Short story by Kevin M. Casin
“A nine year-old boy should be chasing girls and playing soccer, not looking to fix an old piano from Craigslist,” said too many relatives.
On the promise of lifelong summer jobs, my parents brought home the upright piano. A gold Baldwin plate, faded, thanked me when I lifted the crooked key lid. It smiled, pale. I sanded away the bruises. Mended the beatings. Brought back the inches of its life. And I played it.
It sounded perfect, not untuned as others said. I proved it. I pulled out a lesson book and coerced the “Fur Elise” from its belly, filled the living room with a rush of notes, banished the bleached walls and weather-worn windows, and summoned the eager, attentive audience. Cheers erupted from Carnegie Hall.
I bowed and caught my breath. This was what I wanted. Through the piano, I would sing, I would chase love, I would play to a rhythm entirely of my own creation. I was a nine year-old boy who brought a piano back to life.
For years, it lived under my care until it claimed another. I grew up and left it behind. The house sold, the piano donated. All its memories, its spirit endured, I hope, because I cared enough to unbreak the broken.
Kevin M. Casin is a gay, Latino fiction writer, and cardiovascular research scientist. His fiction work is featured in If There’s Anyone Left, From the Farther Trees, and more. He is Editor-in-Chief of Tree And Stone, an SFWA/Codex member, and First Reader for Diabolical Plots and Interstellar Flight Press. For more about him, please see his website: kevinmcasin.wordpress.com. Please follow his Twitter: @kevinthedruid.
Image by Bruno Croci