She's always loved music. Little wonder with a composer for a father and operatic singer for a mother. She grew up listening to the classics. Could tell Beethoven from Bach after only hearing a few notes. By the time she was four, she'd branched out into just about every genre. If it had a beat she wanted to listen to it. Rock, blues, jazz, country and western. It didn't matter. She loved them all.
Her parents were ecstatic. They had such high hopes for their only child. Their friends considered her a prodigy. Certainly she would follow in their footsteps. They had it all planned out before she even started kindergarten. She would attend the best music schools and then Julliard and then... the world would be her stage. It was a perfect dream.
Until her first piano lesson.
They'd chosen the best instructor in the area. A former concert pianist. Only the best for their wunderkind. They, along with the instructor, were understandably confused when what should have been a simple melody sounded like a clash of notes. She knew which keys to hit and how the song should sound but nothing came out right.
Maybe it was a fluke.
The lessons continued. Seven years with as many different instructors and no audible results. Her parents tried not to worry. They told themselves that the piano just wasn't her instrument. She joined the school band and picked the flute only to drop out after two months. The director claimed she lacked the ear.
Singing lessons, guitar lessons, more piano. Nothing. After twelve years, they reluctantly let go of their dreams of Julliard and fame. Their precious little girl, who could listen to a song once and tell you the meter, the instruments used and scale, would never been a musician.
She took it the hardest. It was depressing to have such a passion for something only to fail so miserably at every attempt. Her junior year of high school, the guidance counselor pushed her to join an extracurricular activity. Band and choir were out, obviously. Her athletic aptitude was worse than her musical, so that left out sports. Her choices severely limited, she signed up for the math and science competition team. She'd done well enough in those classes and knew several of the kids on the team but she wasn't holding out much hope of success.
The physics and calculus spots were filled so they placed her in the only available one. Computer programming. After only one day of practice tests, she'd displayed a natural aptitude. It was like working out a music puzzle. Rather than try and figure out meter and instruments, she had to figure out commands and order. Years of piano lessons paid off as her fingers flew across the keyboard. It wasn't quite like playing the piano, but the rhythm was the same. She's always been good at rhythm.
Soon she was winning competition after competition. Her parents didn't understand any of what she was doing, but she was happy and so they were happy. They were silently relieved that she was good at something.
It wasn't long before the college recruiters started sniffing around. There were offers of financial aid and customized degree plans. With every competition won, the college brochures seemed to double. They spent weekends composing lists of pros and cons for every school until they agreed on one. It wasn't Julliard but it was the best.
And that was all they'd ever wanted for her. The best.
Three years of college were followed by two years in graduate school and then she finally accepted one of the open-ended job offers that had been waiting. It's a dream job and not too far from her parents. She gets to visit every other weekend and spends hours relating tales from the job.
They smile and share her boundless joy, but they don't understand. She has no corner office. There is no six-figure salary. No fancy title or extravagant perks. She passed all those jobs up to work for the FBI. They applaud her decision to help catch criminals but they don't understand how she can be happy working twelve hours a day in a small basement office staring at computer monitors all day.
She knows they don't understand. Knows that deep down they still wish she'd shown even the slightest bit of musical talent. She thinks that if they could see it the way she does, they'd realize that what she does isn't all that different from her father. She puts together different pieces of code, pieces that blend together beautifully. She molds the program until it sings.