acrosstheuniverse28

United States

Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
She/her
Ballerina
Ravenclaw
Tolkien-ite
Psych-o
Beatlemaniac
(Yay classic rock)
Amateur astronomer
History buff
Musical Lover
Cringey sense of humor
Est. March 2020

Message to Readers

This ended up being much longer than expected, and therefore my chance of error grew exponentially. Any feedback on grammar, plot, theme... anything and everything is helpful! Also, if you have a better idea for a title, let me know. Titles are something I always struggle with, and I'm not sure if this one fits. Thanks a million for reading!

Just Like the Piano Man

September 15, 2020

FREE WRITING

8
Hoards of cars streamed through the streets. They honked and revved, swerving in and out of each other as they raced towards their destinations. People thronged the city sidewalks, eyes downcast, never making eye contact, while they marched along like ants in a glass enclosure. Noise echoed off the walls of the buildings and skyscrapers that towered over the cars and people. Amidst the chaos of the concrete jungle, an upright piano sat on the curbside, alone and forgotten, completely unnoticed by all passing by.
    The cardboard "For Sale" sign, which leaned against the piano's music rack, had mostly turned to mush thanks to the rain storm the previous night. Puddles the size of small lakes remained on the sidewalks and streets, and passing cars kept splashing the murky water onto the piano. 
    As the piano was learning, life on the street was not glamorous. Then again, neither was life in her previous home: a minimalist apartment owned by a young couple and their two year old daughter. No grand concerto's or beautiful minuets had been played on her for decades. She had never even experienced the thrill of feeling a beginner sight read their first song on her, which would be just as amazing to her as being played by a world-renowned concert pianist. But alas, the closest she ever got to any of those momentous occasions was the all too frequent pounding on her keys by the two year old daughter of her owners. Just the thought of those tiny fists was enough to make the piano shudder in terror.
    Perhaps with proper training the girl could become an accomplished pianist; however, neither she nor her parents seemed too keen on the prospect. They never even considered it, really. No one in the family cared much for learning an instrument, or even music in general. And in a home like that, an upright piano's only remaining job is to stand in the corner and look pretty beneath layers and layers of dust.
    Of course, the young couple eventually decided there was no point in keeping a piano around if no one ever played it. Besides, its rustic, vintage complexion clashed terribly with the modern design of their apartment. Thus, the piano was hauled out to the street and left on the curb, coated in grime, splattered with muddy water, and adorned with a soggy cardboard crown.
    Five days after being left outside, the piano's old owners moved her next to a dumpster. At first the piano was confused, but she realized what was happening when the cardboard "For Sale" sign was removed: she was being thrown out. She was no better than the trash in the dumpster she sat next too; completely worthless to all who passed her. As the piano watched her old owners head inside, something deep within her shattered. But this damage wasn't the kind that could be fixed by a simple repair. No. This damage was much deeper. Something much more precious than keys or strings had broken. 
    The piano retreated inwards. The world had stopped caring about her, so she would stop caring about the world. If only the dump truck would hurry up and cart her away. It was already over anyways. It had been over a long time ago.
    At some point a voice startled the piano out of her inward thoughts; finally, someone to take her away.
    A man that looked to be in his 70s stood before the piano, one hand on his hip and the other gently rubbing his chin. A denim jacket framed his round body, and a motorcycle helmet topped his rosy, bald head. His motorcycle was leaned against the dumpster.
    Is this... this is the garbage man? the piano wondered as the man stared at her. Why does he have a motorcycle?
    "Now what kinda person would throw such a beauty out?" the man said, New York accent just barely audible over the sounds of the city. He began to approach the piano, fingers outstretched as if he were going to...
    The piano felt her strings begin to tremble. They must have already taken me to the dump. I'm just so desperate I'm delirious.
    But the piano's keys shuddered as perfectly real hands brushed them. The seconds stretched onwards, and the piano could feel the man's pulse as his fingers rested upon the keys. The sparkle in the man's eyes revealed that this man could feel the piano's pulse too.
    The man played a chord and held it. With a pang of fear and guilt, the piano realized how out of tune she was. I sound awful. He's not going to be able to play me out of fear I'll break his eardrums! 
    But the man struck another chord. And another. And before the piano knew it, the man's fingers were dancing across the keys, skittering up and down the notes while weaving together a joyous, peppy tune. Energy rushed out of the man through his fingers, then into the keys, up the strings, and deep within the piano. A small fire had been lit within her, and this man was slowly but surely adding fuel to that fire. Leaning into the man's touch, the piano let herself get lost in the music. There was no way to describe it. It just felt so good. She felt good. Like she was no longer out of tune or dirty or broken too far beyond repair.
    The man finished with a flourish, smiling as he lifted his hands from the keys. Applause and cheering came from a small crowd that had gathered, which the piano hadn't even realized was there during the performance. At the very front of the crowd was the piano's old owner, his wife, and their daughter. They walked towards the piano and the mystery man playing her, the girl grinning and hugging her father's leg shyly.
    "Daddy, he's a really good piano man," the girl whispered to her father.
    The man chuckled at her words. "This your piano?" he asked the couple.
    "Yeah, it was," the father said. "We were trying to sell it but no one seemed to want it, so we decided to just get rid of it."
    The man's eyes flashed with what seemed like anger, or at the very least, extreme annoyance. "Why on Earth would you get rid of such a beauty? Sure, she could use a tune up, and maybe a quick clean," he said, running his hand along the top of the piano, "but the action's great! She's in real good condition for her age!"
    The couple looked at each other. "Well," the mother began, "would you want to take it? None of us play anyways, so we don't have much use for a piano."
    "Oh, nah, nah," the man chuckled and waved his hands. "I think this piano could do more good in someone else's home." He turned is eyes downward to the young girl, who was still gripping her father's leg. She blushed and giggled when the man looked at her, then turned and buried her face into her father's pants.
    The couple looked at each other, having a silent argument between themselves as the man watched with a small smile. After a few moments, he cleared his throat. "If you want, I know someone who'd be more than happy to give some lessons?" he offered quietly. "I wouldn't mind helping tune her up a bit too, if you need?"
    The father bent down to be eye level with the young girl. "Well, what do you want to do?" he asked sincerely.
    The girl glanced over at the piano, causing a strange tingling sensation to fill the piano. Was this really happening? The girl's eyes sparkled with excitement as she began to nod vigorously.
    She let go of her father and began running towards the piano. The piano tensed as the girl approached, but instead of the normal whacking and beating, the girl's fingers felt like feathers brushing the tops of the keys. The piano felt herself swell with gratitude for this man, this stranger, who had fixed her simply by taking the time to play her. This man who had not seen her as a worthless, broken piano, but as an instrument of joy.
    "Well then?" the father called over to his daughter. "Would you like to take piano lessons?"
    The girl's eyes sparkled brighter than all the stars in the heavens as she answered. "I want to learn! I want to learn how to play as good as the piano man!"
Guess who the "mystery man" is (or at least, who he's inspired by)... ;)
Saw a sweet video a few months back of the man who inspired my "mystery man" in this story playing an old piano someone had left on the street, and it kinda stuck in my head and eventually formed this story. 
Currently jamming out to the Back to the Future soundtrack, but it's late so I ♫gotta get back in bed♫... see what I did there... that was terrible... but I couldn't resist...

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