In My Element

The concert hall was still.

Gone were the echoes of applause. Bare were the walls, the projections of flickering shadows - a head thrown back in laughter, a shift in position, the lifting of spectacles. Silent, abandoned, were the spaces between which flaunted opera prima donnas, outside of which perused orchestral connoisseurs, and within which darted theatrical aficionados. And I could hardly lament this quietness, for it seemed, at this moment, all mine to fill.

I knew I shouldn't be there, but I'd never been that close to a piano since the day I lost it all. My uneven footsteps clumsily take the grand stage and I command the attention of my many ghosts, those figments of my imagination that fill every empty seat of the grand opera house. I walk to the piano. The smell of the piano's mahogany interior is always the first thing I remember. I place my weather-worn, dirty fingers upon the smooth, white ivories, and feel the familiar weight of gravity as I begin to push against them.

Each tinkering of a note lingers upon my fingertips and my audience stills their breathing to hear the next rise, and, they will anticipate, the impending final fall of the delicate melody. But. They are mine to surprise: I give them no fall. I leap prematurely into a rich interweaving of notes, a profusion of bright and joyful cadences. I unbury my head from the piano, to see only upturned mouths. My fingers dance across the keys with the lightness of a swallow. But then, they must come down; always, they must come down. How do I bring them down so suddenly? I turn fingernail to key and draw upward, playing every note in a splendid crescendo. The crescendo slows and my audience turns their ears inward as I halt.

A blatant B flat begins the slow, minor march. Aggravated discordance pierces their ears and I cringe as I strike the chords to aggressively, so unflinchingly. But the beginning melody can always overcome. And the fluid notes most poignantly run their course, ringing against the silence. Fingers held, pedal down, I listen to the final note as it bounces against the interior. The crowd applauds.

The concert hall is humming.

I then return to my corner on the street, where a man in a suit turns and asks, "Do you know where I can buy a latte?"

@ 2011 by Rachel Lowry. All Rights Reserved {photo via: vi.sualize.us

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