Miranda finds out whether she made it into the orchestra or not.
Phone Calls are Dangerous
It took us about ten minutes of the fourteen hours we were awake on Mondays to drive to my violin lesson. Of course, within those ten minutes, Mama's phone happened to ring.
I barely heard it vibrating in the depths of Mama's purse. She always put it on silent when we were driving because she didn't want anything distracting her. Not to mention there was no reason for the phone to be on because she never answered it when she was driving anyway. Or anytime actually. She didn't approve of the fact that pretty much anybody could be listening to her conversations so she avoided the possibility by never answering the phone unless it was Grandma. I didn't understand why she was so paranoid. I couldn't even stand to listen to her phone calls they were so boring. Any creepy stalker or kidnapper or government person would be snoring after a few minutes of hearing her describe the neighbor's nasty dog or something. Unless of course they got suspicious of how often Mama said "germ" and started wondering if it was a code word for nuclear bomb. In Mama's vocabulary, it was kind of a code word for nuclear bomb, but no one would understand that.
I suppose there were reasons not to answer the phone on a normal day, but I figured today would be an exception since I was waiting for audition news and all. I glanced at Mama hopefully, but she continued staring at the road ahead of her as if she did not hear the buzzing of my future in her purse.
"Uh Mama? Your phone is ringing," I said, in case she actually hadn't heard it, but she just shrugged dismissively.
I eyed her purse, slumped in the passenger seat and wondered if I could reach it from the backseat of the van without unbuckling.
I tried one more time however to get Mama to answer it. "What if it's audition news Mama?" I pleaded, "Could you maybe answer it just this one time?"
"No risk is worth a car crash," she replied calmly, unaware of my panic.
Two more rounds of piano arpeggios and the message would go to voicemail. I wondered if they'd leave a message or if us missing the call was enough for my name to be crossed off the list. That is, if my name was on the list at all. It suddenly occurred to me that this call could be bad news. Maybe I didn't want to answer the phone after all.
At the last minute however, Mama said, "Why don't you answer it Mouse?"
A wave of anxiety swept over me at the thought of talking to somebody I'd never met on a device that possibly allowed even more, potentially dangerous people to listen. To answer or not to answer? To live a boring life or to have an adventure? I smiled, that was not a hard question. With a sudden burst of strength, I pushed my fear aside and thrust my arm into the large blue purse. Frantically, I groped around, coming into contact with a few bottles of sanitizer, a pack of wet wipes, unused tissues, mouthwash, until at last, my fingers brushed against Mama's rubbery phone case.
I grabbed it and before I could back out, pressed the answer button. "Hello this is Miranda Triplet," I squeaked.
Mama glared at me in the rearview mirror. I had forgotten to not give my full name to an unknown caller. Major bonus for any stalkers listening in. Major loss for me if I ended up being kidnapped. Oh well, too late now.
I held my breath as a lady began talking, "Hello Miranda Triplet," she said in a monotone voice, "I'm pleased to inform you that the Philharmonic Youth Orchestra would like to offer you a spot in our orchestra. Please check your email and hit either accept or decline. Thank you," said the lady, hanging up immediately afterwards.
I sat, frozen with the phone to my ear for a few seconds before letting out my breath and slowly lowering the phone.
"I made it," I whispered, staring with awe at the phone.
"Wow, you made it through a phone call. What an impressive feat," muttered Sophia, but she was smiling and I realized that I was too.
"I mean, I made it into the orchestra," I say, loud and proud this time.
"Yay," cheers Talia, but my eyes aren't on her.
I'm watching Mama, waiting to see if she smiles, if she frowns, if she runs the van off a bridge because she has something against people doing exciting things. Although running a van off a bridge would be counted as exciting I think and that would be very hypocritical of her.
As always, it was hard to see what she was thinking. Plus the rearview mirror that I was observing Mama's expression in was slightly warped so you appeared fat and angry no matter what you actually looked like.
I leaned forward a bit and for a second, I thought I saw something sparkle in the corner of Mama's eye. It was gone quickly though and I was left wondering if it was really a tear or if it was pixie dust. I was on the verge of going with the pixie dust option, when Mama turned slightly around and said, "I'm so proud of you Miranda," and wiped her eye with a handy dandy tissue. It was one of those sweet moments where daughters actually understood their mothers. It was one of those moments that daughters wished mothers wouldn't ruin by saying, "What'd I tell you? Practice pays off." But of course Mama had to ruin the moment by saying just that. As if I didn't know that already. Obviously practice paid off. What else would it do? The more you practice the worse you get? Unless you were talking about stealing and murdering, then obviously not.
Her annoyingly evident life lessons weren't going to spoil my mood though. I was so excited about telling my violin teacher the news, that I broke into random smiles the rest of the car ride. My face was glitching like a computer game, programmed to be stiff and unsmiling, but messing up the system with uncharacteristic bursts of cheerfulness. It was a surprisingly good feeling.
With the good news on the tip of my tongue like an atomic bomb about to be dropped, I practically skipped up the stairs of my teacher's apartment complex. Although I didn't actually skip, because then the chances of me falling would increase by sixty percent and a broken arm would really kill the mood.
Instead, I fast walked up all forty steps and spit out the news before my teacher's door was even all the way open. "I made it Mrs. Hrynowski. I made it," I panted. She just stared and I quickly added, "Into the orchestra. I made it into the orchestra."
Then, she opened the door and leaned close to me. "Can I tell you a secret?" she whispered and I nodded. "I knew you would make it," she said.
Somewhere below us, kids cheered as they tumbled from a school bus and inside, I was cheering too. I smiled at her as she motioned me inside and she smiled back. It was hard to tell when Mrs. Hrynowski was smiling, because only half of her facial muscles worked very well due to multiple strokes, but I knew she was smiling this time. I could tell she was proud and I was proud and our pride was bouncing off the cement all around us like a force field. Inside the force field, it felt safe and worries were nothing but amateur terrorists trying to bomb our invincible pride. Inside this force field, I knew that my first day of orchestra was in four days and that nothing was going to ruin it.