Tickling the Ivories

It’s funny what we remember. I was 11. Too tall and wide for Gap Kids, Mom took me to the Gap to select my recital outfit. My wrap skirt was pastel plaid, and I wore a sleeveless, denim button down. I imagine that brown loafers and white socks completed this early ’90s classic look.

A mere month after starting piano lessons, I was thrust into a recital. Even then, I knew I wasn’t ready. I sat in the audience for hours awaiting my turn; the more remedial the student, the later the time slot, meaning I was one of the last to play. With every piece I listened to, I slunk lower and lower into my seat. Surely I wouldn’t have to follow these (what seemed like) masterful students? Alas, my name was called. Dead woman walking, I approached the stage and banged out “Hot Cross Buns,” or something equally as easy. Upon blessed completion, my face burning with shame, I turned to the audience with my head hung low and took a bow I felt I didn’t deserve. I never returned to my lessons though every once in awhile I’d sneak back to the keyboard and teach myself a song by sounding out the notes.

Though I understand why I quit lessons at the time, I still long to play the piano. Actually, I wish I could sing, but, well, that’s not in the cards for these vocal chords. I like to think that there’s a musician inside my soul just waiting to break free and rock out. This desire has been escalating over the past month or so, and after casually mentioning wanting to take lessons again to my family, I ended up with my childhood keyboard in the backseat of my car last night. I set it up in my room, started to walk away, but then ran back to it, pulled up a chair, and started trying to sound out “Silent Night.” Finally, I Googled the music, Sharpied the notes onto the keyboard, and practiced and practiced and practiced. At last, confident I had the song down pat, I called down to Roomie and asked if he wanted to hear me play a song.

Roomie: Is it “Silent Night,” by any chance?

So, next order of business is to get some headphones. I don’t want to subject Roomie to any more one-hour, one-song concerts.


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