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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the girl and her piano.

Let me tell you a story.


It's my story so I might as well tell you that the protagonist is gonna be me.

And the antagonist...well, you'll find out soon, but he would probably disagree that I am, in fact, the protagonist.

There was a girl who had a piano that she loved very much. It was dark cherry wood and had all the white keys and black keys it should. There were a few tiny little chips in the otherwise perfect veneer from when she had gotten very into whatever she was playing, banging on that perfect amount of black and white keys so hard that the knickknacks her mom had placed on top of the piano in an effort to be decorative fell down, hitting those keys with an accompanying discordant crash and leaving their marks.

And with each examined chip, the girl learned her lesson well: don't put knickknacks on the piano or if you do, don't play so hard.

But despite those little chips, the girl still loved her piano. And it was a very sad day when another one of the girl's loves, a boy this time, took her away from that piano, moving her into an apartment with white walls and not much soul. The hand-me-down couch with all the striped cushions and chips in the wood that the girl and boy acquired helped to give the place character, sure, but it still didn't have anything near as loved as that piano in it.

Except maybe the boy.

When he wasn't working and was actually in the apartment, that is.

Now the girl would still make the trip to her piano, though. Faithfully. And she didn't even mind so much that she was always the one doing all the visiting; she understood that the piano had all those keys, the very perfect amount of keys, in fact, and couldn't move so well because of them.

But still she dreamed of having her piano nearby, a few steps away. She liked to have all those keys close for her to find just the right way to say the songs that came to her at odd hours of the day or night.

A year passed.

The girl and the piano remained the same, visiting when they could and never growing tired of each other.

And then the boy had some good news.

A house was in store. With lots of walls that could be painted whatever color the girl chose. Or re-chose as the case may be. And the couch would come of course, all it's stripes would fit right in with the bright walls the girl was already planning. And best of all, the piano could come live with the girl in the house.

This made the girl very very happy.

And finally, the boy did it.

On an afternoon that could have blended into many another afternoon we've all spent, something grand made it stand out: the boy and a lot of his friends moved the piano into the house and sat its cherry wood behind right down against the yellow wall behind it. And excitedly, joyously, the girl began to play.

It was maybe 2 pm, not late by any standard at all.

And the girl kept playing, every once in a while trading off so that the boy could play, but making sure to stay nearby and listen to all those keys, just the right amount of keys, sing.

When suddenly, there was a sharp rap at the door. One might even say an angry rap, if raps had feelings. The girl and the boy jumped to, opened the door, and were met by the Heavily Bearded Fellow From Next Door.

And he was not happy, though it was hard to really see him behind his beard. He started in by saying, That piano is very loud. Which is a tough thing to answer, it neither being a compliment or an insult. And then--

He asked them to stop playing.

He did. Like it was an option for the girl or something. Like it wasn't just like asking that dog to please stop having such a black nose or that cat to please stop saying meow.

The girl tried to explain to The Heavily Bearded Fellow From Next Door that she was a piano player and that she would be playing her piano. She acquiesced a bit by suggesting that she just play quieter, but other than that, they were at a standstill.

And since then?

The HBFFND (can I just call him that, please?) has taken to simply banging on their shared wall (the house being a townhouse, you know) in an effort to let the girl know that he is not happy that she is playing her piano.

Even though she tried to explain to him on that first day he showed up at her door at around 2pm in the afternoon that she was a piano player and therefore would be playing her piano .

And just tonight the girl was feeling inspired while playing all those keys and heard that dreaded thump! on the wall. The yellow wall that sits right behind the cherry red piano. And she quieted down, just like she said she would back on that first afternoon, at around 2pm.

But no, she didn't stop playing.

And no, she won't.

17 comments:

jason said...

Ah, neighbors. Remember our house in maryland, with the glorious backyard with the built in stone fire pit... and then the neighbor asked me not to have fires? Drove me crazy.

Jessica Latshaw said...

YES!!!!

That fits the bill perfectly!!!

Seriously. That was so crazy of them...We did just have some really nice neighbors on the other side; German, kind-hearted folk who said they LIKED when we played the piano, if you can believe it. But sadly, they went back to Germany...

sherri said...

How sad! Is there anyway to make the one shared wall soundproof?

James Ricardo The Actor said...

And the girl better continue to play! As long as it is not late at night! The big bearded guy, better leave the girl alone!

Emily said...

sounds like the giving tree, only totally different, with neighbors...

but I hope it still ends with "...and the girl was happy."

Mandy and Jack said...

Ugh. That's the thing about heavily bearded men. They never want you to play your piano.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Sherri--we did stick some huge pillows behind the piano and I think that has helped some, but not enough for the neighbor, I guess. And really, I am not home that much at all, so he should feel grateful for that, I suppose.

jason said...

The big bearded man is going to lose his mind in about 8 weeks, huh?

Jessica Latshaw said...

perhaps I should slip some prozac into his mailbox when I get back...as a welcoming myself home gift FOR him...

Nina said...

Neighbors can be a tough crowd. Sorry yours isn't more appreciative of your talents...

Our worst neighbor experience was probably in Chicago. We hadn't been living in our apartment long before we realized that the older gentleman who lived above us was actually an alcoholic and if we were in our bathroom at the wrong time each morning we could hear him violently vomiting. It was dreadful. We were glad when he moved out!

Jessica Latshaw said...

oh nina--that is awful! hopefully that guy got some help and thank goodness he isn't your neighbor anymore!

kathiek said...

It's not like you were playing at 2 a.m., for goodness' sakes! And I am sure you were polite, because I cannot imagine you otherwise. It is your home, after all.

Michele said...

Never listen to HBFFND! Keep on keeping on girl!

Jessica Latshaw said...

I saw him tonight while I was walking up to my house and averted my eyes. AWKWARD.

jason said...

Doesn't he ever leave the house? I would think you could come up with some guidelines and tell him "Hey I don't want to bother you, so I won't play before 10 am or after 9 pm," or something like that.

And hand him some earplugs.

Jessica Latshaw said...

no playing after 9 pm? that's like prime creativity time...! We don't really talk about it, but I guess maybe we should...It just really stinks not to be able to play at my leisure in the privacy of my own home...

merry said...

Yeah, the people below us in Oaktree yelled "shut up" and bang on the ceiling when we walked. It was so sad because it was just the stupid apartment. We tried to tiptoe but we couldn't make the noise go away. Actually, when we lived below you guys at Oaktree I remember telling you that it sounded like you guys were hopping around. It was just the nature of the Oaktree beast. However, clearly, you should be able to play your piano as long as it is during reasonable hours. I am sure you do. I do know though, after experience with the horrible neighbors recently, that if someone disturbs your sleep it is the worse thing ever. But this is downstairs right? Maybe you SHOULD talk to him about a compromise. But for the love of Pete...he needs to chill out a bit.