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  • It was a sharp winter's day that I found myself walking down a rocky path in Wales. I turned onto a street lined with a few miniature shops, and walked into Bron-Yr-Aur, a music shop. The door sounded shut behind me, and I inhaled air infused by polished wooden violins and guitars. An older gentleman behind a small counter in the back of the store looked up from a paper he was scribbling on. Bundled in hat, coat and scarf, the winter air seeped through the walls, ghosts from our breath dissipating.

    "Hi ya. What brings you in today?"

    I smiled, and turned toward a wall with rainbows of ukuleles. My eyes sparkled at the little soprano shaped like a lavender shooting star, or at least that's what it looked like to me.

    "I'm here for a ukulele."

    "Hmm," He seemed to muse. "Really? We don't get many sales of those."

    "I can imagine."

    He began to show me the different types, each getting better as the yellow price tags increased. At first, I wanted a shiny sky blue colored ukulele, but then I saw the one I was always looking for: a violet colored Aria. It played better than the rest.

    "Sold," I said, as the man pulled it off of the wall, placing it into a small black case.

    "Do you know the rules? Tuning, chords, tab...?" he asked me.

    "No." I was honest. I always had music in my blood. I had family members in classic do-wop bands, a mother who sang with her sister as they grew, and my own voice that I hoped made someone smile somewhere. But I could not play an instrument. I had in mind to buy an acoustic guitar because I loved how the fingerpicking felt along my skin. But this little gem thrilled me because it was the one that most people seemed to sleep on.

    "But, I'll figure it out."

    The man eyed me, confusion written all over his face. "What made you pick the ukulele anyway?"

    "Well, I wanted a guitar at first, but I saw one of these in a shop once, and did a little research. I loved its tinkling sound, and that it seemed to be soaked in endorphins, or something. It sounds like happy set to strings. The fact that it's a bit more obscure than other instruments intrigued me. Maybe I could start something with this...something new."

    He nodded slowly, smiling down at me, "I like that. You learn how to play, and conquer the world, all right?"

    He handed me my very own ukulele that I later named, Nikki Fierce.

    As I discovered myself in this small obscure town in Wales, I would discover my own aria as well.

    Song: Turning Page by Sleeping at Last covered by Me.
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