Yay! Tuesday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week! Why, you ask?
IT’S SLICE OF LIFE DAY!
About this SOL: I’ve been wanting to post this story for awhile, but I’ve been waiting for the right time. The weird thing about writing is that sometimes when I write I am still unsure of what I actually mean. Luckily, I have an awesome writing prof (Everybody say hi to Mike!) who had us watch the well-known TED talk by Ken Robinson on “Why Schools Kill Creativity” Yesterday. As I watched the talk, I realized that the slice that I wrote is all about the unbridled creativity of childhood that we all seem to “grow out of.” Anyway, this SOL is inspired by my childhood piano lessons, during which I didn’t truly learn to read sheet music until I had been playing for about 5 years. A few weeks ago, I went to observe my old piano teacher’s daughter’s music classroom, and when I entered their house in the morning before school, so many memories of growing up in the arms of the grand piano all unexpectedly hit me at once. This Slice is what happened as a result:
The young girl walks with her chin tilted upward, directly to the book-covered grand piano. She plops her canvas bag haphazardly beside her and climbs onto the bench. Her feet dangle beneath her, unable to touch the ground, swaying like wind chimes in a summer breeze. Her hands fall on the ivory keys like a ballerina’s as she steps up the the barre. She glances over at the woman beside her, a motherly red-head with glasses, and finding encouragement, she closes her eyes and plays.
Her fingers dance over the keys like they are puddles meant for jumping in. Her rainboot-fingers tip toe, run , and jump, occasionally stumbling, but she smiles on, a true child at play. She plays fearlessly, fast, and without hesitation. She grins with the confidence and pleasure of someone with the power to create. She is like an artist, painting carelessly just to see the way colors look on the canvas.
I blink, rinsing the last notes of the sonatina out of my head. The girl and her beloved teacher are gone, but the room is like a still life painting – seemingly untouched throughout the years. On top of the piano are the piles of piano books, dog eared and creased from years of soaking up students’ learning. Beside the piano still sits the stiff leather arm chair. The lipstick stained coffee mug waits patiently for the rare moments between students’ eager fingers and performances meant for two. As I sit in the swiveling lazy boy chair, I can hear my mom chastising me. “Sit still!” “Don’t spin!”
I am haunted by the girl with the crooked smile and the absent two front teeth. She reaches out to me, offering a hand with the wide-eyes look of a girl who is unfamiliar to the shackles of failure – A girl whose ears cling with joy to the way her own music sounds, uninhibited by the prison of strict black slashes and bullets of a crisp sheet of music. I shake my head, knowing that I could never truly return to her, for fear of a wrong note or an extra repeat in a line of music unenclosed the those two simple dots that allow for such a decision. I am too afraid, so I clutch my thin sheets of music to my chest and spin slowly in my chair one last time before I tip-toe out, being careful not to disturb the girl’s music.