Ten or fifteen years ago, when I met my stepfather for the first time, I was playing the piano. When I found out someone I didn’t know was listening, I showed off by pretending the Clavinova demo songs were me. In my delusional teenage mind I thought I might have pulled it off. Rudy was duly impressed, but knew I was a fraud. He kept asking me to play and I kept saying I was. In truth, I was too shy to play.
He and my mom went into the kitchen for a cigarette and coffee. When I was sure they weren’t listening, I started to play. It was a Clementi piece, which sounds more impressive than it is, in my opinion. I was in the middle of a bunch of scales that sound particularly interesting when I heard Rudy call in, “Hey, now, that’s the piano doing that, right?”
I know he was trying to break the ice with me, and probably also with my mom, but it’s something I never forgot. At the time, I turned beet red, stopped playing, and went to my room to get over my embarrassment.
Tonight as the notes flowed from my fingers for the first time in months, that memory came to mind. How can I give it up?