Play for Your Life

“Begin again.”

The crone behind me lit a cigarette and eased back into her chair, rivaling its wrinkles with her own. I shut my eyes tightly and took a deep breath. Only two more months. Then school starts again, and I don’t have to deal with her all the time.

School as a sanctuary? Only the irksome words of old Mrs. Schooner, my piano teacher, could make me view it as such. Her cramped, moth-bitten living room was the place where I spent my summers, trying in vain to play myself a one-way ticket out of Nowheresville. Camps, parties and the beach all took second place to my lessons. The piece, the future, the smoke in my lungs. That was the mantra of my life.

I poised my fingers over the age-worn keys- “Posture, child!”- and began the piece. Desperation, desire, and Debussy. I played for my life.

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