In all of my house there is but one thing that turns this simple dwelling into a home. My beloved piano presides in polished grace at the heart of our family room, drawing the room together in friendship. The warm, cherry finish adds charm and elegance to the prosaic furniture, as well as coziness in the austere room. It has been an object of pride to my family because of this touch of beauty it creates. Yet there is more it has given to my life; it has given to me the gift of music.
When this piano first came into my home, I did not realize how much I would come to enjoy its presence in my life. It was given to my mother by Mrs. Jorden, a kind, elderly woman who was my grandmother’s good friend and a household name for her children. She loved to play, as told by her old music sheets left in the bench, worn and marked over from her pen. Somehow this wonderful woman had convinced my mother that her children needed to learn this musical skill and so, it was she who first had me take lessons. I did not take well to the teacher and soon quit, yet somehow this lovely instrument beckoned me to continue playing. Then, slowly I found a desire to play.
Though it is not as impressive as a grand piano, I still have reason to be proud of it. It stands graciously, like a queen in her royal court, yet inviting people to come and create their stories of music. At first glance it appears almost new, but further discernment will reveal its age by the nicks and scratches of constant and much use. One can find coffee rings and fingerprints covering the still shiny surface, as well as sheet music scattered about in a pretty disarray. A handle is missing from the door that covers the keys but that does not matter as it is never closed. The three once dull brass pedals near the floor have been shined by innumerable feet brushing against it. The very top holds a collection of knickknacks that won the fight to occupy that place of honor. Only items such as a small picture in an intricate frame, a tiny trophy won at a recital, a metronome, and my mother’s wedding album were deemed worthy to remain. And the most important feature is the endless row of perfectly placed black and white keys.
Although dingy from dust, fingerprints, and the gum from when we labeled each key, they produce a sound of beauty contrary to its appearance. One never quite knows how the notes will sound because no two are ever alike. First the sound may be lilting and soft, rolling out in a dulcet song, and the next minute it will be booming and dark, resounding from deep within. However, it is not completely free to sound as it pleases, for I can command, with a single hand gesture, the tone of the song. My every touch is obeyed and yet there is an indefinable something that the piano gives to each song, making it wonderful. Perhaps this comes with age, by the character it has acquired through time, but it is because of this that makes it special. As for me, it is especially dear to me because I have found, through hours spent playing with notes, the best sounds it can produce. I feel a certain possessiveness for this piano because no one else knows it as I do, nor has spent the amount time as I have.
Through the uncertain years of a teenager, this instrument has been the best friend I could ever have. It listened to my musical stories of pain and joy, then it comforted or rejoiced with me. It was my confidant and friend, it never reproached or yelled, only listened. I was never lonely in this company and spent many happy moments embraced in sound. I learned to find beauty in even the most discordant sounds, a lesson that stayed with me as I grew older. Finally, the most cherished gift I was given was a skill, a talent at a time when I thought I had no other, and when I thought I was good at nothing. I was special because I knew how to do something that no one else in my life could. I will always remember that and never give up playing.