I looked into my bedroom mirror and noticed the golden locket hanging iaround my neck. It was a momento of my aunt, Auntie Beech. She had died a few years earlier of a strange illness. Apparently, it had weakened her immune system and when she caught a cold, there was nothing to cure it. Mom used to say that she was in heaven with Grandma and Grandpa. Of course, I thought that she had just gone to visit. I didn't know then. But now I know that she isn't going to return.
Auntie Beech was a woman who had to have her way. Always. She used to have a cane, and when you would annoy her, she would tap it fiercely against the wooden floors, her black beady eyes would turn to stone, her lips would curl up into a tight position and she would sit upright in her chair and stare at you. This made me feel extremely uptight and frightened, for it would take her hours to calm down. She would ignore you during that time. When you walked by her, she would pretend not to see you or when you asked her a question she would respond in an icy manner.
One day, in the middle of spring, I was practicing a Chopin Nocturne in C Minor on our piano. I was rehearsing for a recital which was in two days. Excited as I was, I was also a little anxious, because Chopin's pieces are difficult and complicated to remember. A memory slip would be a terrible disaster. Thus far, I had remembered the first two pages. As long as I was thinking of something nice, like the crashing of waves against the rocks, I didn't miss a note. Well, I was doing fine until Auntie Beech strolled in, her wooden cane tap-tapping noisily against the wooden floors of the music room. She took a seat in the armchair a few feet away from me and listened quietly. I don't recall her twitching her nose once or stirring in her chair at all. Good, I thought. She was content, until ,
"Stop! Stop! This waltz is about to make me scream! Play something to my liking..."
"It's a nocturne, Auntie," I interrupted. Suddenly, I realized what I had done. Her eyes stared fixedly at me and there was a strange twitching of her lips. I knew I had to apologize or she would complain to Dad (who was already sick of her presence). "Sorry, Auntie, but I was playing a Nocturne in C Minor."
"Humph...play a waltz."
"Yes, Auntie." I sat there and stared at the white keys. The sun shone through the bay window and onto the piano top. The window was open and from the outside came the sounds of birds of all kinds. They loved to hear the piano. As soon as my fingers touched the keys, their beautiful chirps began in unison. Then a breeze brushed gently at the curtains making the sun rays dance. I lost the reality of my aunt being there and thought about the birds and the dancing rays like people on a black dance floor.
"STOP!" cried my aunt. I didn't seem to want to obey her - at least my fingers kept on playing the melodious notes. "STOP!" she exclaimed again, this time attacking the wooden floor with her silly cane. I couldn't. I wanted to continue as long as the birds kept singing and the sun danced on the piano top. Auntie Beech got up, her face as harsh as ever, and stormed out, her cane tapping angrily on the floor. I knew where she was going - to complain to Daddy. I smiled to myself. Even the birds seemed to be laughing in their song. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.