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My mother, as a former music teacher and connoisseur of beautiful music, raised me on the classics.  Starting with Disney’s Fantasia, I began learning the more accessible classical artists, then branched out on my own, exploring my parents’ vast collection of records.  While my classmates were listening to Garth Brooks and MC Hammer, I identified more closely with Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Beethoven, and of course, my beloved Chopin.  When the classmates grew older and discovered Snoop and Dre, I was picking out the classical influence in Benny Goodman’s work.  I held a deep and abiding love for classical music, and especially the piano, but only the sound of the thing.  I had never seen it played with the passion necessary to produce the music I so loved.  Not until today.

I sit on the edge of the small loveseat, entranced by the scene playing out in front of me.  A beautiful girl–Care–so dressed and made up as to belong on the cover of a Bikini Kill album cover, her fingers a blur of motion, coercing ebony and ivory into the most amazing rendition of “Revolutionary Etude” that I had ever heard.  Her eyes are closed in concentration.  She never peeks.  Her hands move almost of their own volition, following the natural progression of the music.  Her face changes with the emotion of the piece, first smiling lightly, joyously, then frowning as her brow furrows, an expression of determination that finds its way through her hands, into the keys, and into the music itself.  The music rises and falls, lifting and dropping me with every ascending and descending run.  It surrounds and swallows me, and there is nothing left in the room but me and her, and music so profoundly moving that my heart beats stronger than I have ever felt it, threatening to burst out of my chest.

I have seen many people play the piano, in church and at home.  But never anything like this.

The piece ends dramatically, and Care drops her hands to the bench and sighs.  “I’m sorry, that was horrible.”

I don’t hear her.  I’m not even sure I’m breathing.

“I’m out of practice,” she continues, not looking my way, staring at the piano dejectedly.

Somehow, my brain realizes that I’m supposed to say something.  But all I can manage is a soft, “Holy hell.”

Care looks at me, then seems confused.  I’m sure my amazement is evident, and she is genuinely surprised by that.  She seems like she’s about to say something, but I my voice suddenly finds itself again, and I blurt out, “Do you know Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 62?!”

A very slow smile spreads across her face as she realizes just how much I love her playing.  “Umm… it’s been a while, but I think I can play it…”

It takes Care a few minutes to find herself in the music.  More than a few, as she tries different runs and movements, looking dissatisfied, but gradually progresses through it piece by piece.  I can tell that she hasn’t tried playing this one in a while.  But then she begins in earnest, her eyes closing again, and I am once more swept up in something so passionate, so colorful, so moving, that I can’t even call it music.

I can’t take my eyes off of her.  She is beautiful anyway, but as Chopin’s music pours out of her, she appears radiant.  In that moment, Care is the living embodiment of every musical discovery I have made in my twenty years of life.  Everything I ever felt while listening to my parents’ records.  Every thrilling up, and every heartbreaking down.  Hell, she is emotion.  I love the music she is playing with every fiber of my being, and now, as she plays the pieces I so adore, I love her, as well.

I am once again on the edge of my seat, leaning forward, intently focused on the music.  The piece ends slowly, delicately, and Care turns to look at me, seeking my approval.  Again, I find myself breathless as we make eye contact, holding it, my heart suddenly racing because I have no idea what to say or do, I’m still caught up in the music and I’ve never felt anything like this for anyone, so I leap off the loveseat, close the distance between us, and kiss her.  Care is so caught off guard she almost squeaks, but she kisses me back, and I feel…


Something must be wrong.  I turn my head slightly and kiss her a second time, and Care responds enthusiastically.  I cup her face in my hands.  I wrap my arms around her.  I embrace her so tightly I may hurt her.  All the while she kisses me back, and I sense her desire.  But still, I feel absolutely nothing.

I break the kiss abruptly.  She looks at me wide-eyed, her breath heavy, and she whispers, “Holy hell.”  I’m breathing heavily as well, but not from the kiss.  We both take a moment to regain our composure, we talk for a while, and we part ways back to our dormitories.

That night, I lie awake in my bed, staring out the thin window of my dorm room, thinking about the evening’s events.  Care had moved me in a way I hadn’t known was possible.  I had wanted her so badly my body ached.  Or had I?  We were close, certainly, but I had never felt that strongly for her until I heard her play.  It was the music.  Her playing tore at me, demanded my attention and absolute devotion.  I had totally lost myself in it.  So the kiss should have meant something, and yet, I couldn’t even remember what her lips felt like.  I remember everything leading up to it, so vividly that my heartbeat kicks up in tempo, but of the kiss, the natural climax to our shared symphony, there was nothing.  No soft skin.  No feminine aromas.  Just nothing.

My phone beeps.  I check and see a text message from Care.  “You okay?”

I think for a moment.  I want to say something about it, maybe figure out what happened, see if we can salvage the failed kiss that meant something to her but so little to me.  But all I say is, “Yeah, sleeping.”

I close my phone and look back out the window.  I see a couple walking hand in hand, and I know that won’t be us.



  1. An extremely evocative post. I too love the piano, the passion it can evoke is only matched (in my opinion, anyway) by the violin. Music speaks to the soul and moves the emotions in ways very few other things can.

    Best wishes…

    • Violin is my second favorite of the “classical” instruments. The second movement of Vivaldi’s La Primavera still gives me chills every time I hear it, and the first time I saw it performed… wow.

  2. have you watched ‘the pianist’ movie? got a crush on adrien brody coz of that film. i always have a thing with artists. if only i can wish all my lovers are artists, but we can be artists in our own way. 🙂

    • Surprisingly, no, I haven’t! It’s one I’ve been meaning to see for a long time, but I just haven’t ever gotten around to it!

  3. Having just reread this post, I have to say… I am not impressed. Definitely not my best writing.

    • I think you’re wrong… 🙂 I guess I can’t compare it to your other prose pieces, as this is the first that I’ve read. ( After reading this, I’ll be getting to the others soon!). But I thought it was a wonderful piece of writing. That was actually going to be my comment “Great writting” until I saw your comment. There is the “let down” but that is reality. That is how it happened. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I was excited reading it, the passion and emotion pulled me in!

  4. Oh, I thought it was lovely, just wondering why you were so hard on yourself.

    O.K. sometimes I think of a kiss just like a punctuation mark, like maybe it was just beautiful music and you thanked her with a kiss? And that is it an it is O.K. not to want to marry and ride away into the sunset. “A Kiss is not a promise” is ringing in my head for some reason. Is that a song?

    Anyway, there have been a couple of times that I can think of that I used a kiss as a punctuation mark. One was this guy was just talking so much on and on and incessantly and I needed to go and didn’t want to be rude, so I leaned over and kissed him a full frenchy-kiss. He was stunned into silence so I said, “Oh bye!” his friend was all, ‘where is my kiss’ but I kept going and thought it was a way to say shut-up without hurting his feelings.

    Another time a man told me such a heart-breaking story about his life, he was sitting down. I was standing up. People go through heartbreak, I know that and it pains me so when he told me this story I thought there is nothing I can say that will make it right or better and I so know what he is talking about but don’t want to share my story. So I leaned over and kissed him on the forehead very gently like a mother would. He brought his fingertips up and touched my tits, lightly and I let him, before I pulled away.

    He said, “shit, if I knew that was going to happen I would have told you sooner” I lolled. But it is a beautiful sweet and nurturing memory to me. Love is amazing even when it is just aquaintance love, that happens too. That is a good thing. You loved her for that second, that moment, but not lifetime love. That is also exquisite.

  5. Music is something… indescribable. Excellent post 🙂

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