There are few material objects so dear to me that I can't live without. I've been raised with the mentality that things are just things and the things themselves hold no emotional value. It's the memories you keep and the lessons you learn that are the most important. However, there are a few items that I have that are irreplaceable; namely the B-flat clarinet I played throughout junior high and high school.
I don't know what inspired me to play clarinet in the first place, but it was what I chose and once I made my decision, my parents went out and bought me a beautiful Buffet clarinet. The first few days of band were a little awkward because I had been placed in the brass class; apparently, all of the band kids had to go through a 'trial' to determine what instrument they would be put on. I guess it was just assumed I would play a brass instrument and they scheduled brass class for me. However, I was pretty set on playing the clarinet and so they had to shuffle me into the woodwinds class. I was the envy of the band class for a time, and not necessarily in a good way. I was one of the few kids that got to play the instruments they wanted. I didn't get it out of luck though; I got it because my family was pretty well off and I didn't have to rent my instrument... that didn't earn me many friends.
I loved band class. It was my favorite class from 6th grade all the way until I graduated- even trumping lunch, P.E., library aide, and the only class I earned a tassel in : English. I wasn't the best clarinet player; I hovered between the second and third rows most of the time.... There was just something about all of the instruments and melodies coming together to make a whole musical piece that was magical. I had a hard time making friends and an even harder time keeping them. Band always made me feel like I belonged somewhere, and that I had many many friends. We were all teammates, in truth; you have to be, in music, in order to deliver spectacular concerts. As long as I was with the band or playing my clarinet, I was never really alone. And I liked that. From afar, I seem like a solitary person but more often than not, I'm lonely. I don't speak up so much but I want to be around people.
I had two clarinets by the time I got into high school. My Buffet was made of wood and ill-suited to marching band, so I borrowed a plastic Vito clarinet from an old music professor and swore to give it back after I graduated high school. It wasn't as well-made or as nice as my Buffet, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about it in the rain or cold. Besides, nobody can really hear the clarinets on the marching field anyway. I had great fun in marching band, and it added even more to the sense of belonging and teamwork that I felt with band. It wasn't just auditory now. It was visual too. You could see it!
... about halfway through my senior year, that illusion was shattered for me. I came out as a homosexual (on accident) and was largely shunned and bullied by the people I once thought were my friends. Music no longer held its' magic; nothing really did. I tried as hard as I could to shut myself off from everything. In all of my anger, frustration, and sadness, I don't know what happened to that little Vito clarinet. I'm pretty sure I gave it away; I can't find it anywhere.
I miss it sometimes. I still have my Buffet. It sits in a little nook at my office desk, and every now and then, I open the case and just look at it and remember all the good times. But that little Vito was my friend too.