Chapter One – Claire
When Claire the Clarinetist was finished playing she could have chosen to leave the altar as do many of the other orchestra members. But the orchestra was arranged today so that she was facing directly towards the congregation (usually she is facing sideways) and she thought it would be fun to just sit there and see what the pastor sees every week.
Chapter Two – NO
The first thing she noticed was the raven-haired woman in the front row trying to control her kids. Her husband was also there but he was having no interaction with any of them. She had seen this happen again and again with this family. The mother had to do the hard work of interacting with the kids constantly and the father did nothing. She wondered if they would ever be friends. She thought, “No.”
Chapter Three – YES
As Claire looked at them longer she realized something else. The mother was getting the hugs and the smiles from the kids. The father was not. He may have been missing the hassle, but he was also missing the love. Now when she wondered if they would ever be friends, she thought, “Yes.”
Chapter Four – I DON’T KNOW
She then cast her eyes on an elderly man. He looked alert, with sparkling eyes. He had on a very nice sweater. She wondered about him, who he was, who he had been. She imagined him as a young man. She wondered if they would have been friends back when he was her age now. She thought, “I don’t know.”
Chapter Five – I KNOW
Her attention was pulled back to the sermon. The Pastor was telling a joke. It went on way too long and when the punch line finally came it was terrible. The whole congregation laughed though. All except the elderly man. He rolled his eyes. That is when she realized she would have to go meet him because they would be good friends. She thought, “I know.”
Chapter Six – MAYBE
She looked up into the balcony and noticed a striking blonde woman. One of the spotlights aimed at the altar was directly behind the woman and it lit up her big blonde hairdo like a halo. She could tell, even from a distance, that she had on impeccable clothing. She looked like she had a lot of money. She wondered if they would ever be friends. She thought, “Maybe.”
Chapter Seven – MAYBE NOT
As she continued to watch the woman in the balcony she noticed her looking back at her. Then she leaned over to the woman next to her and whispered in her ear. When she did that, she gestured toward the altar and pointed her finger. They both smiled and suppressed a giggle. The Clarinetist knew she had been pointing at her. She thought, “Maybe not.”
Claire eventually met the woman in the front row. They became good friends. She would babysit their kids once in a while when the couple would go out on date nights. It turned out they were very old fashioned but very much in love. He was kind and thoughtful to his kids, though not particularly warm. She adored her husband and greatly appreciated his ability to discipline the kids with love.
Clair did go and meet the elderly man. They became good friends. He started attending the noon concerts she did once a month with her little quintet she had. He was a widower, having been married 57 years before his wife passed away. Claire played his favorite song at his funeral 5 years later.
Claire ran into the blonde woman in the church bathroom a few weeks later. The blonde woman said, “I just want you to know how much I admire your playing every Sunday. My friend and I sit in the balcony and just adore the entire orchestra. We both like to sit up there because the acoustics are best. We can hear your clarinet very distinctly. We always make sure to point you out to each other when we think you have an exceptionally cool outfit on.”
They became good friends.
drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com