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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)

TITLE: Music Room Musings
By Sara Harricharan


Time. No time. Need time. More time. Less time. Need more time.

My fingers are moving quickly, tracing up and down ivory keys, stroking, caressing and pressing in a symphony I am already sick of. I donít know what else to do. Iím sure thereís something I ought to be doing, something other than practicing, but time is running out.

And I have to play tomorrow.

I really donít want to play. I really, really donít want to play. But Iím still sitting here and Iím pressing keys that make sounds and noises that fill this tiny room. I wish the house was bigger. I wish this room was bigger. I wish that I had a grand great room to play the piano in.

And I wish I didnít have to play tomorrow.

The grandfather clock in the corner must be broken. It isnít ticking so merrily now. I wonder who stopped it. Itís never stopped before. It always keeps on keeping on. Even when the sound gets on my nerves so bad that I can hardly think.

I donít know what to think. But my hands are still moving over these long, ivory keys. They are still playing the notes my tired eyes are reading off the music sheets propped up before me. I donít know what to do. I canít make myself stop.

And I have to play tomorrow.

There are a hundred things I should be doing. Homework, for one. Yes, I should be doing homework. I have tons and tons of homework and if I donít finish it up tonight, Iím gonna get an F somewhere for sure. Iím pretty sure. I guess, I mean, I have decent grades. Decent enough, anyhow.

I should do my chores or something, like the dishes or the laundry or sweeping out the garage. Anything, anything at all but sitting here on this old wooden piano bench and stabbing these ancient keys with my skinny fingers.

The noises that are filling this room are off-key and off-tone and off whatever else I canít think of right now. I donít know what to do. I canít make myself stop from playing the same bars over and over again. Maybe itís the song. I was never really able to play past this point before, nothingís really changed to make it happen now.

Itís too sad.

And I have to play it tomorrow.

The sadness intertwined in the melody is like the sorrow of a thousand tears meshed into some kind of tangible reality and twisted into something people adore. I donít see why. It hurts to play, it kind of. My fingers keep moving, starting again from the top and playing all the way down to the half-way mark on the music sheet.

Itís no use.

I canít make myself play past that point. I canít continue with a straight face and a calm composure. I try, but my fingers stop. My hands hover over the keys for a long moment and then my eyes flit back to the top of the page and I start over again, like a glitch somewhere.

But I have to play it tomorrow.

This is taking up more time than I want to give it. I donít want to waste my afternoon sitting here, hammering away on keys that are empty and lifeless, just like everything else in this gloomy, little room. I donít want to sit here and stare at music sheets until everything is black and white and I canít tell how much time has passed.

I donít want to sit here.

I donít want to leave.

I really wish I didnít have to play tomorrow.

But the music is necessary. I know no one else will do it. Because I know, I will do it. I will walk up there and sit at a piano that isnít mine and play a song Iíve never played all the way through. Then Iíll stand up and smile and Iíll walk away without looking back.

Because I promised.

I really wish I had more time.

Because I have to play this tomorrowóand Iím not ready.

There is something aching in my chest, as if my heart is shredded in pieces so fine I canít begin to piece them together. Hearing this music makes it worse, but I wonít stop until I can play this piece. I canít.

Because itís your funeral, Daddy.

And I promised Iíd play it for you.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Louise Willard03/03/11
Very good piece. Felt the frustration and turmoil of his (?) heart all the way through it. The last couple of lines really brought the "ah-ha" moment and explained the level of all that he was feeling and why. Very well done! Congrats!
Noel Mitaxa 03/04/11
I love the clever way you have constructed this, because the repetition was clear without becoming predictable. From initially suggesting that the musician was an immature brat you have thrown in a twist at the end and earthed it beautifully. You have also captured the emotions very succinctly and acccurately, because while I have led many hundreds of funerals, the two hardest were for my father in 1993 and for my mother in 2004.
Rachel Phelps03/06/11
I wondered if it was because of a funeral from the start - but I recently had to sing at my Grandfather's funeral and experienced a near-identical inner monologue while practicing for that. Really excellent throughout.
Bonnie Bowden 03/09/11
Well written piece. I liked the repetion of phrasing and the building of emotions all throughout.
Beth LaBuff 03/10/11
Wow, Sawa... I've been through similar emotions, practicing for funerals of family or close friends and wondering if I'll get through it. You nailed that. Your repetition in thought mirrored the repetition of the practice. This is wonderful!
Amanda Brogan03/10/11
Wow, this was good even before I knew that she was playing it for a funeral. That ending really tied together all the hesitation and determination she felt toward the song throughout the whole piece. This is perfect for the topic!

Congratulations on your third place and Editor's Choice!
Rachel Phelps03/10/11
Sara, I'm so glad this placed! Congratulations on a well-deserved EC!
Rita Garcia03/10/11
As always, I love your writing style! Wonderful!!! Congratulations!!
Loren T. Lowery03/11/11
Very, very happy for you. Do you move up to Masters now. Sure seems like you should! Loren