trailer, but it was still so uncomfortable and I wasn’t really learning anything except music. Dad was always reluctant to buy books even when we went to secondhand shops.
We became more and more popular. Dad and Mom led most of the songs and us kids harmonized and played instruments. I had a Bach style recorder I was very good at. Then there was the violin, cello, singing, the tambourine, the ukulele…we all seemed to play everything though not the guitar. My brothers focused on that and then Matthew, when we were in North Carolina, got a Mandolin and Banjo.
One day, when I was twelve I looked at us clearly. We were parked at the Grand Canyon. A huge singing family. And that’s when I knew I would be childless. I would work in LA or NYC, have a stable job, and collect belongings that I would keep. I didn’t care if I would be nobody. But at least I would have roots. I would stay in one place and grow. I didn’t even crave a husband. God forbid he would want a child. Shakespeare was a big proponent of procreation. Screw you. Years cramped with family made me crave aloneness.
I wasn’t stopping music though. I would just play to an audience of one. Die eternity. Die.