The music flows through my body as my fingers glide across the keyboard. Melodies and harmonies erupt from the black and white instrument, alive and passionate. I cannot stop the feelings of remorse, love, or happiness that come with the flip of a page of sheet music. It comforts me, soothes me, allows me to escape.
Raised voices. Doors slam. Confusion. Hiding in a corner with my sister. Pretending I know nothing, that I don’t hear the tears. Silence. Sleeping in uncertainty, waking up with regret.
I am accomplished; I am a star in my teacher’s recital. No other student can match my speed, my sound, my love for music. They can only watch in awe as I pour my heart and soul into my music pieces. Every song has a story in my hands, and each story touches another heart when I play with mine. The audience can only sit in awe for minutes afterward, marvelling at my talent. I am glorious; I bring honour to my family.
Get up. Continue as normal. There was no fight, no harsh exchange of words. Go to school. Act natural. No one can know the truth. The fights, the whispers of divorce in the dark. Walk home with a fake smile. Wear the mask. Ignore the disgrace.
The reception for the recital is full of congratulations, flowers, and endless compliments. Offers of teaching and event jobs are flung into my waiting lap. I consider all of them, bringing my joy of music to any that ask. I show off my family’s success in bringing up a perfect daughter in a broken home. I am a strong person; I am admired by all for accomplishing the impossible.
The breakup. Moving houses constantly. Constant change. Heartbreak. Helpless in the situation. Unfeeling. Blame. Guilt. Finding passion for life again. Living day to day.
I pass my last theory and practical exam with flying colours. I almost float out of the examination center, knowing I have earned all the points possible. Weeks later, the certificate arrives stating I can teach the instrument of human emotion. I dance around my room with gusto, spinning in endless circles until I collapse on my bed, breathless. I have reached to the stars and have caught a handful in my open palm. That same night, dinner brings together two separate families, and we celebrate my achievements.
Signing up for lessons. Begging to get away. Fighting the pain. Finding solace in music. Being a new person. Less unsure. Confidence. Hiding behind stacks of piano books. Growing up.
Years later, I put the awards and the music diploma away in my childhood time capsule. They are a part of me, of a young girl that overcame a difficult family situation. I made honour and certainty from chaos and destruction of my youth. I have become the ideal from a struggle of two parents, but I am not perfect. I have more ways to grow, to heal myself, to continue making myself better, to not hide from my past.
Open up the piano. Take out the music. Place. Play a scale. Play my feelings. I am whole. I am what I should be. They are gone. Faded. Negativity cannot touch me. I am in my happy place. Every night, every lesson once a week. Black and white mix. Emotion and feeling.
The piano plays on.
I am certain.