Practicing charts. Reflecting. Thinking of my mother. Seeing her hands at the piano, big hands, capable hands, playing by ear, singing along. Suddenly realizing many decades after the fact that the reason she nagged me to practice so while I sullenly counted off the required 30 minutes per day, the reason she sounded so angry, was because what I took for granted she would have given her eyeteeth to have at my age or at any time. Only there was never enough money for more than one of us to have those lessons. Or the voice lessons I got while her songs went wanting. Her yearnings for mine. They bought me a grand piano when I was 14, managing to pay it off $10 a month, a miracle made possible for Dad and Mama because the man in the piano store took a liking to me.

A privileged life lived in music. Regrets, tinged with shame for those lessons I wasted. My mother’s hands. A debt beyond paying.


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