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Bitter Sweet

The snow poured down. I sat their clutching Samuel. Samuel was my trombone, look I’m not weird, I’m just a band geek, but anyways. We had been driving to the Colts stadium for the Band of America finals. The bus had gotten a flat tire. Frodo had went to get a new one. Frodo was our band director, Macy and I called him that because of his poofy hair, it’s a Lord of the Rings reference, even though I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings, or the Hobbit. We had a lot of other nicknames for him, curly fry, Baggins, and lots more. His real name was Mr. Yandel, he was pretty cool, a great director. He has brown, really curly hair, blue eyes, and a huge nose; still wasn’t bigger than my dad’s. Macy was sitting next to me, she was my best friend. She had brown eyes and dirty blond hair. She played oboe and was pretty great at it. It was senior year and we were finally going to the finals, and this happens. I sighed. I thought back to 7th grade when I picked on Mr. Yandel’s driving, he didn’t put his blinker on once when getting onto the highway, I made jokes about it but this, he freaking hit a curve, blew our tire and now the bus was being devoured by snow…. Fun! It wasn’t his fault thought, the snow was so high it looked like the curb was part of the road, I watched him driving because honestly I wouldn’t trust a 27 year old man with 22 student on a noisy school bus. I sighed again.

            “It will be alright, Frodo should be back soon.” Macy said looking up from her phone.

            “Yeah, but it has snowed so much we probably can’t even find the tires.” I said as I looked at the clock on her phone, “Plus it’s almost midnight and the competition is tomorrow and we aren’t even in Indiana.”

            “No one else seems to care much, I understand though, this is our last chance to have a huge band competition before me move off to college.” She sighed “I can’t believe this is our last chance and it’s ruined.”

            We looked out the window. I closed my eyes. I put my face against the window. It was as cold as ice. I imagined I was at home with Slick, riding through the snow. I opened my eyes and stood up.

            “Where are you going?” Macy asked.

            “If we are going to freeze our butts off we might as well have fun doing it, plus maybe we can find a shop with heat, and maybe some hot chocolate.” I said.

            “Can I come?”

            “Sure, let’s go.”

            We hopped out of the bus and started walking. I could only hear the sound of our feet crunching through the snow. Macy walked ahead of me so I leaned down and grabbed a handful of snow. I shaped into a ball and fired it at her back.

            “Hey!” she screamed.

            “I said we should freeze while having fun so…” I grabbed another ball and threw it at her.

            “You are going down!” she said grabbing a snow ball and throwing it. It brushed my arm slightly but ended up landed about four feet behind me.

            “At least it had enough power, it just needs better aim, like this.” I said as I pegged her with snowball.

            “Let me try again.” She said. She picked up a huge amount of snow and threw it at me, it hit me in the stomach, “Take that!”

            We had a snowball fight, laughing and giggling for a while. Then we saw Mr. Yandel walking back with stuff to fix the bus.

            “Hey, what are you troublemakers doing?” he asked laughing.

            “What do you think?” I asked as me and Macy both pegged him with a snowball.

            “Have you ever heard you aren’t supposed to hit a guy with glasses?” he said as he put down the stuff down and threw a snowball at us.

            “Ha, do you think you can fix the bus?” Macy asked.

            “Well, not until this storm clears up. I can’t even find the tires. We don’t have anywhere to stay.” He said.

            “Well, can’t we just stay in the bus? Everyone else is already sleeping, it’s warm in there but we were going to get hot chocolate, there’s no way I can sleep now. Do you want to come with us?”

            “Sure, there’s no way we can do anything else so let’s go.” He said smiling.

            We walked down the streets, we passed about five blocks of shops, and all were closed.

            “Jeez, why is everyone afraid of a little snow?” I mumbled.

            “Well you saw how Georgia reacted to all the past snow storms, I mean remember back in 6th grade when people were stranded?” Macy said.

            “Yeah but we are in the North, they should be equipped for this stuff.”

            “They have no need to plow it off until the morning though. Plus coffee shops aren’t usually open at 2 am.” Yandel said.

            “I guess” I said frowning.

            We walked about three more blocks then we finally saw a little coffee shop.

            “Finally!” Macy yelled.

            We walked into the shop. I suddenly realized how cold I was.

            “Can we have three hot chocolates please?” I asked smiling.

            “Sure thing. We are about to close up, but take your time, But if you don’t mind me askin’, What are you kids doing roaming the streets this late at night, shouldn’t you kids be in a warm house, with your family, sleeping?” the coffee shop owner asked. He had a big grey beard and warming brown eyes.

            I thought about how he said kids and sort of laughed, I remembered the first time I saw Mr. Yandel, it was a nice warm day in the summer. There was an optional trip to White Water. My friend, Audrey had slept over the night before so we didn’t go on the bus with everyone else. We got in the park before the rest of the school. When they came in we were sitting on a bench facing the gates. We were examining everyone to see the new kids. There was curly haired kid. I remember groaning and saying “Crap there’s a new nerdy kid in 8th grade.” Then about a minute later he came over and said “Hi, I’m your new band director, Mr. Yandel.” I felt so bad.

“Well you see, we were going to the band competition at the Colts stadium, it’s the finals, but our bus got a flat. We are stuck here for the night. The rest of the band is asleep on the bus seven blocks down not knowing about any of this, but why wake them?” I said trying to sound happy, even though I was really put out.

            “You folks can stay here, if you would like.” He said smiling.

            “Oh that’s so kind, thank you so much.” Macy said smiling.

            “Sure thing, I trust if I leave you all here you won’t rob the place, it’s a small town so we oughta trust each other. You can help yourself to anything in the morning. Here is your hot chocolates.” The man said.

            He handed us the hot chocolate. I took a sip and finally felt warmth. It felt like I had been unfrozen from being frozen for a million years.

            “Good night, and good luck.” The man said smiling as he walked out the door.

            We watched as he opened his car door and started the engine. He waved at us and we waved back. He then got in the car, shut the door, and drove away.

            “What a nice guy.” Yandel said smiling.

            “Yeah, this hot chocolate is great.” I said smiling.

            “Do you think they are ok on the bus, it’s snowing pretty hard?” Macy asked.

            “I left a note before we left.” Yandel said.

            “Ok” we both said relieved.

            “What should we do?” I asked frowning.

            “We could sleep a little.” Macy suggested.

            “No, I can’t sleep.” I sighed.

            We were silent for a while. I looked out the window at the falling snow. I wondered if the others were ok. Two boys walked by, they stopped in front of the window. They knocked on the window. I got up and walked over to the door and opened it.

            “Hey, are y’all open, we just need to get out of the snow for a few minutes, and our bus broke down on the way to a band competition.” One of the boys said smiling, you could hear they were cold and out of breath.

            “Sure, come on in.” I said smiling.

            “We were going to band finals and our bus broke down, the man who owns this coffee shop said we could stay here, looks like we were going to the same place.” Yandel said smiling.

            “This is our director, Mr. Yandel. This Macy, she plays the oboe. I’m Abril, I play the trombone.” I said smiling as they shook our hands.

            “Well I’m Dustin, I play the Saxophone.” The boy with blond hair and blue eyes said smiling.

            “And I’m Chase, I play tenors, snare, and trombone.” The boy with brown hair and blue eyes said.

            “I also play the drums but somebody won’t let me play them in band.” I mumbled.

            “We need as many low brass as we can get.” Yandel said.

            “It’s nice to meet you all.” Macy said smiling.

“Y’all too. Maybe we could all hitch a ride, but we have a bus full of kids sleepin’ down a few blocks. We broke down right next to this huge snow pile. There was stuff to fix the bus right next to it but we figured it was someone else’s and decided not to touch it.” Chase said frowning.

            “Wait, a huge snow pile? About how huge?” I asked worriedly, “And how many blocks down?”

            “About the size of our bus, and about seven blocks down.” One of boy said.

            “We need to go now!” I screamed as I ran out the door. Everyone followed.

            We ran seven blocks, I remember the time in 7th grade when Mr. Yandel had raced Andrew, and it was hilarious. I guess Macy thought of the same thing.

            “Frodo, run like you are racing Andrew.” Macy yelled.

            I laughed. When we got to the bus we were in awe, but not the good kind. There was snow covMacyg the bus.

            “Holy, cows.” I said slowly as saw the snow covered bus.

            “We need to get them out!” Macy yelled.

            “We will help.” Dustin said as him and Chase started wiping away snow.

“It’s way too hard and thick, we can’t get it off.” Chase said frowning.

            “They can suffocate, we have to find a way.” I said frantically.

            “We can get our whole band to help, then we can do it.” Chase said running into the band. We heard him yell something then about fifty kids ran out of the bus and started wiping away snow, finally it was all off and everyone inside was still sleeping. It stopped snowing and everyone was happy. We decided we would just continue driving in the morning, and we would be fine.

            “We are just gonna leave them on the bus and crash in the coffee shop, do you three wanna come, I looks like your bus is already crowded and asleep.” Dustin asked smiling.

            “Sure, it stopped snowing so why not.” I said smiling

            We all walked back to the coffee shop finally for a good night’s rest, so we thought. We talked before we went to bed.

            “I wish you all luck in your band competition” I said smiling.

            “Y’all too.” Chase and Dustin both said.

            “I can’t wait to go to bed and get some…” I said being cut off by a loud sound.

            I looked around and I shivered.

            “What was that?” Macy said slowly.

            The ground began to twitch and then the holy lords came down. We saw a huge spiral in the distance.

            “Tornado! Get down!” Dustin yelled.

We all jumped on the ground and put our hands around our heads to protect from falling debris. Macy and I screamed in fear as the lamps and tables fell with loud crashes. Suddenly it all stopped. We were absolutely terrified and grateful. Thank goodness it just went by, if it caused the amount of damage from miles away, imagine what would happen to us if we were pulled up into it. We all just sat there for a moment. Until I looked at Yandel, he stood there looking like a zombie like he did at our first Beat out Cancer event, I was about to say something until I saw Yandel’s hair. It was filled with parts from the fallen celling. We all busted out laughing (well everyone but Yandel).

            “What’s so funny?” Mr. Yandel asked.

            “You look like that picture you had on you wall of you back when we were in 7th grade. I think you were like George Washington or something.” Macy said giggling.

            “Jeez, it probably doesn’t look as bad as the time you guys did it for the Valentines Dance.” He said laughing.

            “You have to admit though, that was a perfect High F.” I said laughing.

            “Let’s just all go to bed so in the morning we can perform and go home.” Dustin said getting serious.

            “There’s no need for that, the stadium was hit, the tornado went straight through it and the competition is cancelled.” Yandel said looking down at his phone, probably reading an article or an email about it.

            “I hope they are ok. Are we heading home then?” I asked.

            “Not until this snow clears, we will talk in the morning. Good Night everyone.” Mr. Yandel said as we all laid down for a good night’s rest at last.


            It was cold when I woke up. One of the windows must have broken (along with most of the roof). I felt bad for the coffee shop man. I got up and made some coffee. I put 8 sugars in Macy and my coffees. We liked it sweet ever since we first tried it in 7th grade Spanish class. I was the only one awake, I started thinking about the past events of just the night before. Even though we never would get this opportunity, but this was a very memorable night. Every second had reminded me of my past band experiences, and although I knew I would miss band, I also knew that I had a great time for the time I had. When the others woke up we headed back to our buses and drove home. This was the most bitter-sweet high school band good-bye I had ever witnessed. 

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