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Something Given; Something Taken

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“Hello, and welcome to the recital.”
They come to welcome me.
But I don’t feel welcome, I feel trapped.
What if I can’t remember what I’m supposed to play?
Or what if someone laughs, and sticks their finger at me?
While I’m deep in my thoughts,
The first performer starts.

Suddenly it dawns on me.
I feel like a puppet on strings.
And suddenly I want to run out,
And never be called back in.
But I know I can’t let my teacher down.
I worked too hard for this.
So I try but on a brave face,
And stop being so nervous.

“Ritwika, please come up to the stage.”
I hear from the announcing table.
I’m frozen in place.
My friend gives a gentle push,
Willing me to go up and show them what I can do.
Here goes.

With as much courage as I can muster,
I go up to the stage.
Ready to go up and play the songs I have practiced for days,
months,
years.

The keys look so beautiful,
Shining in the spotlight.
Waiting for me to make the piano come alive.
I start with my easiest piece,
It is funny, laughable, and enjoyable.
After I am done, there is silence.
You could hear a pin drop.
After all, they aren’t supposed to clap until the end.
The next piece is my hardest.
The one I have been playing forever.
Or so I think.
I give it all I have,
Making it the best performance I can let it be.
Or so I think.

I wait in anticipation,
Ready to hear their applause.
But just like before,
The pin that drops can be heard.
Then, as if coming back to life,
The audience looks at me in awe.
I then begin to understand
For I have taken them to a different place,
A place where the world is better and understanding.


And then I hear it.
The applause I have craved for,
That doesn’t seem so important any more.
Instead, my extremely powerful ears hear
the audience’s respect for me as they clap loudly,
smiles beaming on their faces.
I have realized another thing.
I will have changed their worlds.
When they will go home,
They won’t remember me, as I had hoped.
They will remember the music.
The magic of the moment.

They were in it, and realized what a precious moment it can be.
I hope that the moment’s magic will one day reflect how they will choose to live.
But for now,
I will bow and walk away.
I am the messenger, leader, and follower.
For I have also been changed by the magic of the moment.
as I walk off the stage,
I make a vow that I will never forget this day,
And how much it will have impacted me.



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