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There are moments I remember...

The Alley

It's been a hectic day, and I feel dog-tired as I walk home. The sun has finished its daily route and is now resting somewhere beyond, the sky still pale, but stars visible already. The alley is just barely lighted with the few lamps that ae still alive, intricate shadows are crawling about, much like squirrels or kittens, and birds are singing their songs of life, love and sunshine to the delicate murmur of the leaves. Springrime; the air is filled with all sorts of parfumes, so sweet to breathe in, and with each and every breath winter depression grows weak and pale and is about to vanish altogether, creating the vacuum that will soon be filled by the mad joy of a new life. I hardly notice that I am walking so slowly I nearly stand still. Memories flood my heart, and I see this same alley at broad daylight, in summer, in late 70-s. I see a young tall woman strolling alone, shadows running down her spine. Following her is a girl of about 4, her eyes fixed on the dancing shadows. The only thought occupying her mind at the moment is what makes the shadows run. They are lying still on the ground... Fascinated, she walks on and out of my sight. The same shadows are running down her spine, but she's unaware of it...

Ah, those were the happy days! Alas! we do not know when we are happy.

Slowly, I move on, still feeling the sunshine in my heart. Do the birds sleep at all? Their singing grows louder and louder, as if they are crazed by this wild outburst of spring. Refreshed, i walk faster and soon forget all the sadness, my mind light, my soul filled with this glamorous night and the newly-born hope.

The Piano

My wonderful companion, my piano. You're getting out of tune, and I don't have enough time to have you tuned up. No matter how old you are, or how imperfect your surface is, I love you. We share so many emotions, the love, the hatred. Nonsesnse! who said it's just a piece of wood and metal? It's my piano, and it's a living creature. It's flegmatic, calm, always dreaming, always standing still, that's why we think it is dead substance. But when I touch its keys, I feel its gentle response, like a caress.

My piano. Do you remember when I first opened the lid and put on some notes - Karmen by Bizet it was... Ha, I was barely acquainted with the notes, all I could do was press one key a minute and I was soon tired of looking up and down all the time. I must have been 6 or younger, It was then that I thought I'd die playing the piano. The kid!

I've been changing over the years, sometimes I wouldn't play for months, but I always return to you, my sweet music-mate. I admire youre patience with me, you're always doing your best, no matter if it is just some raw material or something I've been working on for years. You're equally friendly to Beethoven's sonatas and Bach's fugas, or Skryabin's etudes, or Rakhmaninov's preludes. You keep calm when I try to play jazz, though you know that's not my forte, and you are so compassionate when I get lost in the complex passages of Chopin's nocturnes. You will play a simple tune just as solemnly as any of the noted masterpieces. And you never tell me I'm the worst pianist ever born.

When I'm angry, you surrender to the cruel music I choose. Without a single sign of protest. I soon calm down, anyone would, with so patient a companion. And when I use you as a shelf for dictionaries, you still don't argue, and don't lecture me on sacriledges. Tolerant and forgiving, that's what you are...

And you never complain when I leave you. Nor when I make you work all day long...

Don't change my dear, and don't give up. I depend on you.

My friend. My Piano.

Etude in A Minor

The weather had spoilt overnight. As if spring had never begun. The howling wind was throwing up huge masses of snowflakes, creating the fog-like atmosphere that caused depression to the better half of the town. It was Saturday, and despite the nasty weather there were quite some people out in the streets, doing their shopping, faces down, collars up, unfriendly, hasty. The sky was low and dark, thick with clouds. Apart from the wind, everything was still, though that could only be guessed, so heavy was its roar...

She sat at her desk trying to concentrate on the book. Despite herself she was holding her breath to make out what was being said in the room next to hers. Her parents had been quarrelling for months if not years. Those days, it became dreadful. On the whole, a loving couple, they were eating each other’s heart out. She would probably accept it if it was a regular scene, but in fact it was non-stop nagging, dull and oppressive. ‘And they have stayed together for 30 years,’ she thought. They were wonderful caring parents. They did care for each other, too. There was no understanding why they went on arguing. That is, she understood both, but couldn't’t put up with their turning family life into a nightmare.

She turned on music and plunged deeper into her book. No use, her trained ears caught the faintest gusts of the all too familiar intonations behind the wall. Mother spoke in her usual ‘strange’ voice, with a metallic tinge to it; father’s voice faltered with suppressed anger. Mother sounded illogical and persistent, she came up with the things she had said a million times before. It was no use persuading her when she behaved like that, her mind seemed to be locked up from the inside, no reasonable argument could get in.

They became more and more audible, she could now hear every word they threw at each other. ‘I don’t care, it’ll be all right,’ she kept saying to herself, but the same old feeling of hopelessness crept into her heart. Things were shaping after the regular pattern. They would take each other to pieces, then make it up. Later on, in bed, they’d lull themselves to sleep with another session of what the family jargon had as ‘investigation’.

Apart from being forced to hear all that, she also had to listen to their personal complaints about each other. She was the only one they could discuss it with; they never let the matter out of their home. Always struggling to save their face! To an outsider, the family seemed a blissful one...

It was all very simple, yet they managed to dramatize things quite out of proportion. Mother would turn hysterical now and then, so would Dad. Emotions were obviously taking over. She felt like crying. Or slamming her fists at the desk.

She looked out of the window, her mind never wandering off the subject. She loved them both so much she’d give up her life if she knew it would make them happy. Being patient was much more difficult though....

She heard the creak of the door. They emerged from their room and proceeded into the kitchen to have some tea, their intonations and temper back to normal. They even were laughing. Another round was finished.

She turned over the page. Outside, winter was celebrating its victory over spring. It was cold and white, but the fat buds held the promise of warmth and sunshine and cool shade....