They broke into my sea of problems rushing through my brain as I cleaned the house. There was a slow pounding to them as if sorrow was leaving the body and finding it’s own center.
I hadn’t heard any music, at least not from the piano for two months.
A half-smile split my thoughts apart.
My daughter finally played it.
Her piano teacher and mentor left for New York City a couple of months ago. She was the opposite of Daisy, my daughter. She smiled all the time and laughed a lot too. Most people who do this too much make me very nervous because I feel like they’re trying to cover something up.
But, Daisy who normally carries a serious demeanor found her teacher refreshing and inspiring. I did too. Then she left.
Since then, Daisy has avoided the piano, which she used to play every day. She abandoned it in a sort of mourning process because she really loved this teacher.
Even though her school has a piano teacher, we’d leave school at four and drive a half hour through heavy traffic to another school, a school where rich kids played tennis and housed a special piano teacher.
In a second-floor room, they sat and played. I took my shoes off and lay on the floor in a desperate attempt to fix my aching back. Between the hard floor and the therapeutic drop of each piano key, I was a new person at the end of each session.
More importantly, Daisy smiled and pushed back her shoulders that normally curled inward out of insecurity.
After two years of lessons, I realized, watching and listening to them together, that this very young woman wasn’t just her teacher. She was her mentor.
She was her mentor because she held Daisy to a standard above which desire met talent. She was an artist.
This mentor wasn’t just teaching piano. She was a pianist and a singer. So, the respect Daisy felt for her flourished on a level beyond teacher and student.
When she left, well, she took Daisy’s soul.
So, when the notes spilled into our house this last week, I smiled the smile of an artist who knows heartbreak.
My eyes filled with tears but none spilled over.