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Saturday Serendipity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Slumped down in a chair on a Saturday afternoon, my brother read his book, angry at me because he had better things to be doing. At the same small, square table, my parents sat with backs erect and eyes pensive.

I was the cynosure of the room. A group of elderly people, men and women who had decided that watching some girl play piano was in fact the best way to spend their afternoon, sat in either anticipation or ennui. The piano was turned toward them so they could see me, not just my curly hair dancing above the piano.

My introduction was short. I gave my name. I sat down at the piano. I wondered why I was so nervous to be playing at a nursing home. I threw the nerves to the other side of the room (they probably landed on my parents) and pressed a couple of keys.

The piano had a nice sound, and the acoustics were also good. The pedals were too high for my liking, but I had worn heals intentionally. I had music prepared and some solos that I enjoyed playing. Regardless of the venue, I play music better when I love it.

As it always does, the audience disappeared for me as I played my first note. I watched the music and my hands followed along, and gradually my thoughts were filtered away until all I cared about was the piano, my hands, and the music. When I remembered that I was not in my dining room, frustrating my parents with the cacophony of my practicing, I smiled to myself. I was sharing what I love to do with people who chose to listen.

Playing in a nursing home is different than playing in a formal concert. The level of expectation is not as intense. It's mostly gratitude.

My big reward came when my hand was taken by another, a varicose hand worn with wisdom and age, as I was genuinely thanked for ­coming.

When that happened, there was only one thing I could say: “I'll see you next time.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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