Tom and Tim grew up great friends. Soon after they learned how to spell, they figured out “i” and “o” were the only difference in their names.
They liked their parents, teachers and country. The United States, as they were told, was the greatest country in the world. Their grandparents, as they’d find out on a rainy Sunday when they watched a TV show about a country in Europe that didn’t exist anymore, came from the same place.
“We could be related,” Tim said.
Tom thought Tim would be a much better relative than his Uncle Oswald, who wreaked of cologne and was always trying to give him great advice about his life. Tom wanted to become a baseball player and he wanted to marry a woman some day who could make apple pies because he loved apple pies.
Tim also wanted to become a baseball player, but his mother wanted him to play the trumpet.
Tom also wanted to play an instrument, so he started playing the trumpet, too.
Competition got the better of Tim and Tom. They stopped hanging out because they wanted to practice separately, so they could win the solo in the concert and so Heather, the best trombone player in the band, would notice them.
When the music teacher, Mr. Holden, chose Tom to play the solo, Tim stopped talking to Tom, Heather and Mr. Holden.
Tim’s mother didn’t understand why he was quiet and angry. She read books on how to let go while lending a hand. One day, Tim told her about the solo, so she hired the best music teacher in the area.
Soon enough, Tim was better than Tom on the trumpet. Everyone, including Mr. Holden, could tell, so the teacher gave the solo to Tim.
Tom found out about the new trumpet teacher and he, too, became a student. Tim and Tom filled their block, night and day, with the sound of blaring trumpets.
As the concert approached, Mr. Holden became dismayed at how the two trumpet players were trying to drown each other out. He sent Tom out of a rehearsal, which caused the lower brass and flutes to stop playing because they supported Tom. When Tom returned, however, the bickering continued, so Mr. Holden sent Tim out of the room, at which point the clarinets and percussion stopped playing.
Mr. Holden removed the song with the trumpet solo from the concert. The boys blamed each other and, soon enough, an all-out war on social media broke out between Tim, Tom and the parts of the band that backed each of them.
Mr. Holden threatened to cancel the concert, but the town wouldn’t allow it, especially because the concert was the highlight of the July Fourth celebration.
One day, when Tom was too tired to play the trumpet and he wanted to get away from his annoying uncle, he collapsed on the couch and turned on the TV. He watched a black-and-white film about people coming from the country where his grandparents were born.
When the show ended, Tom got on his bike and rode to Mr. Holden’s house. He rang the bell.
“Mr. Holden, can you please put the original song back in the program? I’d like Tim to play the solo,” Tom said.
Mr. Holden smiled.
“He just asked me if you could play the solo,” Mr. Holden said, opening the door to reveal Tim standing in the kitchen.
When the concert ended, Tim and Tom were sure of one thing: They had to be related.