Piano Keys

November 16, 2010
The old stairs were creaking loudly underneath my feet, but thankfully no one could hear me. On any other night the old house would of given me away, but tonight the only sound that could heard , was the gentle melody of misshapen fingers pressing lightly on the piano keys downstairs. I knew I was supposed to be asleep but as a seven year old I found it impossible to go to bed, or at least that was the I excuse I used to say up past my bed time. My long pink hand-me-down night shirt was trailing behind me nearly tripping me at least a million times down the stairs, but I finally reached the bottom.


The piano, as far as I can remember, was in the dining room at the time, so all I had to do was duck behind the wicker arm chair in the living room where I thought I was well hidden. I could watch her old long fingers play the almost memorized music from the reflection in the mirror. Her voice matched every note she played, going low first then high and back down again. I watched her completely hypnotized by the music.

Imaging myself one day playing like that seemed nothing more then an impossible dream. I couldn't understand the notes or words written on the sheet music from the late 40s or 50s. I can’t remember the exact song she was playing, only that it was the most beautiful song I had ever herd in my short seven year old life.
I’m not sure how long it was before I dared to move again but it felt like hours. The one thing I didn’t know then was that from the moment I got out of bed she knew I was there. I was watching her fingers in the mirror and all of a sudden she stopped and stared right back at my reflection. I ducked as fast as I could but my elbow hit the old fashion brass lamp with a loud echoing clang… I knew I was caught!


Every though I knew I was it was to late I still tried to sneak up the stairs hoping I could get away with it. I only got to the first step before I heard “Nicole” but her voice didn’t sound angry at all. As slow as possible I inched my way through the hall, that now felt icy cold underneath my bare feet. I tried to press as close to the wall as I possibly could. When I finely got to the dining room, my eves cast down looking at my chipping purple painted toes, I quietly said “ yes Nannie”, she motioned for me to forward so I did.

“You should have been asleep by now.” she said.

“I know but I wanted to hear you play” I whispered. I thought she was going to be angry or yell at me but she didn’t. She slowly slid over on the piano bench and told me to sit down. I must have been smiling she just sighed and began to play again.

I sat there, still as a seven year old possibly could. It seemed like the whole world had stopped to listen, even the tree frogs seemed unusually quiet. Now I could watch her fingers glide almost effortlessly over the wooden keys.
She wasn't singing anymore, just quietly humming the melody. The song she played wasn't short but it seemed over all to soon.

When she stopped she looked at me and said “ That is one of my favorite songs” I wanted to tell her something but I
suddenly forgot what it was. I just sat there looking into her old tired eyes, somewhere inside them the beautiful light blue of her youth still seemed to sparkle. Finally she said “You heard me play and now it’s time for everyone to get to bed”. Of course I whined how I wasn't tired and begged her to play" Just one more song” but she didn’t give in.

Finally I gave up and started back up the stairs to my room that now felt like a dungeon. Everything seemed to come back to life, the crickets and the tree frogs continued their previous conversations with one another, and the stairs seemed to creak louder then before. The magical notes that had filled the air moments ago were now silent, the whooshing of the passing cars could be heard again.


I got almost half way up the stairs but then I stopped and said
‘Nannie”
“Yes” she replied
“Goodnight”
“Goodnight” she said softly.
I got up to my room promising myself that I would not fall asleep but before I knew it was morning and the familiar smells of Maxwell house coffee and scrambled eggs filled the air.She wasn't singing anymore, just quietly humming the melody. The song she played wasn't short but it seemed over all to soon.

When she stopped she looked at me and said “ That is one of my favorite songs” I wanted to tell her something but I
suddenly forgot what it was. I just sat there looking into her old tired eyes, somewhere inside them the beautiful light blue of her youth still seemed to sparkle. Finally she said “You heard me play and now it’s time for everyone to get to bed”. Of course I whined how I wasn't tired and begged her to play" Just one more song” but she didn’t give in.

Finally I gave up and started back up the stairs to my room that now felt like a dungeon. Everything seemed to come back to life, the crickets and the tree frogs continued their previous conversations with one another, and the stairs seemed to creak louder then before. The magical notes that had filled the air moments ago were now silent, the whooshing of the passing cars could be heard again.


I got almost half way up the stairs but then I stopped and said
‘Nannie”
“Yes” she replied
“Goodnight”
“Goodnight” she said softly.
I got up to my room promising myself that I would not fall asleep but before I knew it was morning and the familiar smells of Maxwell house coffee and scrambled eggs filled the air.She wasn't singing anymore, just quietly humming the melody. The song she played wasn't short but it seemed over all to soon.

When she stopped she looked at me and said “ That is one of my favorite songs” I wanted to tell her something but I
suddenly forgot what it was. I just sat there looking into her old tired eyes, somewhere inside them the beautiful light blue of her youth still seemed to sparkle. Finally she said “You heard me play and now it’s time for everyone to get to bed”. Of course I whined how I wasn't tired and begged her to play" Just one more song” but she didn’t give in. Finally I gave up and started back up the stairs to my room that now felt like a dungeon. Everything seemed to come back to life, the crickets and the tree frogs continued their previous conversations with one another, and the stairs seemed to creak louder then before. The magical notes that had filled the air moments ago were now silent, the whooshing of the passing cars could be heard again.


I got almost half way up the stairs but then I stopped and said
‘Nannie”
“Yes” she replied
“Goodnight”
“Goodnight” she said softly.
I got up to my room promising myself that I would not fall asleep but before I knew it was morning and the familiar smells of Maxwell house coffee and scrambled eggs filled the air.





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