Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)
TITLE: My Nanna's Piano
By Pamela Weeden
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Her piano had sat silent for years.
Yellowed keys, untouched by hands grown arthritic and old, lay in quiet retirement; music just ghosts in the dust.
Still it held pride of place: a display cabinet for all our achievements, photographs and poster paint creations weighed down in glitter. A place where she marked the milestones of our lives. As time passed and we grew, school uniform shots became wedding day poses and graduation memories; childish art gave way to tiny prints of grandchildren’s feet. In the stool, she kept every card she had ever been given.
On the top of that piano lay our opuses. With a pianist’s gifted hands, she played out the composition of our lives. She decided what it was about us that should be allowed to resonate, to stand out and to be the note that lingered. She decided where the staccato should lay; where the things of which we could be proud should be framed by emphatic silence. Our falls, our hurts and the parts of us sometimes broken she marked with accents and allowed them to taper away and blend into the quiet. She decided where the light should fall.
Through an old piano she could no longer play; she taught us that life is a manuscript full of layered instructions and tiny marks hovering over black notes. How this is played, however, lies in our hands. How we measure the quality of our lives, what we choose to see in others and what we choose to leave in the hearts of our audience long after the performance has finished is a matter of deciding which should be the notes that resonate and linger and which we allow to blend into background harmony.
Now she is gone and her piano is with me. Life continues. My clumsy fingers coax melodies from those yellowed keys and they can tell stories once more. It is in those snaps of my children in Christmas play costumes competing for space with Mother’s Day gifts, however, that I find her. As I play out the compositions of my children’s lives, help them to acknowledge their strengths and teach them where the light should fall, I truly understand her gift to me.
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