When she was fifteen, Marina had already been playing in an orchestra for three years and was seeing a lucrative career ahead of herself. Even though her parents didn't earn that much, they had saved every penny they could spare to be able to afford having her attend a highschool which specialized in music and the arts. This meant that, despite the huge amount of concentration and time that she needed to dedicate to her future, her grades didn't have to suffer, which she was highly grateful for.
At eighteen years old, Marina graduated from highschool with brilliant grades and had an offer to become a steady part of the National Orchestra, as one of the youngest people in the history of the country. Even though she was over the moon about this, she was very conflicted about leaving her parents at home - after all, she would have to move to New York City for this, which was on the other side of the country. Her Mom and Dad, not having been the youngest already when their daughter was born, were slowly getting grey and not in the best condition anymore and she wanted to be able to be there for them, to give back at least a little for everything they had done for her.
She talked to her friends about it who told her that while they could understand her worries, she just couldn't pass up that chance, and that surely her parents would want her to take it, that this was what they had worked for, after all. She knew they were right - after all, every time she brought up only the slightest doubts with her mother or father, they cut her right off and told her "don't worry about your old ones - we will be fine, and it will make us so happy to see you be successful out there!".
Finally, after much deliberation, she wrote back to the conductor of the orchestra and told him that she had decided to take him up on the offer. Two days later, she had a place ticket in her hands and was ready to go. After packing everything, there was still some time left, since the plane would not leave until the next morning, so Marina decided to take a walk through the woods near their house. Suddenly, she came upon a little wooden hut that she had never seen before and decided to knock on the door. To her surprise, it swung open with a crank. Carefully, she stepped into the house, looking around but there was no-one there.
No-one human, that is. Lining the walls were lots and lots of cages holding all kinds of animals - birds, badgers, weasels, any small animals you could think of living in the woods. Marina let out a quiet noise of surprise and took a cautious step towards the nearest cage, which only had a tiny robin in it. At first glance, it didn't show any signs of being hurt, but soon enough she noticed that it had a broken wing, which someone in some way had managed to expertly put into a splint. How they accomplished that with such a tiny bird, Marina could not fathom, but they did. She started to wonder who that person was...and especially, where they were! Looking around, she noticed that some of the animals had run out of food, which meant that the person had been away for a while.
Even at further exploration, the little hut didn't yield any hint at its owner or their whereabouts...but Marina knew that she had to do something or the animals would die, after all, despite the obvious efforts to keep them alive. She could just not let that happen! So she took out her cellphone and called Animal Control, who came around and took the animals to the next veterinarian hospital. The vet techs there told her that she had done exactly the right thing and that the animals would have probably died the next day if she hadn't come across the hut, which they themselves had never seen before, either - despite having practiced near this small town for over 30 years and knowing pretty much every animal owner around.
One of the veterinarians there told her something that she would keep in mind for the rest of her life and that would even go through her head occasinally while playing in front of thousands of people:
"Obviously you were fated to come across this little hut in the woods. If it had not been for you, the animals would have been destined to die. Someone there had spent their whole life caring for these creatures, wanting them to get on their feet again and to go out into the world and be happy. You realised their goal when they could not take care of their little ones themselves anymore."
It was then she knew that someone, whoever it might have been, had shown her the little animal hut to help her with her decision to leave her parents and to alleviate her worries. Seeing her reach the goal to be a famous musician and lead a happy and satisfied life had been the biggest achievement of her mother's and father's lives. Her going far away would be more than worth it to fulfill their goal and show gratefulness.
Twenty years later, her parents passed away at the blessed ages of 78 and 82, after travelling to New York to see their daughter's performances from the front row every year. Her Dad's last words to Marina were:
"When I look into your eyes while you play your music, seeing that sparkle inside of them, knowing that you are doing what you love, I know that your mother and I have done everything right in our lives. Now that you are having a fulfilled live, I can happily leave you."
This piece was written for Second Chance LJ Idol, week 3. Topic: "Getting to Carnegie Hall".