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Story listed as: Fiction For Children | Theme: General Interest | Subject: Healing / Renewal | Published here : 11/10/2016
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Piano House 
 
By Catherine Yating Zhu
Born 2004, F, from Portland, Oregon, United States
Piano House
Sometimes my life seems like a never ending marathon. I want to give up, but I donít want all my hard work to be wasted. After the tragedy that befell my wife, Iíve been a mess. Today, as I begin walking out of my house for a walk around the neighborhood, I see myself in the old, cracked mirror on the wall. I see tired eyes staring back at me with a balding head of hair that is slowly turning white, and wrinkles that give away my age easily. Iíll soon be 60. I still have some of my life left to live and yet Iíve never wanted more to join my beloved wife in heaven.


I walk out the door and step into the chilly and slightly breezy weather. I have a feeling that todayís stroll will be special. Itís autumn, one of my favorite seasons. Some leaves are turning golden brown, while others are transforming into a light shade of yellow. My wife used to love walking around the neighborhood taking in the changing seasons from summer to fall. So as I make my way around the block I picture her and her beautiful, caring face smiling down at me from the above.


ďHello dear Roza. How are you today? Itís a bit lonely down here without youÖĒ I murmur to myself, partly to her. Obviously thereís no response for my answer except for the whooshing and whistling of the wind.


Suddenly, I hear a beautiful, calming sound. I think itís coming from a house down the street. I walk a little faster towards it, mesmerized by the lovely sound of music. And then I see her. A young girl sitting on the piano stool, her slender fingers brushing across the piano keys producing elegant smooth melodies. She can be no more than 12, her chocolate brown hair falling loosely down her back like waterfalls on the side of a mountain. Sheís playing the famous Clair De Lune by Debussy. I could recognize this piece anywhere, Iíve heard it so many times. My wife used to love this song. Soon I lose myself in this lovely piece of piano work. I imagine that instead of being all alone in this chilly neighborhood, I am floating above in the sky with my Roza. I can almost feel the warmth of the wind as we float by. The sky so blue it could have very well been painted on by an artist.


Suddenly Iím brought back to reality. The music stops. I notice the girl has left her stool. Sheís gone. So I began slowly walking back to my own house, dreading the loneliness that will settle in me once again when I arrive.


The next day, I find myself walking towards the ďpiano houseĒ once again during my afternoon stroll. This time, the girl is playing a dramatic piece; Moonlight Sonata 3rd mov by Beethoven. Once again I lose all sense of reality as the piece flows through me. This time Iím huddled with my wife on a park bench during a wild thunderstorm. Her warmth is so comforting despite the coldness around us.


ďIt sure is cold tonight.Ē She says.
ďBut itís much better because youíre with me dear,Ē I tell her. She smiles lovingly. And then the music stops and once again I am pulled back to reality.


Days fly by. The autumn weather soon blends into winter. All the leaves fall away and the trees stand bare as snow begins to fall. I almost always wake to the sound of wind whistling and the sight of pure white snow settled over the entire neighborhood. While winter may seem cold and unforgiving, everything about it is elegant; the wisps of snow that fall from the sky like little angels sent from the heaven, the frost that settles on the sidewalks that glint and reflect the sunlight during the day...


And most importantly, every afternoon I pay a visit to the ďpiano houseĒ. Soon it turns into a routine; my legs walk themselves to the mesmerizing sound of piano music. And every time, I drift off into my daydreams while she plays. Every time the piece is different and yet every melody is unique in itís own beautiful way. Mozart, Bach, Debussy, Clementi, Beethoven, I hear them all. Every piece takes my breath away.


Surprisingly I find myself feeling happier and less miserable every time I hear the girl play. Itís like meeting Roza again when I hear the pieces. My mind begins to slowly adjust itself to the hole left in my heart. I feel the sadness slowly edging away into the back of my mind while happiness begins to warm my body once again like it did years ago.


Today, I leave to take a walk around the neighborhood. As I pass by the mirror on my wall near the door I see myself. My wrinkles seem to have smoothened a bit and my lips lift upwards in a light, easy smile. I have changed a lot ever since I heard the girlís pieces. Funny how much little things can do so much for you without you realizing itÖ


When I arrive at the ďpiano houseĒ, I hear a very different song being played. Unlike the usual classical, baroque genres, the song is slow and romantic. I feel like I've heard it somewhere before. Oh yes, I remember now. Itís Spring Waltz by Frederic Chopin. It was played at my Rozaís funeral. Looking back, I thought it was the saddest song ever composed in piano literature. But now as I hear it again years later, I feel something different tugging at my heart. It is sorrowful piece but one can find a bit of hope when listening for the deeper meaning. Frederic Chopin was a miserable man. He lived in sadness and surrounded himself in gloom; similar to how I used to be. His piano works reflect his own life and emotions greatly. So as I hear this music on this cold winter day years after my wifeís death, I remember how I felt the day of her tragedy; sadness, loneliness, misery, along with all those other negative emotions.


Without any warning, as I linger in front of the house, the young girl, turns around, notices meÖ and smiles. I notice her unique eyes. They twinkle in happiness. Her brown irises are highlighted with a slight amber. They looked at me with such kindness. I havenít been smiled at since my wife passed. Although I was standing in the bitter cold, her smile warmed me, heat coursing through me. And thatís when I noticed the similarities between her and my wife. Besides their appearances, they both have gentleness woven into them; a loving, caring, and kind aura. Although the young girl didnít know it, her music was the highlight of my day. I had a sudden longing to visit to the cemetery.


When I arrived at the graveyard, the ground was covered in a blanket of snow. It crunched under my boots as I walked towards Rozaís gravestone. I found it immediately. It was gray with an old fashioned design carved into the stone. I kneel down in the snow placing purple pink orchids next to it. Orchids symbolize love, beauty and strength; the strength I needed now to move on from the tragedy that befell my wife long ago. I came here today to start over, to begin fresh. I look at the gravestone as I slowly stand up. I will never forget you. But itís time for me to let you go. I love you. And so I walk away, the piano pieces still flowing fresh in my memory as well as the girlís beautiful, warm smile.
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