First I hear someone in the living room. I hear a tentative plunk on a single key of the piano. A single note. Someone’s in there. We used to have a cat that would sometimes explore the ivories, but that cat is long gone. I hear another single note. It is definitely one of my daughters. Either the one who has just begun piano lessons a couple of weeks ago or the adult one in for a few days’ visit. She might be staring at her beginner book and looking down trying to find Middle C which is just to the left of the two black keys under the name on the piano, Wurlitzer. Still no more music. Just an occasional little, light tap on a key. She is studying. She is thinking. Then another key is pressed. Now a chord. No, it’s not my 9 year old. It’s my second daughter who has sat on that piano bench for hours. Her Teaching Little Fingers to Play book has been buried in a box in the basement for years. She is no beginner and she needs no book. She is a composer. She doesn’t identify herself as that, but she is. She sits, she contemplates, she gently touches a key or two. She hits a few chords, some that she’s invented that don’t sound just right. A few pauses between exploration and then her fingers start working together. The song just flows, faster, more involved, more intense, with phrases and pauses, with intent and purpose. It is a song I’ve never heard before….a song she hasn’t heard before on the piano, but obviously it has played in her brain at some point. Her fingers are now cooperating with the song that she has heard in her head while skateboarding or walking or resting. Her hands put a sound to her thoughts and her thoughts are beautiful. Sometimes as surprising and as unpredictable as she is. Sometimes the “songs” don’t seem to flow the way in which we expect them, but sometimes she doesn’t either. Regardless her song is unique and so is she.
The music stops. She moves on to another activity. She didn’t write it down, she never does, no one else will ever get to hear that original composition. She’s okay with that. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to have had her share her thoughts with me through the closed door. She doesn’t know that she was sharing.
She lives away now. Tomorrow she will move to Colorado. Her thoughts will be geographically even further away than they were before. The piano that used to sing her thoughts every day will only be used by her from time to time when she visits. I know that when she returns she will have new thoughts and new songs. I’m excited for her to see new sights, make new friends, try new things. Her songs will change as she does and both will only become more and more beautiful as they do.
Note: Originally penned on 8-17-15; N is happily adjusting to life in Denver, CO.