Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
TITLE: Music Room Musings
By Sara Harricharan
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My fingers are moving quickly, tracing up and down ivory keys, stroking, caressing and pressing in a symphony I am already sick of. I don’t know what else to do. I’m sure there’s something I ought to be doing, something other than practicing, but time is running out.
And I have to play tomorrow.
I really don’t want to play. I really, really don’t want to play. But I’m still sitting here and I’m 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 didn’t have to play tomorrow.
The grandfather clock in the corner must be broken. It isn’t ticking so merrily now. I wonder who stopped it. It’s 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 don’t 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 don’t know what to do. I can’t 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 don’t finish it up tonight, I’m gonna get an F somewhere for sure. I’m 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 can’t think of right now. I don’t know what to do. I can’t make myself stop from playing the same bars over and over again. Maybe it’s the song. I was never really able to play past this point before, nothing’s really changed to make it happen now.
It’s 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 don’t 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.
It’s no use.
I can’t make myself play past that point. I can’t 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 don’t 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 don’t want to sit here and stare at music sheets until everything is black and white and I can’t tell how much time has passed.
I don’t want to sit here.
I don’t want to leave.
I really wish I didn’t 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 isn’t mine and play a song I’ve never played all the way through. Then I’ll stand up and smile and I’ll walk away without looking back.
Because I promised.
I really wish I had more time.
Because I have to play this tomorrow—and I’m not ready.
There is something aching in my chest, as if my heart is shredded in pieces so fine I can’t begin to piece them together. Hearing this music makes it worse, but I won’t stop until I can play this piece. I can’t.
Because it’s your funeral, Daddy.
And I promised I’d play it for you.
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