Mourning a piano

9 08 2018

Never did I think getting rid of an old piano, the thing, would evoke such emotional feelings in me. I put it outside today, to make room for another one, a better one that was newer, shinier, and in tune.

The old piano—I didn’t name it, but it had a name. Story & Clark, and on the back of the sound board was a plaque that said it came from Aloha Piano. I had it for 50 years until today, and it traveled with me from Manoa Valley to Waikiki to Lanikai to Kaaawa.

My father, who had not supported me for several years when I was a minor, ended his silence one day by giving me 800 dollars cash. I used the money to buy the piano. I learned to play on my mother’s parlor grand. I don’t know what happened to it. The three of us went our separate ways.

Ayla’s first piano lessons were on this piano. Now 9, she played the C scale she remembered from a few lessons I gave her and got out her music book just as the piano movers arrived. They took the old piano to the roadside, brought the newer, shinier one to its place in the living room. After the moving truck left, a man came knocking at the door. A stranger.

“Why?” he asked, arms in the air. “Aren’t the keys good?” I explained some were stuck, some strings were broken, all the strings were rusty, and there had been termites in the cabinet. And that the piano tuner could no longer tune it up to concert pitch. Could he ask his friend if she would want it for her kids to plunk on? Sure, I said. She didn’t come.

Anna asks via Facebook if there are any salvageable parts for abstract wall art. Sadly, I am not that ambitious.

All afternoon kids and other passers-by have been plunking on the piano. It will be there for four more days, in the heat and the rain, before it’s taken away. I may still hear it. I’m crying.

Like an old mistress or lover, the memory will take a long time to subside.

©2018 Rebekah Luke

 


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