Part II: The piano,

like all pianos, was as much an instrument as a piece of living room furniture.

Piano Keys

You’d keep ornaments and family photos up on top, maybe a bowl for your car keys. Imposing in its boxy umber, it was located between two windows as a kind of dark fulcrum between the glistering squares. Never mind that the external wall behind it would mess with the tuning. It looked better there.

But the thing was more than just one of the furnishings. It had a kind of life to it as well.

Built like a nut-brown Trojan filly, she was neither fed, watered nor ever tuned, but stood faithfully between the curtains and waited. She would answer the song of a slammed door with a gentle call of her own, but was otherwise hushed. Immaculately trained.

Once, my little brother climbed her with a fork in his hand. She bore the scars in quietude. In time, dust filled the wounds.

When my sister had lessons the keys responded politely and with grace, as if they had only ever been played this way. Slowly. De. Lib. Er. Ate. Ly. Almost thankful, and without a note of complaint.

But when my father sat before her she awoke and sang.

She trilled in response to the childish laughter around her. She chirruped as if she were being tickled. She intoned a sonorous echo of the nearby highway, the strains of which had so often disconcerted those two windows. She could weep like moonlight on a lake in C sharp minor.

And, when it was all over, she stood like a piece of furniture.

Photo frames and window frames. She was something special.


~ by Daniel Townsend on August 26, 2013.

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