EmI: White Notebook – A 440

Dalton Thoreau

Henrietta Davida Thoreau

When I see something perfect, I always say, “A 440.”

That’s what I felt inside when I saw Henrietta. It’s like this, “Aaaaaah!” A 440. Perfect pitch. I can sing it right every time because I know what it feels like inside.

It’s like when I hear A 440, everything fits together. Like if it hurts in my head, between my eyes, and then I hear A 440, especially if I hear it for a long time or if I sing it, then all the hurt goes away. And I just feel it. A 440.

Dalton

I heard it when I saw Henrietta. At first I thought it was that dream again, because in that dream, when it gets to the sweet part, I hear A 440. But then, Henrietta put her arms around me, and I could hear her heart beat, and so I know that I wasn’t dreaming, after all.

Henrietta Davida Thoreau

We even took a selfie. I saw myself in the picture, and I never saw myself in a picture in a dream. That never happened.

Dalton

Henrietta is beautiful. She says she’s my mom now, but I can call her Mom or Henrietta, whatever I want. The man in the black suit at the Foundation told me she was my teacher. I don’t care, as long as I get to talk to her.

Dalton

I told her everything I knew about what perfect is, like A 440 now and how it used to be A 438 or maybe even 436, but time got faster so A kept up, and how we use that all through the orchestra so we can stay in tune. I can sing it. I didn’t sing it to her, not out loud, but in my mind, the whole time, I was singing A 440.

Even after she went inside to make grilled cheese, I stood out on the sidewalk. It wasn’t that I was scared. It was that I was singing A 440 in my mind and I wanted to make it go longer so that I could always remember how today perfect became home.

Dalton

The sandwich was so good. It was so good that I had to make a joke. Like when you’re so happy, you can’t keep it inside so you have to tell a joke so you can laugh to let out the happiness before you explode.

That’s how good the sandwich was.

Dalton

“Do you know what the judge told Bach?” I asked her. “‘Get used to it! This is life among the imperfecti!'”

That’s the story about when Bach pulled out his violin bow and had a sword fight with the lousy oboe player and the judge got mad.

I’d do that, too. If you don’t play A 440–or, well, it would have been A 346 or 348 back then, but same thing–say you don’t play it. En guarde! It’s a sword fight. Even if you are the imperfecti!

But here, that’s just a story. Because everything is perfect.

Henrietta

Sometimes a face can make you feel things that you didn’t know. Like my heart. It kind of goes slow or something.

I don’t know how real this is. Or how long. But let’s say that it’s just for tonight.

Henrietta

Even if it’s just for tonight and tomorrow I have to go back, I won’t be sad. That’s because I will know that it really exists.

I will know that here, among the imperfecti, we can still have A 440. I have heard it, and I have even seen it.

Dalton

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