Veroli is just a name on a piece of paper in my mother’s handwriting — part of my grandmother’s history that my mother had written down before my grandmother passed away. Out of pages of stories, there are only a few lines mentioning Veroli.
“Kind nuns took me in.”
“A town in the hills near Rome.”
The violin has forced me out of my cubicle into a world without muscle memory or transferable skills. Everything is a battle. My hand cramps holding the bow. C sharp never sounds quite the same in the second measure as in the first. I can’t tune without my teacher’s trained ear. It is humbling to arrive on Irene’s doorstep having made no progress from the previous Tuesday. The opportunities for me to fail on the violin are daily and infinite.
There are places in my history where I came to know myself in real ways. There is land that reminds me who made me. There are hills that sing to me of who my people are, and there’s a road where I ran until I understood the girl that God had created within this lanky frame. These are the places that made me, and when the earth is shifting at home, or when I just forget the truth, these are the places I crave.
The squirreled-away baguette’s crust is so hard you can smack it on the counter and it won’t break. It is like a crouton — one big, long, stick of crouton. It has not bred worms and it does not stink, but you can’t eat it either.
In your real life, you like to stock up, relying on your own ingenuity and foresight. Wince as you try to break the baguette one more time. Maybe right now you’re in Paris, dining while sitting down, saving butter for the morning, learning to count to five, but probably you’re just the same person, wherever you are, same fear, same neuroses, same old tired you.
Then, all at once: a miracle.