The tall gray buildings flashed by as I drove hastily up the familiar busy street, signs and passerby blurring together as I recklessly careened across an intersection, desperate to make up for lost time.
The ominous percussion in the orchestra music squeaking out of my car radio pounded its way into my head, putting rhythm to my thoughts: I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.
The road started to slope upward, the city falling away as I charged up the expressway.
I hit the top of the hill and was momentarily stunned by the sudden view of a sunrise like hot molten gold shining over the cold city with its gray-blue tones and turning the reflective buildings near it to some mythical golden city.
At that very same moment, the orchestra on the radio hit a gentle violin solo that was all too familiar.
The combination of the sunrise and the music dragged me unbidden into memories.
A similar sunrise, but this time over gentle hills of rolling grass that bent towards the music of a single violin, made to sing by the soft hands of its creator, a smiling man with sad eyes.
He had a little girl in his lap, her eyes as blue as the brightening sky. The girl laughed and clapped to hear her father play. The laugh sounded foreign to my ears now.
Was I ever really that happy?
As the sun rose, the grass waved, and the birds sang; it seemed as though all the hills rejoiced in the music just as the little girl did.
Eventually, the father stopped playing and handed the violin to the little girl's eager grasp. "Someday you will learn to play," he said, "and the hills will sing for you."
I jolted out of my memories and back onto the expressway. Tears pooling in my eyes, I pulled over and rested my head on the torn-up driving wheel.
I hadn't learned to play. I had run off to the city like so many others, chasing a half-baked dream.
I caught my reflection in the rear view mirror as the tears started to flow from eyes no longer sky blue, but seemingly cold and gray as the city street.
I had given up my father's dream for me, and for what? I wasn't happy here. I could barely remember the true happiness of my father's playing and the sunrise over the hills.
Steeling myself, I remembered that it was too late. That just last week, I received an official-looking yellow note informing me that Father had had a heart attack. That he was dead.
And the last thing I did was to throw his dream for me out the window and leave him forever.
My fingers tightened on the wheel, and my tears slowly dried as I made a new plan. I would go back home. I would finish the violin Father tried to teach me to make.
I would teach that violin a song.
And on that hill, the rising sun and I would play one last song for Father.