As music filled the spring atmosphere, I awoke with a memory that had not been forgotten. My throat had started to run dry as the dreadful thoughts started rushing through my head. The incident replayed itself in front of my eyes, like ghosts were rehearsing a skit. I feel so regretful. As the piano melody continues, I remain a child with a cold soul, forever alone.
The pink tulips I bought her seemed dimmer, less bright, less alive than when I had seen them in the store. I had been staring at them for quite some time, trying to convince myself that nothing had changed. Besides the setting, they were still tulips, they were still pink, and they were still wrapped up the little pink and white ribbons from the store. Sitting in my leather armchair, I stared at them as they laid forgotten on the grand piano in the corner. I could see the dark shadow swallow the flowers and cast upon them the same resentful darkness that had resided over our house for quite some time. My concentration broke when I heard her coming down the stairs. Even though it was a warm spring afternoon and I was wearing my heavy sweater, I shivered violently as she passed. It was the kind of cold I can only describe as what one might imagine passing through a ghost feels like. I stole a glance at her as she stood in the kitchen by the phone, writing something down with pen and paper. I no longer had the feelings that I once had for her. I used to think that we'd be happy and live a long life together but now she's a concubine, a woman temporarily sharing my house. I've come to realize that life is just a palimpsest, constantly on the verge of being erased to make room for new beginnings.
She sat by the piano, staring at the keys that were once played to create a beautiful melody that she can only hear through memories now. She knows over time... she will have forgotten what this all meant to her, or, will she? Spring has finally arrived, or has it always been spring? Or was it winter just yesterday...? She has lost track of time. Every day feels like he had just left yesterday. The days have been blurred together into one sad misery that she will never step out of. The piano held all of their favourite memories together. The first time their hands touched, playing beautiful melodies together. Uniting as one under the sweet ringing of piece coming together. How could she just let this all go? No, she couldn’t. She laid crouched on the piano bench waiting for another season to pass, waiting for him to come back. Has he forgot her already? What could he be doing right now? Thinking about her, maybe?She closed her eyes, hoping to temporarily block out the bittersweet memories. But they crept up inside her. She couldn’t stop them from coming. Like a bunch of swarming angry bees, she let the memories sting her until she felt numb. She was too tired to fight against the pain. She opened her eyes to feel that they were wet with tears, tears that she had forbidden to ever come again. Was her vision not clear? How come there is a familiar figure standing in the doorway? The sunlight is shining too bright through the window, only a shadow could be seen. A familiar warm sense was arousing inside her. That shadow. Is it him? Could it be....
Although my muse is around, my palimpsest is forgotten. The spring sun shines through the window onto its pages, trying hopelessly to beckon me to write. In my mind, it is a ghost. Even if it were to float downstairs and place a pen in my hand I would likely cast it aside. For my concubine has me pinned on the sofa, and I do not wish her to be anywhere else. It’s a funny thing for my muse to be forbidden and keep me from completing my work. It seems like I’m just stacking the odds against myself, but sometimes we must take on risks and challenges for our work to truly blossom. She presses her pink lips against mine, then pulls back and tells me she’s cold. “Would you like my sweater?”“No silly, I want you to warm me up!”I crack a devilish grin and go to grab her shoulders, but she stops me. “…by playing me a rousing tune.”She indicates towards the piano in the middle of the room and mimics the face I just made. I can never tell when she’s teasing, but she doesn’t stop me from getting up and going to the piano, so I sit down and begin playing. Scherzo Diabolico suits the mood. She wanders towards the piano and bites her finger in a cutesy way, then removes the chopsticks she uses to keep her hair up. Like a shimmering black wave her hair drops past her shoulders and in one motion she flips it to one side and locks her deep brown eyes into my bewildered stare. She stops my now clumsy piano playing by sitting on my lap. It’s no wonder I never get any writing done.
It’s 4 am. It’s one of those nights where my sheets suffocate rather than envelope me. I can hear my heartbeat pulsing in my ear as it’s pressed against my pillow. During nights like these, my mind seems to wander on its own. I can see him, his back rigid against the thin but marvelously carved red-oak chair. His thin-rimmed glasses are perched on his slender nose, his stark blue eyes peering from underneath them. He is old and frail, but filled with much more fire than most would assume. “C sharp minor arpeggio,” he says in a quiet voice, expectant. I can hear myself sigh inside my head. Warm-up was never fun. I stumble my way through the arpeggio, the notes disjointed as my fingers rush from key-to-key. Finish this fast, and the better stuff comes next, I think.He tilts his head slightly and looks straight at me. A swirl of sky and ocean blues, his eyes are anything but inconspicuous on his pale face and accompanying wispy white hair. A pause and I know nothing will be said, nor needs to be said. I repeat the arpeggio, careful to hit every note this time in a methodical manner. A continuous succession of notes. When I am finished, I glance back up at him. He says, “good,” but stands up as he does so. This was my cue.I slide off the worn bench and we swap places, him with his slender fingers resting on the tops of the white keys, and myself on the red-oak chair. And I watch. Watch as his fingers fly from one end to the other. His back is no longer straight but slightly bent, moving with the melodious sounds ringing in the afternoon air. As I lay in bed, heavy sadness fell on me. Not only had the world lost one of its greatest teachers a couple years ago- I had stopped playing ever since. I knew he wouldn’t have wanted it, but sometimes I wondered if my passion for piano was all his. Maybe I was just fascinated with what he could do, not me. He made those keys come alive; they danced for him and moved for him and, when they did, the order of the world was set right.It’s 5 am. I’m sweating and my sheets are clinging to me. I clamber out of bed, and slowly make my way downstairs in my bare feet. The smooth floor is cold against my soles. The air is thick and heavy. It’s summer, but tonight even the moths seem to be asleep.The piano sits against the burgundy wall at the end of the corridor. After he died, I used to escape here, and cry over those keys, pitying myself for seeming to have lost my ability to play. I slide onto the bench and tentatively feel the smoothness of the keys. There’s dust long collected, but I could care less. I close my eyes, and picture his face, expectant.“C sharp minor arpeggio.” He waits.My parents are asleep and I know I can’t wake them, but that doesn’t mean I cannot play. I feel my way to the right spot and begin, playing the dusty air above those black and white keys, hearing the music in my head and feeling his direct gaze. My face is wet with tears but I feel the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time. I’m sorry, I think. It had been far too long but I knew, deep down I knew, that nothing had truly ever been forgotten.
I remember, when I was young, visiting my grandmother’s house. Listening to the beautiful sounds of her piano, laying on the odd pink carpet, and the sweet smell of dinner cooking in the kitchen. Visits to this house were always an adventure. Sometimes I would play for hours making forts out of the dusty couch cushions and fighting in epic battles against my siblings. Other times I would venture into the dark, cold basement searching for treasure amongst the room covered with horded junk. Now, whenever I pass by the house, forgotten on a lonely hilltop, I reminisce upon my childhood, and the wonderful times spent there. Although my grandmother has be gone for some time, I know that her ghost remains watching over the house and myself and now my own children, making sure nothing wrong ever happens.