The piano

I made a big purchase tonight: a Yamaha electronic piano. It’s something I’ve been pondering since I gave the old family piano to my nieces three years ago.

At the time I didn’t think I’d miss it; I hadn’t played in more than a year. But I found that old chestnut to be true: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

Within a few days of shipping it off, I was longing for my piano. My friend Pam had lent me her copy of The Pianist,  and I couldn’t stop thinking about Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp Minor. I wanted my piano back. Alas, the deed was done.

Every so often I’d play a few notes at a friend’s house or in a music store. I’d think of buying myself a Clavinova—or a keyboard, at least—but the price always made me think twice.

Then something clicked yesterday afternoon. I was at my sister’s house, and I half-heard the kids banging on the piano in the background. On my way home I abruptly pulled off the freeway and into the Schmitt Music parking lot.

I pulled up a bench and whipped out a couple of halting, error-laden two-part inventions. The salesman gave me his business card and a beautiful glossy brochure.

When Esteban came home, he saw the brochure on the dining room table. “Are you thinking about buying a piano?” I shrugged. “Naw. Maybe. I don’t know.” “I think you should,” he said.

And so I did.

In the end, I settled on an economical entry-level model. It’s not as beautiful as the mahogany Yamaha upright acoustic on which I learned to play. But it does have a headphone jack, so at least only I will hear my mistakes.

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