San Francisco, Sidewalk, CA

Indeed, Marcus could not remember ever playing Rachmaninoff so…perfectly. Eerily, his mother would remark that it was like listening to another pianist entirely. Begrudgingly, he would have to agree. It were as though someone else were playing. And, now, there seemed to always be the attendant…sensation. There was no other way to describe it. Could one play the piano with someone else’s hands?

There was the unexplained small nub behind his left ear, still somewhat painful, and, really it would always be so from now on. It appeared strangely after the accident. And, he remembered seeing the scar as he touched it again, once, in a mirror, entirely by accident while brushing his hair one morning soon after the accident. As Marcus touched it again, there was a pulse of pain above the normal level. And then there were the circular scars around both wrists where the hands had been attached. They were human flesh to be sure, but not really his own.

It seemed at times he would recall memories that were not entirely his own, of a life he never lived. There were sensations, scents, and light. -more impressions than recollections. It was like a protuberance not belonging to his own life, or, to himself.

There had been the sensation of utter weightlessness, of being pulled to the sky almost. Then, there had been the dispersal of one’s very being, of being co-joined with utter calmness, and then profound silence. But, a silence like no other. It was more like music: the sheer delight of being. A filling silence filled him. And then he realized there was a presence. But, the…, for Marcus, the sensation would abruptly end, as though there were a change in circuitry.

There Marcus was, in his mother’s home -architectural Cubism, with light being the all-important element. One can imagine a cloud in the hills and then set out to design on as this architect had been inspired to do. -thought Marcus every time he visited his mother’s home. This would be, however, a cubist cloud: squares in lieu of cumulus curves. A lightness of cubes, rather, rectangles, boxes, elongated subtly, and, the lightness. And, light itself, through the glass penetrated the living space, and, by consequence, one’s thoughts. One could say a building could have a soul.

“It seems that not only have you recovered the sensation in your hands, but, that your playing is better than it has ever been.” -said his mother’s doting plastic surgeon. As it would turn out, his ambitions far exceeded that one specialty.

“I’ve heard Rachmaninoff like that before, but, not from you Marcus, forgive me for saying.” a wan smile erupted on his mother’s lips with this revelation. She set the tea cup back onto the table before her, not far from the piano, in front of which Marcus still sat, folded music being set aside.

The music was haunting, but now, also, in another sense.

The previous piano session hadn’t gone so well. This time, with his mother and her plastic surgeon present, had been astounding. The doctor’s name was Dr. Chabrinsky, a somewhat doddering man, middle aged, perpetually wearing a suit and tie, with a paunch his suit failed to hide.

It had been difficult for Marcus to get used to his ‘new’ hands as the doctor was want to call them now.

‘It will be a little disorienting at first, Marcus.’ – he recalled those words during a moment of frustration.

Marcus had fumbled through a Mazurka, Chopin. Disorienting was the sensation. The resulting music, somewhat confusing to the listener, disjointed. The elements all intact but all-a-jumble. He had sailed through the Mazurka just previous to the accident. His mother had delighted in it, in fact. Although, as they say, it wasn’t Rachmaninoff. Only winning is good enough for Mommy.

Marcus had raised his hands to his face in despair, almost with revulsion in fact. Then Dr. Chabrinsky said:

“It will take awhile but we’ll get their, Marcus.”

And, then Marcus reached out towards the keys of the piano again, the black and white of infinity, he was struck with the sensation of playing towering Rachmaninoff chords, then, giddily realized he was the one doing it. A storm of notes filled the house. It was breathtaking. It was a loud piano, and, Marcus played it loudly. And, the airy house filled with music. Daphne had nearly dropped her tea cup, an heirloom, in surprise. It would have been another tragedy. Broken antiques are never a pleasure.

Marcus ran his hands over the keys, up and down the register. The baby grand piano, stately and black in the middle of the living room, emitted a concordance of Rachmaninoff-brilliance from the beginning of the piece to its end.

When the final chord was played, and resounded, both audience members clapped loudly, their surprise almost as great as that of the performer, Marcus. Dr. Chabrinsky turned to Daphne to read her expression, monitoring the approval or lack thereof. More than anything else, it was an unconscious gesture on his part. He was relieved to find her faced filled with delight as she continued applauding long after he had stopped.

Copyright Protected Work. All Rights Reserved. -by James Legare 3-20-17

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*** Chapter 6: Playing at Life ***


Amateur writer, pianist-composer, and denizen of Houston, TX. Email: -> I would be delighted to hear from you!

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