One of the reasons I started this blog is to write about my crazy life, except that in writing this blog I have left out a giant part of my life - my family. So I'm going to start posting little tid bits, young memories that kind of build upon each other like stones in a fence around me.
The day we got the piano was not very special. I didn't know anything about it until my father pushed it through the door, with some help from the neighbors. There was no where to put it, so they put it in the kitchen. This was before we remodeled, so the kitchen was dark with yellowish tiles and dark brown cupboards, and a greying pink paint covering the walls like a sunburn poorly hidden. The fridge purred next to the piano and the guys wiped the sweat from their brows, hands on their hips starring at it. No one knew how to play it.
My mom got it from this meth head lesbians who had painted it white. I think it was payment for some drugs, but I'm not sure. Inside was a lovely rich brown wood with a glossy finish. The keys were made of real ivory but some of them had been peeled off, the glue still stuck on the wood on some keys. I studied each key and imagined they were portraits of men with interesting faces. The bench that we had was broken and didn't match the piano at all, but it was a bench. I itched to touch all the keys, but I was too afraid. I didn't want to make noise, I wanted to make music. My parents used the piano as a place to pile paperwork and things. It was kept closed with stuff all over it; most people didn't even realize it was a piano, they thought it was a desk or something.
I begged for lessons but my parents said no. My sister had gotten a flute for band and bailed on it after two weeks - they weren't doing that again. So I didn't get in band either, which I was bummed about. Then grandma gave us girls all tiny pianos, about 12 white keys and each key was smaller than my finger. But the keys lit up and played 10 songs. I memorized the songs and cleared off the table one day, putting the little keyboard up like a music book. I learned ode to Joy when no one was home. I played it over and over. I didn't even hear my mom come in.
She came into the kitchen with a baseball bat held back, her face a mix of fear and rage.
"Holy Jesus, Sky. Give me a heart attack."
I looked at her silently, hands still suspended over the keys.
"I thought someone broke in!" She said, throwing her hands to each side, like "duh". "I thought they must of broke in and were playing the piano, I mean no one knows how to play the piano. Were you playing the piano?"
"Ode to Joy."
"Where'd you learn that?"
"The little keyboard plays it, and I just matched it to the big piano."
She looked worried.
I would get lessons a year and a half after this, my dad thumbing through the yellow pages and calling everyone on the music store's list with his nervous fake professional voice "Hello sir, good day. I was wondering if I could inquire about piano lessons for my daughter.... Ah yes, thank you for your time, we will call you again if we are indeed interested in obtaining a lesson from your organization."
I was nervously sending my father loving thoughts as he did this. I was watching him from around the corner, my hands clenched tightly around the sleeves of my sweater.
My piano teacher lived on the outside of town past the cemetery and the Christmas tree farm. Her house was unremarkable, surrounded mostly by fields. She showed me her back garden once, and that was beautiful. It had a little pond and a platform with two chairs facing the fields, she said they called it the field room. There was a hammock hanging under some berry bushes and raised vegetable beds amidst a wildflower garden. She was tall and slim with long thick grey hair, and little laugh lines around her eyes. One look at her and you'd think, new age hippy for sure. Which pegged her. She talked like a therapist, always said I couldn't sue the word "can't", so I would say "I think I am not able to at this time" instead, which made her smile and give a disapproving look. I would actually end up confiding a lot into her, sometimes we would waste a third of the lesson talking. I still am in touch with her. I quit taking lessons when I graduated high school, I figured it was too expensive anyways.
My mom always hated the noise. She would say "if only you wouldn't play the same song over and over", "But I have to practice songs over and over to get them right", "well you asked! Why do you have to play right now?"
My dad would listen to the radio in the car and turn to me, pinching above my knee which made me jump. "Why arn't you playing like this by now?" He would smile and pretend to play the piano to some blues song.
I like playing at night when no one is listening, no one is around.