Piano music drifted up to her as she leisurely strolled the aisles of the exclusive Manhattan department store – not the unremarkable, annoying background Muzak one usually hears in waiting rooms and elevators. No, this was definitely different.
Being a devotee of the piano, she was convinced no one else in the world could possibly love its sound more than she. Enchanted, she felt compelled to find the source of the music.
As she approached the escalator, the volume increased minutely. Gliding down, gently floating closer and closer, she realized “this is LIVE music”.
Arriving at the store’s café level, she stood still, tilting her head slightly in the direction of the beckoning music. Sensing an invisible hand on the small of her back, she swayed slightly as the unmistakable melody of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” trickled above the polite chatter of the ladies who lunch.
“Someone is definitely playing the piano” she thought, quickly adding “Oh, please, don’t let it be one of those self-playing digital pianos.”
Now the music was clearly audible and she followed the winding hallway from the escalator into the center of the café area. Suddenly standing before her in all its glory was a glimmering ebony Steinway baby grand. The lid was open, revealing the hammers and strings, but concealing the pianist .. if there even was one.
As if on cue, she heard a silky rich voice as smooth as Maker’s Mark Bourbon and she imagined Harry Connick or Frank Sinatra. “She’s a fool and don’t I know it but a fool can have her charm.” As she made her way around the curves of the Steinway, the illusive piano man came into view. She kept her eyes downcast, afraid to look, and just listened as this sorcerer cast his spell on her.
Slowly she raised her head to surreptitiously glance at the singer. He wasn’t the handsome, debonair Harry or Frank; actually, he looked more like Billy Joel but when he caught her eye everything fell away and all that mattered was the here and now. She approached him tentatively, her hand gliding along the piano, eyes still locked with his.
Ruefully she thought to herself “Why do I always fall in love with musicians? I would follow this man anywhere.” The feelings deep within her heart, her body, her soul were ineffable; why they happen and where they come from she could not say. She sat beside him on the piano bench, their legs touching.
She laid her head on his shoulder as natural as a helpless infant. “Please don’t ever stop playing for me.”
NAR © 2023
Originally published 2018