Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Benefit of Piano Lessons

One of my most memorable students was from an Eastern culture.  She was very conservative.  Dating was controlled by her family.  I would tease her about the strict rules she lived by.  One morning she announced that she had become engaged to her boyfriend.  He had asked her family and they had consented to the union.  I asked how being engaged would change their relationship.  She seemed to respond in wonder.  “William, we are now allowed to be alone together.”  Almost conspiratorially she went on, “When we were alone for the first time, we held hands.  William, it was incredible!  I felt this warm surge of energy coming through his hand into my hand.  It was magnificent.”  
I was stunned and fascinated by her confession.  There was a reverence in her voice.  This had been an incredibly powerful experience for her.  She was mature enough to appreciate this very special moment in her life.  I felt a touch of jealousy.  Her recounting the experience had an impact on me.    
That night I remembered the first time I held hands with a girl.  I was in 6th grade.  Thursdays at 5 PM I had a piano lesson with Miss Gilbert at the Eastman School of Music.  For the most part, it was tortuous.  Miss Gilbert couldn’t stand me.  The one redeeming quality about Thursdays was Nina.  Nina took violin lessons at the same time as my piano lesson.  Nina had this exotic gorgeous beauty.  Her long brown hair was captivating.  She wore a school uniform, but rolled up the waist of her skirt.   She had big brown eyes and these knee high boots that I will never forget.  And she liked me!  Or maybe she was just taking pity on me.  I’ll never know.    
On one occasion, she and I walked into downtown Rochester together.  While we walked we held hands.  It was my left hand and I can remember the energy I felt coming from her hand.   I don’t know how else to describe it.  It was one of the high points of my adolescence.  Holding Nina’s hand while we walked downtown made me feel euphoric.  While I remember feeling it, I didn’t appreciate what was happening at the time.  Having remembered the experience, it now stays with me.   
When I transferred to the private high school, I didn’t fit in with the other students.  In order to make myself seem bigger, I told them that Nina was my girlfriend.  Within the day, she had denied it, which made me look like an even bigger fool.  
She may have never been my girlfriend, but on that day, on that walk, when we held hands, she was everything I could ever dream of at the age of twelve.  

No comments:

Post a Comment