When I walked through the door,
I could hear it.
She was playing-
the keys dancing softly across the piano.
It could only mean one thing:
her heart was hurting.
Something had caused her pain.
My wife was built that way-
allow the notes to cure her-
turn music into healing.
She didn’t find it necessary to play
when she was happy.
(She painted when she was happy.
Something about the colors brought her joy.)
The piano, though,
the piano was made for minor keys
and chords ringing from room to room
jarring your bones.
I watched her sway,
so taken by the melody,
her eyes shut of their own accord.
My presence never registered.
She was alone –
in her heart and in her mind.
Her right foot arched heavily,
The pedal groaned,
mimicking the pain I could see
she held between her shoulders.
A sweater hung thickly around her frame,
falling down her back
to meet the edge of the piano bench.
Her feet were bare.
Her legs bare.
Her makeup gone.
And closed eyes.
I felt an ache form in my chest-
growing as the notes became denser
Bass notes struck me like bricks
across my collar bone,
the staccato sixteenths
stabbing into me a million
tiny pin-pricks across the skin
of my arms.
Her hands reached,
finding the stretched fifths
without even glancing down.
At the crescendo,
I watched her break.
The muscle at the edge of her jaw
twitched only once
before tears openly flowed down to her lips.
Her shoulders fell,
all energy drained by the weight
of slamming into the fortissimo.
Her eyes remained locked closed,
her fingers growing softer
The end note was just nothing more
than a whisper octaves above
the opening key.
“I’m glad you’re home,”
never looking up in my direction.
Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou