Claire de Lune

May 10, 2012
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When he arrived,we always had one of the old hand painted dining room chairs sat next to thepiano, ready and waiting. Or at least it was hand painted, up until two summersago when Father took it into the old ballroom and worked for three days spraypainting all of them. But in the end, the old chairs still looked beautifulperched regal and alert next to the equally old piano. It was an upright piano,and sat plain and dull hunched in the corner, waiting to be noticed. For all itwas, it certainly wasn’t ugly, just worn and old, like all things come to be.The smooth wood deprived of its shine from too many years of use was peeling,and white rings marred the surface indicating where one too many hot mugs oftea had been placed without a coaster. But when the lid was raised, it was likePandora releasing mankind’s worries. Only here, the piano released a wave ofemotion that enthralled me and urged me. Touchme, it said. Play me, as best as youknow how. Through the years, the piano became my audience. It wasn’tunusual to see me as I mindlessly ran through scales and trills, using the timeto think about other things. The music was like a sort of silence to me. In apeaceful, beautiful way. When words used to comfort me, I now sought peace inthe melodies that allowed me a contrast to the outside world I knew so well,one in which people strove to find words to express themselves. One where liveswere dedicated in search of the perfect word or perfect sentence, yet livesthat left believing that they had failed, not knowing that words aren’teverything.

Even in the slowyears after I let its lid finally drop close for good, that old piano stillcalled to me when I passed by it to let the dog out the back door once in awhile, or to dust off the fireplace we never used. Because even after thenovelty of fiddling out tunes had worn me out, the peace and beauty and magic the opening of its lid had unveiledsomehow continued to stay with me like a guardian. I could always count on sittingat the bench and feeling calmer in that shaped space. It was a sort of haven. Asort where even words mattered more in that corner than it ever could in thereal world. It was an old friend who understood me better than I understoodmyself, who showed me the balance between music and silence and words— and infact, taught me that they were the same.

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