The ivory gleamed under her curved fingers and she watched her tear slap onto the surface. Her finger hit an A instead of A flat and she halted. It was then she noticed that her shoulders were shaking and that her breathing was uneven. She felt her hair in her eyes, but she didn’t want to remove her fingers from the cold keys in order to push it behind her ears. The piano seemed an instrument of perfection to Talia. The shine of the keys and the glow of the polished wood, the ring of the strings through an empty room and the ease of the pedal. She loved that you could peek inside to see all those miniature hammers tapping on the strings. They reminded her of a mini factory: all the mallets working together to create a beautiful harmony. She loved the way she could make people feel by her playing. Today, her music was sad. Not the kind of sad that made you drop to your knees and sob, but the kind that sent silent tears down your cheeks and made you think about what you were crying for. Talia knew what she was crying for. She cried for the families in need and for children without enough to eat. She cried for children who couldn’t hear a bird sing or who would never see a flower bloom. She cried for the old man who was burying his wife. She cried for the little girl that sat alone while the other children played. Her tears poured out. She knew what her father would say. He would say that tears are a sign of weakness, but Talia knew this wasn’t so. Tears made her stronger. They empowered her to make a difference. Talia’s tears were made of ivory.