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I pull the bench away gingerly, not sure if I am allowed. Sitting down, I dust off the familiar sight of white and black and watch in anticipation while millions of notes tangle in my mind. Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I place my arched fingers lightly on the keys. I stall. My hands appear too clumsy for what I need to accomplish. I want to run off stage and trade my flat hands for long, slender ones.
I glance out into the audience to see if I am stalling too long. A baby cries out distracting all the mothers. I hope they will attend to the baby and I can escape my nerves, but no. They have come for music and I must give them. I look back down at the keys and realize that my hands are positioned like two doves waiting to fly. I inhale deeply, release them in a flurry of sound and the silence is broken. The music swells and grows like bread dough rising. When it seems to grow too loud, it is brought down violently to start rising again. The melody flows and thickens like dark honey poured from a bottle. The sweet aroma washes over me as I come to the climax. Fervor overtakes my hands and I falter. The doves return to the clumsy hands I have come to despise and the music is lost. Tears well up in my eyes and my heart bleeds. I wish to take up the last threads of the tapestry woven in the air yet I know I cannot. I collect my shredded dignity and force myself to stand up. I step away from the piano and slowly make my way off stage. I brush past the curtain without caring that it is old and fragile. I wait until I am safe from the scorn of the audience before I weep at the lost painting burning up in the silence I left behind.





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