I can hear the opening notes if I try- it started low, on middle C, with a nice friendly open fifth on the low F below...rich, full of something I didn't yet know how to name. I'd stand at the end of the piano near the highest notes and watch her fingers. Sometimes she sang, but usually she just played it, the keys smooth under her hands, the instrument shining, almost smiling, basking in the gentle warm light on its shoulders from the brass lamp perched above the music rack.
"The sun'll come out...tomorrow..."
Funny, how dark it was...how the shadows started lengthening so early in the afternoon...how long the nights felt...how when we finally got to where morning should have been, it seemed sometimes that the sun wasn't going to come up at all. How long can a sky seem about turn a lighter shade of grey? A week? A month? An entire Alaskan winter? Sometimes, you have to wait until July to find out whether the sun is ever going to shine again. And when the phone call comes saying the plane was found and he's not going to come back, ever, then you realize you're alone. Not just alone in the dark for the night, but alone for good.
And your six year old daughter is watching you, waiting to see what is going to happen next.
I think my mom did the best she could- and what else is there to do, really, other than your best? She played the song. When it ended, she played it again if I asked her to. And when she didn't sing, I did, matching my little girl voice to the music coming from her hands and her heart. Together, surrounded by the little circle of light from the piano lamp, we pushed the darkness back just a little bit.
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