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The Piano's Dancers
In the back room of an old hotel, which was shut down long ago, is something special.
Before its closure, this hotel used to be open to all of the richest people to sleep in one of
its grand rooms. They streamed in and chatted to one another in their rich apparel and
fine silks, making the hotel seem even more spectacular.
Majestic as the people were, however, they appeared dim compared to the two small
children- the daughter of the hotel’s owner and the son of the janitor- who always danced
to the sound of the piano that was provided by the musicians’ talented hands. The people
always paused and watched as the children skipped and spun around the room on light
feet. Their names were Harmony and Cedrik
Sadly, the years began to pass by and Cedrik and Harmony started to grow into their
older forms. Though the miracle of the transformation of her gaining slim, long arms and
legs and him growing to be lean and strong with sturdy shoulders and strong hands was
welcomed, the other changes in their lives were not. They continued to dance together,
every evening when Cedrik came to see her after they came back from that day of school.
The people continued to watch them, but instead of whispers of how ‘cute and
innocent’ they were, their words were replaced with ‘radiant and passionate’
as they glided about the room in tune with their piano.
One day their special time together was brought to an abrupt end when, Cedrik’s
father was unexpectedly in an accident and passed away. Suddenly Cedrik was the man
of the family, he was forced to get a job and had no more time to go and dance.
Harmony’s life was also thrown off course when her parents decided that she needed to
get a proper education. They determined to ship her to New England to a finishing
school where she would stay with her aunt.
In the final and few days before her departure, Harmony had begun to create a small
cross stitch work on a handkerchief. She sat all day and night laboring over the small bit
of cloth and thread, carefully placing each stitch in the right spot and making sure it was
perfect. She finished only a day before her train was to come, but Cedrik never showed
up to wish her farewell as he had promised her. The next day when she was boarding the
train she fought back the tears that were trying to escape so desperately from her eyes.
She wondered why Cedrik had forgotten her. How he could have forgotten her? She had
just given up on the hope of him coming when she heard her name being called above the
noisy crowd. She hesitated on the platform and turned to see Cedrik racing toward her
with a look of urgency.
“Harmony, I feared I had missed you,” Cedrik’s gasps came in heaves as he tried to
catch his breath in the freezing air.
“Why had you not come to see me sooner? I had begun to think you’d disregarded
me.” Harmony smiled as she took in his sharp face and bright eyes for the last time.
The train whistle blew before Cedrik could reply and the crowd of people was pushing
her inside. Cedrik and Harmony both reached out one last time for each other’s hands, as
though preparing to grasp the other and begin to dance. But instead of sweeping her
away, Cedrik merely slipped her a small box which contained a golden necklace with a
locket hanging from it and she slid the handkerchief with his initials embroidered on it
into his calloused hand. The crowd ripped the two apart before another word could
be spoken, but it didn’t keep Cedrick from whispering “Never,” a reply to her last
Letters were written after that. She told him of her lessons of violin and how she sang
in her choir every Sunday. He wrote to her of how he missed her and how her parents
seemed to be fairing.
Time continued to go by and Cedrik lost his job and his home at the hotel. Harmony’s
father apologized a thousand times, but there was nothing he could do. The Great
Depression had eaten all of his money away and he no longer had customers. Cedrik
helped him sell all of the furniture and helped him shut it down. Everything was sold
except for the hotel and their piano, which was left there at Cedrik’s request. They
both thought it was a small hope that in the future they could someday return.
Harmony’s parents then moved to live with Harmony and her aunt, leaving Cedrik
alone except for his family. During this time, Cedrik often skipped meals or stood in
bread lines while everything he was able to buy went to his family. He barely managed
to keep them in the small house they’d been forced to move into after the hotel’s closure.
In the middle of those trying times his mother died, leaving him solely responsible for his
one sister and three brothers at the young age of nineteen.
Meanwhile, Harmony was better off, but not by much. She, her aunt, and her mother
took in laundry as they struggled to get their own money while her father desperately
tried to bring in more money. But they were forced to move into a cheaper part of town.
And to her horror she lost contact with Cedrik due to his and her forced moves.
Cedrik tried to save enough money to go and see Harmony, but never could. He
finally sent her a letter to explain the reason for his neglect. It was returned to him
unopened. It took him months to give up, but eventually
he realized she must have moved on and married another. A man who could provide for
her, someone better suited for her than himself. But even these dark thoughts never made
him stop dreaming of that piano and of him holding her close as she smiled and danced
Just as Cedrik had begun to repair his broken life, he was called to war. A violent and
horrible attack was launched against his country at Pearl Harbor. He, along with his three
younger brothers, was sent to the Philippines. As he fought and witnessed the death of
two of his brothers, he felt he surely would follow after them shortly. Through those dark
hard days, he kept her last gift in his chest pocket so she would always be close to his
heart, even if he wasn’t hers. He fought for her until a bomb took one of his legs. His
only thoughts of this misfortune were Now, I truly can never dance with her again.
During that time Harmony knew that he would be out there fighting, so she did the
only things she could do. First she signed up in one of the factories and began to make
weapons that would help keep him safe and bring him home. Then she encouraged all of
her neighbors to plant victory gardens and ship gathered supplies out to the soldiers.
She did all this to keep Cedrik safe and well. She knew she would be all right as long as
he was fine, even if he was not with her. But, still, every night she dreamed of him and
their piano keys playing for them.
More years passed and the piano became forgotten. Dust covered it first, hiding the
once shiny wood, then it slowly began to dry rot. It had been sixty years since it’s
dancers had danced together, and they now laid on their death beds, each a thousand
miles away from the other and the hotel that had brought them together. Harmony
wrapped her old frail fingers around her necklace that she’d received so long ago and
whispered, “I love you” softly into the darkness wishing that he were there to hear her.
Cedrik grasped onto his handkerchief with a sad desperation, as though he believed the
harder he held onto it the closer it brought him to her. They were both now alone and
forgotten, lost in two separate nursing homes. Together, as if in step to a song, they took
their last breath and released their souls.
If you happen to be at that old hotel you might hear the soft notes of a song being
played by a ruined piano. And if you happen to be there, if you look closely, you might
just see two radiant dancers sweeping across the floor of the magnificent ballroom. If
you happen to be there you might just smile as they, once again, fill that abandoned hotel
with joy. Because they both know they will never be separated again.