I JOIN THE STREAM OF OTHER students who seem as impatient as I to leave the school grounds. The fact that they’re just as eager makes me feel like we were born under one star. Perhaps they have a purpose like me. A mission.
I stroll past the huge wooden school board near the gates, the words “St. Johann Gymnasium for Music and Art, First District Vienna, was built in 1901 in memory of Johann Wiedermeir” in bold white letters. According to history, Johann dedicated his life to teaching children who could not afford music classes and instruments. He believed music is life. I guess that’s why Vienna is known as the City of Music. Music is like air around here.
As I walk out the school gates, an incessant screeching song shatters the spring air. A few heads, including mine, turn in search of the source. I cringe, realising it’s coming from inside my rucksack. I duck my head to avoid the eyes burning into my face. Lucy must have messed with my ring tone while I painted her nails yesterday evening.
I halt, swing my rucksack to the front, and dig out my mobile phone. “Mom” flashes on the screen. “Hi, Mom.”
“Ana, honey, we need about five minutes. Too much traffic and no parking spaces left. Could you meet us outside the Institute of Psychosomatic on Parkring?” Her voice sounds tense, taut. My bones sag as weariness and wariness bite into them. Did I make a mistake planning this trip to Italy? Growing up, my grandmother used to tell me to always listen to my heart. I have. Hope my heart won’t fail me on this.
I shove the doubts aside. “Okay, Mom. See you in a few minutes.” Before she hangs up, I hear Anton and Lucy bickering in the background. Is Dad with them? What if he decided not to come along? Only one way to find out, I guess.
I sigh, zip the phone back inside the rucksack, turn right, and walk past Palais Coburg wine archive, its neoclassical facade looking so white against the blue sky. Seconds later I’m head for the institute to wait for my family.