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Missing an old piano
By Angelica Bautista Viloria
August 08, 2000
Nope, this isn't about that award-winning movie which I didn't like the least bit. In the first place, I didn't even understand it. This is about that big, old-fashioned, dark reddish brown piano which had been at our house for the longest time.
It was the kind with a cover which you could lift to see all the wires and knobs inside. Its keys were not white but yellowed, with the black parts also slightly chipped. It was an old piano, with character. I never really knew how many pairs of hands had made music with the keys in the past. All I knew was that it was our piano, a hand-me down through generations, a fixture at our house.
This year though, my aunt, who turns out to be the real owner of the piano, re-claimed the fixture. All these years, which saw us move houses twice, we had been enjoying a "borrowed" piano. I never did really like playing the piano. The day they took it away though, I felt kind of sad.
You know how it is when people say that you never know or realize the value of something till it's gone? That's what I felt I guess when they wheeled and carried the piano away. When the piano was gone, I looked and found space. Space filled with memories of songs long past.
Songs of determination. The first time I tried to learn playing the piano, my mom took lessons too. She didn't want to learn how to read notes though. I remember looking at her music sheets and not finding the usual notes. Our teacher then, had written the names of the notes instead (i.e. do-mi-sol). Talk about patience on the part of our teacher. Talk about determination on the part of my mom who was dead set on learning "Somewhere My Love" even if she could not read a single note. If there's a will, there surely will be a way.
Songs of Voltes V. For a longer period of time, I took up piano lessons with yet another teacher and I would go to her house several afternoons a week. I remember, for a time, I would rush home to catch Voltes V, a very famous Japanese robot cartoon then, which showed every Friday afternoon. I even learned to play its themesong and was I thrilled!
Aside from that, though, I had to wrestle with Mozart, Hanon, and Bach, practice one hour every day (which I hated and which now, I regret not having done really seriously), in the process participating in two piano recitals, complete with spotlight. I never knew I would like to learn how to play the piano well when I was older. Oh well, the follies of youth.
Songs of love. The piano played an important role when my husband courted me then. He transcribed the notes of "Part of your World" from the "Little Mermaid" by himself, to impress me. He could have bought a ready-made piece from a bookstore but he was already half-way through when he realized that composing the piece himself was not going to be an easy thing.
I, though, was worth all his effort. He also found the right notes for my songs (yes, I did write corny, mushy songs once) which for the longest time, were just melodies and lyrics trapped in my head. Then we moved on to playing children's songs (i.e. Barney, Winnie the Pooh), when our kid Adi was finally born. That piano saw us through lots of happy times. I'm determined to have Adi learn how to play the piano. Those skills will come in handy once he starts courting girls.
Well, our piano is gone and it left a huge void. The space, though, has also since been filled with a table on which all sorts of photos and frames have found their place. The piano's space is now stuffed with memories which bring to mind different melodies. Wedding marches. Love tunes. Songs of togetherness. Kiddie lullabies. Lilting strains of enduring commitment and growth. Of time passing by and leaving us with more beautiful and inspiring songs to sing.
The piano, indeed, is gone. Surprisingly though, I guess I will always hear the music. In my heart.
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Written August 08, 2000
Copyright © 2000 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of http://www.viloria.com