Yours? I asked, smiling to the lady on the other side of the counter.
Yes! she answered excitedly.
It’s very sweet…I recognize it from Shop 77.
I pressed the keys on the toy piano, playing a loose and twanging version of The Skye Boat Song.
I’m glad it’s going to a good home…I said, still smiling.
She smiled back.
I walked away, remembering the night I had choked at the sight of the text message on my phone…
Do you want to give a home to a piano?
My had husband raised his eyebrows, looking at me over the top of the book he was reading. The apprehensive look on his face made it clear that I’d made a sound like I’d just heard someone had died.
I’m getting a piano…I’m getting a piano, I whispered.
A PIANO!! I shouted.
I stood up. I sat down.
A piano!?! I said, looking at my husband with crazy eyes.
I was getting a piano.
It had always been the plan, to get a piano. We called it the Grand Piano Plan. I had wanted one all my life. As a child I would visit friends that had pianos and I would sit at them for hours, pretending to play. At school, I would sneak into the music room at lunch and make friends play for me…the Anne of Green Gables music, the Beverly Hills 90210 theme, Chariots of Fire…Heart and Soul. And the fact is if I saw those talented friends today and there was a piano within 10m, I’d make them play for me again.
I quite simply loved the piano.
The news had left me staring at the living room of our small post war house. It was a Rubik’s cube waiting to be solved. Again. Shifting and rearranging wasn’t uncommon. There was always something ‘new’ making its way into our home. But this wasn’t a stool or a picture to hang on the wall. It wasn’t the likes of an new addition to my tin collection that could sit upon a shelf.
This was a piano.
A visit to see it in situ, to check logistics and if it really would fit into our little home, left me giddy and grinning ear to ear at the sight of the unique 1950s mahogany upright.
She was beautiful. She wasn’t a grand but she was grand!
And when I tried to express my gratitude to the piano-gift-giver my voice broke and went wobbly at the reality of what was happening. I didn’t need to check that it would fit. Heck, I would get rid of my bed and sleep curled up in a ball in the corner of the room if I had to. She was coming home with me.
The piano removalists hauling her up the front stairs declared that she was without doubt the heaviest piano they had ever moved. I smiled proudly, like a new mumma. They sighed with relief at the sight of the French doors and the fact that she was going to live just 3m from the entry.
She was beautiful. Like a new baby, I counted her keys. 52 White and 36 black. She was perfect.
I set about rearranging the room aware that every time my back was turned she was looking at me. It was like there was an elephant in the room. An acoustic, stringed but percussion, melodious, polished elephant.
I moved things from here to there and there to here and I would glance up and now and then and see her there. Watching me. She stood boldly in the room. Like she had always meant to been there. She was willing me to come over, lift the lid and at least press a key.
So I did.
I sat down at the seat. Lifted the lid. Raised my hand and pressed on Middle C.
She sang out, resonating as the little hammer inside struck the string and rebounded.
Oh it was grand!