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The piano that sat in the day room of the old Victorian had known many players over the years… and many voices had lifted up to join it’s melodies and fill the home with music. Whether the music had been joyful or mourning, angry or inspiring… the instrument had never sat unattended long. Many hands had tuned it, lessons had been given and rehearsals had been performed. As she sat there staring at the piano from across the room, curled in the large arm chair that still smelled of pipe tobacco and spearmint, she could still hear the lively Christmas carols and the bawdy, somewhat off-tune singing of her Great Aunt Marguerite.

She could remember the way her mother’s delicately boned fingers had danced over ebony and ivory like stream water over smooth stones, the way her brothers and sisters had fallen asleep on the nearby couch listening to silly lullabies and the way her father had told her stories about far off lands and men and women so brave, so magnificent that they couldn’t ever have been real. She could remember the way her Grandmama would always turn to her daughter when she came to visit. “Play me a song, Rose. Please play me a song.” The old woman’s hands had held a tremor in them even when she was only in her fifties and sixties… she’d long since lost her ability to play with any real finesse, and so her only moments to experience the peace music could bring, however second hand they were, only came during her visits with the young family.

Anette could remember the day she’d met the man who would later become her husband… He was 17 then, and Anette, only 15… had no idea that the beautiful boy with the graceful fingers and deep, soulful blue eyes would ever be more than a school girl crush. She had no way of knowing, as she sat on the stairs listening to her mother lecture him on the important of patience when playing Moonlight Sonata… that she was listening to her future. She had no idea that ten years later, both her parents would be interred in the local cemetery within weeks of each other, and that her husband would spend hours playing at that piano to soothe the shattered soul of his young wife and their three daughters.

She had no idea that the day she’d snapped at him for taking too long “playing around on that damn piano” when they were running late for a meeting with the local private school’s Head Master about getting their twins in despite the long waiting list and strict acceptance guidelines, would be the last time she’d ever hear him pull a tune from the object that had sat in that room for decades before she’d been born. She’d been unable to get closer to it than she was in that moment since the night a drunk driver stole her hopes and dreams from her, but it didn’t matter…

Even now, as she slowly rose from the arm chair and moved to kneel before the piano, her head coming to rest against it…

She could still hear him playing. Five years later, and she could still hear Moonlight Sonata played just a bit too fast, and Claire de Lune pulled from the depths of it, floating around her to caress her like the hands of a lover. She could still remember them… remember them all…

Every. Last. Note.

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