Beatrice and the Mute

This morning Beatrice remembered she has a band concert tonight and will be performing a trumpet solo.  And she doesn’t remember what time it starts but does know that she wants us to sit on the right side of the auditorium so that we can see her. 

So, back to the middle school men’s bathroom where I turn to see my daughter grinning at her fellow band mate who has what looks like a metal flask attached to his finger.  

Me:      “Why are you out here and not inside getting ready to play?” 

B:         “Daniel’s finger is stuck in my mute.” 

A mute is an accessory for the trumpet.  It mutes the sound.  The mute she needs in order to play the trumpet solo is now drawing blood from this boy’s ring finger.

I am no longer worried about how to keep my youngest two boys from vaulting over the seats onto the stage, nor am I concerned about the fact that I haven’t heard a trumpet being played in

our house in months, no now I am fearful that this boy will have to get his finger surgically removed from Beatrice ‘s mute. 

She is un-phased as she announces that she has to go perform. She leaves me stranded with her fellow trumpet player who should also be heading to the stage to perform but instead is near

tears as he realizes he will be facing a different kind of music. He walks away, head hanging, disappearing through the backstage door.

It would be another 20minutes before the band leader appears on stage, visibly irritated and apologizing as he summons the parents of Daniel X and someone named Reinstein.

After the performance I ask Beatrice about the boy and she casually relays to me that they took him to the ER and I gasp upon hearing the news only for Beatrice to turn to me and say, “ don’t worry, I can easily get another mute.”


Elizabeth James