Rushing Through London

Sep 16, 2019 By Jeslyn Gao, 12
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We hustle down the busy streets of London with instruments and bags dragging us down like anchors, the bowls clam chowder from lunch still warm in our hands. Then my pocket starts buzzing.

“Where are you kids?” our conductor yells while we gasp for air and try to move as fast as possible through the unrelenting sea of people. It is a typical gloomy day in London. Gray and heavy clouds loom over our cooling sweaty heads like they are about to burst.

“I’m so sorry, Charlotte and I will be there as soon as possible!” I choke, trying to catch my breath during what seems like a few seconds, then the traffic light glows red again. I grit my teeth in frustration and hang up. I check the time on my silver phone and realize that the orchestra competition starts in thirty minutes; we’re late for the practice.

The concert hall isn’t far, but Charlotte, my orchestra classmate, mumbles, “We would’ve been there by now if you hadn’t slept in so late.” I open my mouth ready to defend myself with vain excuses, but just as quickly shut it. I had stayed up playing video games, watching a volleyball game, and reading an article last night. The traffic light shines green again and we both drop the thought and start to weave through the crowd.

“Sorry! Excuse me! Pardon me!” impulsively spews out of my mouth as I bump into traveling families and working adults, all scowling as we pass by. Charlotte drags me by the wrist to stop me from slowing down to pet the adorable corgis that look like the Queen’s that we pass by. We see the brightly lit marble entrance of the concert hall at the end of the street above everyone and start running.

It’s as if luck has turned on us. I feel a drop of water on my face. And another. I hear a clap of thunder and smell the fresh, sharp aroma of the rain, and the clouds give in. We move under a bus stop to cover ourselves from the rain and we wait. The rain is persistent and doesn’t seem like it’ll stop anytime soon. Charlotte pulls out a small black umbrella from her bag and hands it to me. I look at her for a second and blink. It’s a small sign of hesitance, but she notices.

“You should have it. I have an extra, and plus, you need it more,”  she says, sure of it. I look down at myself and my nearly soaked pants, which are luckily black. We start laughing a bit despite the situation. I take the umbrella with gratitude, “Thanks, you really didn’t have to.”

We both get up and I open it while walking at a brisk pace. The opulent entrance is directly ahead. We make it in and I hastily unpack my cello. The whole orchestra is waiting, as we sprint to the stage. Only two seats are empty. My cheeks warm slightly, and I take my cold black seat. The practice goes smoothly and the competition begins soon after. The stage lights are glaring in our eyes and we all settle and watch the conductor with anticipation. He motions for us to raise our bows and instruments and gives us the tempo. The whole orchestra feels the energy in the room. We watch the concertmaster, who sharply inhales, and begins.