Image by Kowit Phothisan

When I See A Piano

    To most it's only a wooden box with some strings and a row of black and white bars. When I see a piano, it makes me feel at home. I've grown up to the sounds of my mother's fingers dancing over the keys, and now merely the sight of a piano bespeaks restfulness to me. When I see a piano, I remember several things, all at once. The way it feels to lay down on the floor underneath a piano and feel the reverberations of a concerto through my whole body. The way my dad sighs and closes his eyes to swim in the sound of the music my Mom plays. His face relaxes almost the instant she sits down; he knows it will be beautiful. There is never any question. It's just a matter of waiting for it to begin. When my mom sits down at a piano, there's a feeling of a bow. Not a bow like an I'm-finished-with-a-performance-and-yes-you-may-applaud-at-my-splendor bow, but the kind of a bow you give to your sensei when you're stepping onto the mat, ready to begin. Her face when she plays is relaxed, but concentrated. She is immersed in the music and she pours it from her fingers. When she sees me watching her, she always takes a moment to smile at me and make me feel welcome next to the piano. There's no awkwardness there; she plays, we gravitate toward her. It's just something that happens. Even the animals love it; the cats will curl up on nearby surfaces and give you an irritated look if you interrupt the music. "Who cares if the telephone is ringing? Leave the music maker alone!" Their glares say. When she sits back down to the piano, they curl up again, ready to enjoy. It evokes a feeling of Sunday afternoons. There's nothing that's urgent on a Sunday afternoon. Nothing that you have to worry about, no-one around that makes you uncomfortable. You are in your comfortable clothes, feeling peaceful and happy. And somehow, on Sunday afternoons, there is always something yummy about to happen in the kitchen. This is what I love about pianos. I'll miss terribly the opportunity to lay beneath the grand piano and let Chopin wash over me. The Sunday afternoon feeling, the notes of Pride and Prejudice or Wedding Day at Trollhagen. I'll miss you, piano. And thanks, Mom.

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