This weekend son the elder had a guest over. Hearing a fearsome noise, I traced the sound to his bedroom. I opened the door to find both boys, musical instruments in hand, in full-throated form.

Son the elder was dressed in a bright green down vest (borrowed for the occasion) and yellow tinted granny glasses. Long hair flying, he had his (new) violin tucked under his chin.

His friend was playing the guitar. His back to me, he took longer to notice my arrival.

There was something in how son the elder looked at me. Violin still in place, bow resting on the strings, he grinned at me.

It was a smile of pleasure and a smile of one caught in the act of cutting loose. And it was, in its own way, a knowing smile. A smile of recognition, a smile of complicity.

I backed out of the room, closing the door gently behind me. I headed down the stairs, a little surprised by what I’d learned about my son, and very grateful for him and for the friend who’d brought out this little known side of him, this part of him that is joyous and is free.

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