Jesse walked unsteadily out of the wood shop, goggles flittered with sawdust. The fresh cut wood’s odor brought her to the small basement where her grandfather once worked on the same violin over and over, with his now shaky hands once patterned for finer movements. As a boy and a man he was a cobbler by trade, but his passion was in shaping the instruments of sound whenever he could.
Jesse never could master the strings, nor did she have the desire; she was more intrigued by this hunched figure with his green visor, working the wood over and over in his palms for twenty years, the last five on what was his fifth and final one. Well into his seventies, he’d stare at the work table, hands trembling as he tried to position the bridge just right, then stringing, tuning and lifting into the folds beneath his neck, the sound only to disappoint once again. He never gave even a sigh, just methodically placed it down, then turned his head to the overhead window to the alley. After a quiet minute or two, he went back to the bridge, or at times disassembling the body – was it perhaps a misshapen or improperly positioned piece that made his masterpiece incomplete? This went on month after month, five days a week. Jesse sat quietly, trying to make sense out of his gyrations, learning never to question the whys or whats that so desperately wanted to be heard.