Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sing us a song, you're the piano man

I lost my oldest friend in the world today.

I'm told that as a baby, my friend was my first in-house jungle gym, only smaller and noisier. And certainly older, at that time having approximately 70 years on me.

As a toddler, I was afraid of my friend. It lived in my basement and I vividly remember finding a spiderweb tangled around my friend. But I always came back to my friend. Crawling on it, exploring the magical qualities I found it possessed if manipulated correctly.

The magic is what kept us together as friends - helping me to learn music, helping me to learn in general, listening to me when nobody else could, motivating me, challenging me, frustrating me, rewarding me, giving me more by doing nothing than I could ever have thought really possible.

My friend is - was, I should say - my piano. I remember sitting with my best friend in Toronto, herself a virtuoso pianist already at the ripe-old-age of about 6, teaching me to play "Ode to Joy" based off a milk commercial that then used the song as it's jingle. You might say it was my first lesson in ear training. I remember this equally well as I remember being 16, mired in the depth of problems only silly sixteen-year-old girls can have, playing piano by candlelight during a blackout and forgetting entirely that I had problems of any kind. I remember, too, being about 13 and at a piano store with my cousin, excited to get my hands on all kinds of sheet music to take back and share with my friend. I remember days I played the piano because it was fun, because I needed to practice, because I was upset, because I was bored, because I just... how could I not?

When I moved to New York, I accepted that I would not play piano frequently. Keyboards, are, after all, expensive. And take up a lot of space in a small dorm room. And being not a music major, practice rooms are hard to come by during the hours I need them, and it soon would turn out my practice room time had to basically be reserved for singing. But ah, to come home, to re-greet my friend, to tell it what I had learned and what I had seen. The piano was my constant. One among a number of things that really and truly never changed in the last 3.5 years.

But the fact is, the piano is OLD. Like, really old. Like, dated 1917 old. It's fragile. And nobody else in my family plays. And so when my parents decided that they were, in the long term, looking to sell our house, it became inevitable that the piano should leave us. Now it moved to another family whose little girl will grow up on it the way I did, hopefully. My friend can become her friend. Cycles, and all that.

It's just... I miss my friend. The space of wall where it lives doesn't look right, and I'm not sure how long it will take me to figure out that that's how it goes now. I am in, I am sure, for a very unpleasant surprise at Christmas when I return to this house having forgotten that my friend doesn't live here anymore.

I miss you, my friend. Thanks for everything.

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