You are here

Playing By Heart

—for Charlotte Hegyi

Listening to mother at the piano, Charlotte felt a tug on her small soul,
        the call of the keys. Drawn to the pattern — white and black.
                Legs dangling over a bench, kicking in time with the melody. 
                         Music — her firstborn language.
The natural rhythm of childhood measured — 
        staccato — tick, ticks of a metronome, 
                clack, clicks of her blue bicycle’s wheels, 
                         swaying from practice to play.
Life limned, horizon bright, Charlotte packed her belongings.
        She traveled to Montreal, with hopes to further her study. 
                At McGill University she flourished as a performer,
                         fingers unfurled over expanding octaves. 
                                  To learn, then return to the arid high-plains of Lubbock; 
                                          sand storms to snow storms — back again.
Nimble fingers — caress keys, 
        fasten pins, 
                thread needles, sew concert gowns, a daughter’s small dress. 
        Strong hands — methodically knead dough
                chop savory ingredients,
                         dig and drown in the dark humus.
                                  Practice, planting patience — 
                                          poco a poco — beauty blooms.
With age, comes change; the range harmonic to discordant.
        A shift of home, a craft, a union broken — volti subito — 
                Take lemons, bottoms up. Bittersweet, 
                         the most faithful flavor in life’s larder.
Humor helps. Wipe tears. Turn to a new calling, the science of libraries.
        Rise, resilient, flip the chapters upside down. 
                Fingertips trace broken chords, grace notes, skim spines 
                         to sift and straighten tomes of love, hope.
                                  The liminal space between a stage and the wings,
                                          the fork in the road — a gift.
Her body, an athenaeum, filled to the rafters with stories, scores, 
        memories and magic, heartache, humor and happiness.
                Practice-practice and concert-practice are not the same. 
                         In life you play from beginning to end, no redos.
                                  Play through moments, missed notes, prelude to coda
                                          then release the keys. Listen, 
                                                    the rush of applause 
                                                              fills the concert hall of the soul.

©2021 by Katie O’Hara-Krebs