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  • Today I sold the steelpan (steel drum for the foreigners) that my mother gave to me as a present. It had been in storage a few years and I felt it was a waste to just have it there, sitting in a beautiful case of the national colours of Trinidad & Tobago. My mother was a woman of the Arts and had hoped that even if I did not play the pan, one of my children would. Perhaps one day....but not anytime soon I don't think.

    I was quite astonished at how much interest it generated once I uploaded it onto ebay. I even had a punter in Japan asking if I would ship it there! I watched as the days went by and I tried to answer as many questions I could about it. Is it a high tenor or low tenor? Is it Invaders style or 4ths and 5ths? Is it a C pan? Can I arrange to see it? I could only answer the last however, for it's been nearly three years since my mother died.

    I can't ask her.

    When I received the notification it sold, I was excited. I quickly checked it out online and the winner of the bid was Croydon Steel Orchestra. I turned off the computer and quickly left to take my youngest to football training.

    On our way to the grounds, we passed through the back where there's a pond with many ducks. It was very cold, but one of the most beautiful mornings I have ever experienced in the UK. The sky was so blue and my son took my hand. He even said, "I don't remember days like this in Kent. There were no ponds and I don't remember the sky ever being this blue. I'm happy we moved to Surrey, mum." He notices the things I notice, even if there would be no exchange of words.

    Then, I felt a sudden surge. It was a heavy surge and my tummy felt hollow. My shoulders were caving in and my surroundings became like a dream. I looked toward the pond and away from my son. My face felt hot and the tears welled. To suppress a cascading waterfall is nearly impossible, but I did not let it fall.

    I realised that I had sold the steelpan.

    I remembered the only time I ever played the pan was when I had won a scholorship to do a summer camp with Desmond Waite. A pioneer. I played Pan By Storm for the closing concert with a full orchestra behind us. Why did I never continue?

    It's the duty of a mother not to cry.

    We walked on and he will never know the turmoil, silently at his side.

    Play that pan.

    Play it with all your might. It's what she would have wanted.
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