Short Story: Her Piano

There it is- the glorious white grand piano. Standing there with that… awe-inspiring poise; appearing so innocent and alluring but fearful and astounding. Still in its fair splendor. Breathtaking in its solid grandeur. My accuser. That I spelled out the numbers on the cheque to have it delivered to our doorstep. That I haven’t been…

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There it is- the glorious white grand piano. Standing there with that… awe-inspiring poise; appearing so innocent and alluring but fearful and astounding.

Still in its fair splendor.

Breathtaking in its solid grandeur.

My accuser.

That I spelled out the numbers on the cheque to have it delivered to our doorstep. That I haven’t been happier than when her eyes lit up with such wonder then quickly filled with tears of gratitude. That those eyes had been directed at me- with all that emotion shining right through. That that had been the most memorable, remarkable moment of my life.

We decided it should sit, or stand, in front of the French windows- so she could look out at the well-attended garden beneath. Surely, such a picture of serenity and beauty would only inspire?

Now the light scatters off the very polished lid of her piano. I once thought it the most beautiful sight, especially when my wife sat behind it- wearing one of her many kaftans while I sat in this very armchair, doing nothing but staring. And smiling. Staring and smiling at them. The piano and my wife. Staring and smiling at my wife and the piano.

At the day’s end, I would stand outside our front door and listen to the trills from the instrument rise and dip on the air waves to my ears- then the sound of hurried footsteps that would come after the loud peal of the doorbell. A door hurriedly flung open would reveal my beaming wife, eagerly gesturing that I follow her- to listen to her latest composition.

She would shift so that I could sit next to her small frame on that little piano bench. My tired back would hunch as I settled in to let the wordless notes envelope me and ease my every tension. But those hunched shoulders straightened out in pride that very first night she performed for her first audience of twenty. The roar of applause has been amplified in my mind’s memory but that look that passed between us as she lifted her gaze above the enthused group of people to meet mine was exquisite- almost like acknowledging my part in it all.

It crept up on me and delivered a huge thwack behind my head before I acknowledged it. Like the first fledglings of a vine you say hello to with a smile that will have covered your wall the following month with its clinging tentacles. The rearrangement; the shifting of chords- when I became number two to the piano.

Perhaps I should have expected it; when the reply to every invitation became “But you know I’m practicing…” When I sat at the front row of the newest audience and sat helplessly as the notes strangled me with their strangeness and modulations killed me with their unfamiliarity. I was no longer the sounding board, the first one to be asked for feedback. She no longer sought out my eyes in the crowd.

But she still shines it daily and yes, she gives life to those hauntingly beautiful sounds that drift up and lie next to me in bed; in the place my wife used to be.

***

Merry Christmas 🙂  Please use the comment box to share your thoughts.

Responses

  1. The Alchemist
    Not so hard to imagine being replaced by the love of something else. But I think that has more to do with unresolved communication issues than any kind of obsession with the piano. The female character seems to have used it to escape some aspect of the apparently perfect relationship. obsessions are an effective escape tool. I wonder what the story is from her own side of the field.

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