The Last Guitar

Yesterday I left home to go to the city to meet a friend with my last guitar in tow. I was intending to sell it at a pawn shop I had found that carries a lot of musical instruments. I have not played the guitar for a very long time. I had already sold my nylon string guitar some years ago, and now it was time to let go of the steel string guitar as well. It had been sitting in the garage untouched.

I find musical instruments the most difficult items to let go of because of the sentimental attachment, because they are beautiful, and because they have the potential to make music. But they also take up a lot of space to store, and deteriorate if not cared for. In the case of the two guitars, they reminded me of the musician I wish I was, but am not. This steel string guitar has a beautiful look, but I just never enjoyed playing it.

I decided on the pawn shop because  I wanted a clean break. I didn’t want to be running into it at someone else’s house, or hearing it through the walls from a neighbours unit, as happened with the first guitar.

So I was on the train, looking for all the world like a real musician, and a lady asked me if I was on my way to the opera house (to play!!) I said no, I was taking the guitar into town to sell it. This got the man next to her interested and he asked to see it. At the stop before mine, I showed him the guitar. At my stop we were discussing price so I stayed on the train. I got of at the next stop without the guitar. It was with a delighted new owner, and I didn’t need to haggle at the pawn shop.

Maybe I could have squeezed another $20 out of that guitar, by pushing the man harder, or hanging out for the pawn shop, or going on ebay. But maybe not. I am glad to be free of it, and glad to know it has gone to a musician who was excited to have it.

I feel some pangs. Slight pangs for the imaginary $20. Pangs that I finally let go of my last guitar. But pangs don’t mean I am sorry I did it. The guitar will have new strings and a new life, the life that it was meant to have. All the effort that went into creating it will be put to good use. And I won’t have to move it, store it, and feel guilty for neglecting it.

The things we let go of are not always junk. Letting go doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t like them, or appreciate them. In fact I sold the guitar because I did value it – I respected it as an instrument and wanted it to be used. So here I am, writing a farewell to my last guitar.

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