A Stream of Consciousness
– Reflections on a Corner
Dad said, the piano goes in the basement. It was the noise – the rhythmic low notes banging like enemy fire against the bulkhead. We were kids; mum explained it was to do with the war. What war, we asked. We were kids – to us, war was Khrushchev.
But Mum paid for the piano lessons, so we practised. An hour a day. In the basement. It was unheated and dark, the sheet music brightened to white by a small snake-neck desk lamp. Mum set a timer for 60-minutes because she thought all kids lie, cheat and steal, even her own kids who wrapped up in a coat and a knitted hat to practise their piano lessons during winter months. But this isn’t about Mum.
In the far corner of the basement where the coal was stored, stood the faint gossamer image of a man. He wore a long tan coat with a dark collar, and his face was a pale smear. He stood there. Never moved. No matter the time of day, the light, the weather, no matter what, he was still there. My sister also saw him as she practised her 60-minutes after school. Mum never could see him. She swept the corner with a broom, thinking it was spiderwebs reflecting light. But he was still there. I pretended it was Grandpa, he’d come back from heaven to listen to me play the piano. Grandpa wouldn’t hurt me. He’d never want to scare me. Everyday I’d say, Hi Grandpa, and then goodbye Grandpa. And then I’d run up the basement stairs, because in truth, I was scared.
This morning as I walked by the Christmas tree, its lights softly twinkling in the dim light, and I caught myself saying, “Good morning, tree”. I realised that I’ve done this for years. I have no idea why I feel compelled to greet a Christmas tree (and yes, say goodnight to it also). But fact is, I do.
Written for Miz Quickly’s 17 December “Pretending” and Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday “Opposite” (a piano in the basement is the opposite of where it belongs) ©Misky 2021 Shared with #apoemaday on Twitter