A story about a drummer.

Once upon a time there was a drummer. He carried his drum on his back across the United States, one step at a time. He’d been alone so long, so long that it felt as if he hasn’t been born to a mom and a dad but had just appeared in the world, drum in hand.

His back, which had once been flat as a board, began to curve from the weight of the drum. Soon it was an arch that small children walked under and parents from around the world sent them to him.

One day, a child named Lexi spoke to the drummer. No one had uttered a word to him in years. “Sir,” she began, “could I carry that drum for you?”

He couldn’t answer. He was moved to silence. As the tears fell down his stolid face, her tiny fingers began to peel the drum straps from his shoulder. Second by second, his back began to straighten.

The children picked him up and carried him on his back.

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