Ever since he wheeled it up the driveway on Monday night, Mouse has been obsessed with this century-old piano, and he’s not the only one. Before dark, we shrouded it in an old blue tarp to shield it from promised rain and I circled it five or six times throughout the evening, using the flashlight on my phone to examine its scars.
By Tuesday afternoon, Mouse's Piano was tucked in under the eaves on the back porch and had acquired a bench. There, we took stock of its three missing hammers, a pair of chipped ivories and cigarette burns on the ledge above the keyboard. Stamped into the cast iron plate over the pinboard it reads: THIS PIANO IS GUARENTEED FOR TEN YEARS.
On Wednesday, I look up details on the instrument’s maker (A.B. CAMERON), and print out some repair guides and diagrams. While Mouse is at work, I steal a series of moments at the piano – a hymn while the dogs are eating, half of Heart & Soul at dusk, and after dark my fingers find a pair of songs I wrote half a lifetime ago.
Thursday morning, Mouse gets up early and records a Facebook Live video, playing and singing three of the original songs from his (for lack of a better word) space opera. After listening to it, I feel my fingers itching for the opening notes of Für Elise. Later in the day, I wonder if I can find sheet music for Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the Rachmaninoff that haunts me.
For Jay, this dilapidated piano is a tolerated object cluttering up our already-cluttered porch. For Mouse, it is a project worth undertaking and an instrument for his artistic expression. For me, it is a doorway to a part of myself long abandoned – a part I would like to have back.