I watched his hands move up and down the keys of the immaculate black grand piano. He brought forth the notes effortlessly, making sounds that stirred something breathless within me. 

We had both just graduated with undergraduate degrees in genetics. He was leaving in a week to move back to Iran. I was staying on for a few months to finish up a project on pea chloroplasts. After that? I was not entirely sure.

This man, a man who I had not given a second thought until that very moment, was suddenly the most desirable man I knew. It was powerful. It was heady. The swell of the song’s crescendos and decrescendos distorted my reality. I began thinking irrational thoughts. 

How do I keep this music for myself?

He asked me to play a duet with him. I complied. We made beautiful music together, there in that room.

Notes, people. We made beautiful music notes!

I had come to the student center practice rooms with my sheet music intending to practice by myself. We ran into each other there by chance, the last familiar faces left on campus. 

A few hours later, over a cup of coffee, the spell was broken. I felt a deep loss, grief even. I wanted to go back there, back to that piano…

The seductive power of music.

My son started piano lessons last week. Listening to him bang out his first official notes brought to mind this old lost memory from another time. A brief interlude. I had not thought about my friend for years. We never spoke again and I rarely play anymore.

I wonder where he is now? Is he teaching his own son how to play?

I see the piano lessons as an investment in my son’s future happiness. Each Thursday afternoon I will bequeath to him the power to change hearts. 

Please use it wisely, kiddo.


70 thoughts on “Staccato

  1. My one true regret is that I did not properly learn to play an instrument. Real skills on an instrument are still important in the 21st century.

    Please let the boy have fun and improvise. It keeps the imagination going.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have played piano since I was 7 years old and love it! I am eternally grateful to my mum for patiently taking me to lessons, listening to me practice and attending my piano concerts. Learning a musical instrument is one of the best gifts we can give our children! I plan to teach my kids myself when they are older. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always envied my eldest sister the piano lessons she took when I was just a baby. When I started plunking at it myself, my parents sold our piano — I was devastated (apparently it couldn’t stay in tune). So when we bought a house with a piano in it, I started lessons at 33.

    My piano teacher died.

    Some things are just not meant to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a similar thing happen, although I managed to spread it across several teachers. My mother decided my baby sister was GOING to play piano (so she could play for Mom’s church). So twice a week I had to drag her around the corner to my adult cousin’s house (she taught piano), wait for the lesson to finish and then get her safely back home. My cousin noticed how hard I watched them practice and one day called me to her after the lesson. “I’ve got a little time before my next lesson — would you like to learn a little?” I practically nodded my head off.
      In this way, over time, I learned the keys, the notes, how to read simple music, and how to make cords on the keyboard. But my best friend was taking guitar lessons, so I begged and pleaded forever and my Mom got me a beat-up, second-hand guitar (my oldest son still has it). I took “lessons” from my friend every week when he got home from his lessons. Before too long I started using the money I made mowing yards to get real lessons of my own, and the next thing I knew, I was in a band.

      I learned to play several stringed instruments, but always wanted to play the fiddle, so skip forward 30 years: I found an ancient old Texas Swing musician (famous in his own right) who was giving lessons. I’d stop by his shop once a week on the way home from work. Six weeks into it, he died — but I didn’t give up! His number one student (a man about my own age) took over the shop and I took lessons from him. He got too busy with his band so I started taking lessons from the first guy’s grandson. Then I broke my arm, after that healed, I sprained my wrist.

      I must have started over a dozen times. The last time I started lessons my boss got collared by the feds and it was starting to look like I was going to prison so my wife left me and I lost my job. I kinda decided at that point I really needed to put my attention on my life. Now that I actually have the time, I’m too crippled with arthritis to even hold a violin. Heck, I can’t even pound the keyboards anymore. (So I use my computer to make music with a program — THAT I can do!)

      Never give up completely — that’s my motto…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh dear! What a story! I admire yur perseverence.

        I didn’t pursue it. I had a young baby at the time, who screamed bloody murder whenever I played. We moved to Europe and had to leave the piano behind. But my calamities with music didn’t last long — unless you count losing my voice hollering for a dog who was always running off. I just figured some things were meant to be. Others, not so much!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I always wanted to play piano but the learning of notes as an adult was as unsuccessful as my attempts to get beyond basic French. At least my kids have ability so I live vicariously (in music) through them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Music does move me and I have great admiration for those who play, yet I’ve never learned an instrument and quite honestly have never had the desire. As a young child, I tried so many different interests that I lost track – everything from rock collecting to tennis but no music. I was encouraged and opportunities were offered but I had no interest.

    That said what really struck me about this post was your relationship with the young Iranian gentleman. We don’t see a lot of Iranians here in Canada and I have to tell you the few I have met have been fascinating. The politics of their country are scary and dangerous and yet the individuals I have met are without a doubt amongst the most intriguing and kind and deep (for want of a better word) people I’ve met. Persians have an amazing history of creating some of the greatest civilizations and the most civilized cultures. The Farsi language is so stable that a modern Persian can read an understand writings from a thousand years ago.

    I have had similar reactions to Iranians – a sort of sense of loss when they have to move on.

    Neat post Victo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did not know where he was from until that piano playing. He was funny, made me laugh all the time, but I had not bothered to really get to know him. There was so much I wanted to ask him afterwards but never had the opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Victo, bravo to you for your son taking piano lessons from a piano teacher! It didn’t work for me, as a kid, when my Mom gave me lessons! I’ve heard that music helps kids learn math better! Well, with no music in my growing up life, math was a big struggle. College later on with guitar lessons and flute lessons on board, I did well in algebra & statistics. Go figure! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Music can be a magickal aphrodisiac. My first “affair” was with my guitar player from my band. I think back of him often and his magickal hands…..think whatever you want!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re wonderful for giving him this opportunity, Doc. Yes, a little perseverance at initial reluctance is a parental obligation. But where he takes it after that is up to him. I hope the journey is marvelous!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ive always wanted to play the piano, and I would love to have my kids learn someday. We have my husband’s grandmother’s piano sitting at my MIL’s house, we just have to somehow get it to us!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I always wanted to play the piano as a child but we didn’t have the means. I remember drawing a bunch of black and white on a piece of paper and pretending to play it. Remembering the dream. I will have to act on it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: My Article Read (7-22-2015) | My Daily Musing

  12. This posting brings out the best in you and your memories. It does what I think is the right kind of relaying of those facts and those feelings about facts = art. Well done, doc. “I have not thought about my friend for years.” But oh, those old feelings that come rushing…those “notes” of the past. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I didn’t take piano lessons as a child but I think of where I might had I done that.

    There was this woman at a conference I was at years ago and she asked me to play piano with her. I think that’s what happened, either that or I was playing and she approached me. My friends were going to go off somewhere else and leave me to play with her and me being the totally oblivious person I am to any sort of potential subtle flirting, if it can be construed as such, got up and said “I’ll go with you guys.” After we walked away, one of my friends said “She wanted you to keep playing what is wrong with you?” or something like that.

    I sometimes think about that moment and wonder what would have happened had I not left that piano.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m taking piano lessons for about a year now. Though I’m a bit late to the piano game, I do hope to be able to fill in one day at a U2 or coldplay concert if they need backup one day!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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