Monday's Memoir: I Will Not Die With This Regret

i took lessons in brief stints
with months or years in between.

Then one day, (during one of the breaks)
i wanted more 
i sat myself down at our piano
opened a book
pieces i had not yet heard
could not comprehend.

it was painfully slow
taking my right pointer finger to the sheet music
face almost kissing the paper
carefully counting the lines and spaces
from middle c (because I knew where that belonged)
to that mysterious note marked on the page,
i held my finger still, memorized the number
and then, using my left hand
I would walk my fingers from middle c
down or up the keyboard
the same number
play the note
say the name of the note







i got faster and faster
i began to know
i could pick up simple pieces and just play them
at first glance
my mother caught me
praised me
"you can sight read"
and she signed me up for lessons again.

i performed at my first recital
when i was 14
it was a simple piece
i was certainly no virtuoso, but afterwards
a man came up to me and said,
"you have the touch -you love the music and play with feeling"
i was surprised
but i believed him
because he was a stranger

it was a work that brought simple joy to my day
every day after school.
I wasn't forced to practice
i liked it
i got lazy too, playing 
the same hymns, the same old recital pieces
my mom would walk by and coach
slow down!
don't muffle through the difficult parts!

occasionally i branched out and learned new things
running into new music at grandma's house
was a thrill -
a new emotion
a new rhythm
a new mystery to unlock
and set my heart to.

always, it begins slowly
and then
usually too loud,
pure joy.

everyday there was time for music.

when i grew up
i thought i had to let it go
it was more like an afterthought
i didn't cry about it or anything

i had reasons
i was in love, moving out
apartment was too small

a house that's too small

sometimes i get to play in church
i have lost a lot of strength
i fumble
notes that I worked so hard to know
are puzzles on the page again,
but it still brings me joy

i miss the piano
i have lived almost as many years with out it
as i have with it

when it comes to the mystery of time
perspicuity comes in retrospection
now, I see - 
we insist upon things
or we don't
time does not care

i feel deep regret
at missing out
at not making it a priority
letting it go so easily (how could I do that?)

my children should have grown up
listening and playing
they don't know
how much i love it

i have cried about it
some days.

I am making a 5 Year Plan.
It includes a giant piece of furniture.
I look forward to sitting down to play
and play...


Sarah said...

Love your post Melissa actually I love them all. There is so much feeling in what you write its inspiring...

D said...

We have a piano if you ever want to come play.

cristie said...