“Fingers relaxed? Check your thumb, is it bent?” Miss Yap chirps. “Check your pinky, is it standing on top of the bow? Now let’s sing: Stir the big soup pot…“
The usual reminders at the weekly Baby Violin group class that the toddler has just started attending, but it’s Pinky’s first session with us, and her ears instantly pricked up at the sound of her name. She quickly realises it isn’t her whom Miss Yap is referring to, of course, because Pinky is invisible to most people, but to the little finger on the bow hand.
Our little horse is bemused. “Why does your small finger have a name?” she whispers loudly into the boy’s left ear. From that shoulder, she can see both his bow hand and the playing hand most clearly. “Why does it have the same name as me?”
The toddler shushes her. Miss Yap is known to reprimand any boy or girl who interrupts the class with too much talking. “But your finger isn’t even pink…” she says again. “Is there a Brownie finger too? And Mummy finger and Daddy finger?”
“Pinky, quiet, or you will have to wait outside by yourself,” he says, in a manner that sounds strangely like mine. The class is attempting to draw circles in the air with their bow.
Pinky hops off the toddler’s shoulder into his 1/16 violin case, where she ponders other questions that have been occupying her mind since her favourite boy began playing the violin. Things such as, why does the violin bow use hair from a horse’s tail? It seems bizarre. Does the tail hair grow back after it is cut?
She wonders whether Brownie has ever been forced to give up his tail in the name of music. Flicking her shimmering tail and tossing her long mane, she resolves to ask him the next time we visit HorseCity, where Brownie now works, providing fun rides to children. Then she sits on the edge of the toddler’s violin case, swinging a hoof and waiting for an opportunity to speak to him again. She does not know whether she should be jealous about the name, and she needs to decide quickly.
Jocelyn Lau is a Singapore-based book editor and writer. She has produced three volumes of parenting haiku, and is preparing her fourth collection, Dear, I’m Pregnant, for publication in 2016. LIFE OF PINKY is a series of flash fiction based on her family’s imaginary pink horse Pinky. Visit: http://www.kucintabooks.com.