Owen was your average teenage boy. Of course, until he wasn't. See, Owen was born deaf. And you're going to tell me "that's not so bad," but let me tell you something else: Owen was a pianist.
He had never been able to hear himself play, had only been able to hope he was playing the right notes and rhythms at the right speed and at the right loudness. And he had never played with another person before. Owen had decided long ago that he would only ever play alone, and for himself, that way he didn't have to worry about being wrong.
Then he got a letter in the mail. Owen was going into high school at that time, and had been playing the piano for seven years. The letter was from their neighbor across the street. Mr. Blumin was quite nice, and always made time to talk to Owen if they saw each other on the street, despite his ASL being a little rusty. Owen wondered what could be in a letter from him. He opened the envelope and pulled out an index card. Only Mr. Blumin would write a letter on an index card.
He began to read:
I've been listening to your playing lately, and I have a proposition for you. You might remember that I am the music director for the high school that you'll be going to in the fall. Now normally, you would be required to do concert band in order to play in our jazz band, but I'm sure I can make an arrangement for you. I know you've never played in a band before, but it's a wonderful experience and I will always be there to help you out.
I hope you'll take my offer into consideration.
Owen folded the letter and put it in his pocket, wondering if maybe he should take Mr. Blumin's offer. But no, he had told himself he would never play for anyone else. However, this could be fun...