Open Letter to the Brown Upright Piano in Our Living Room that I Played for Eleven Years and then Abruptly Abandoned Upon Graduating from High School

an actual photo of a piano drowning in heartbreak

Hey you. It’s been a while hasn’t it? How have you been? You look good– I noticed your new picture frames; they go really well with the Bach bust and the fake plant, and I’m not just saying that. I mean it. I would never lie to you.

Well I guess there’s no point in avoiding the subject, so I’ll just come out and say it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry that after the thousands of hours we spent together over the years I just left you like you meant nothing to me, like you were something I was ashamed of and wanted to forget. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for those wonderful years we had, only to have our relationship ripped away from you without warning. All those days we spent frolicking in the sun, meandering through hidden forests filled with magical creatures, exploring alien planets, visiting ages long past. While the rest of my family was tortured with the endless repetition that is piano practice, we were somewhere else entirely, floating above imaginary canyons colored fuchsia and turquoise, never scared when we were together. You have to know I’m telling the truth.

And I’m sorry for all of those holidays I spent at home while visiting from college, when I would avoid looking you in the eye. I’m sorry about the way I would whisper of what we once had and act embarrassed when anyone brought it up. I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to deal with all of it, with the way my life was changing and the way it seemed you would no longer have a part in it.

At some point we have to admit these things to ourselves. You knew I wasn’t a brilliant pianist. Don’t try to deny the truth. Sure I practiced a lot, and sure I was “advanced” and perhaps my teacher’s best student, but I didn’t have the shimmering gold talent it takes to be a real concert pianist. More importantly, I didn’t have the passion. I tried to tell myself I loved playing, and I think I believed it. Sometimes it felt so real, as we were tramping through the villages of Eastern Europe in a mythical spring, stars falling around us as we twirled upward into the night.

But at the end of the day, it was a ruse, a lie I was telling myself.  I didn’t have the passion it took to be excellent, and the love I had for playing came from a love of being the best. I know all this now, but at what cost! Oh my dear piano, you have to know it wasn’t your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. But know this: we still had everything, for a time, those beautiful early mornings in winter, the world dark and frozen outside but us warming ourselves with the glow of quarter notes, the quiet afternoons when I was alone at home and could play as loud as I wanted in front of the only audience that truly mattered: you and me.

I will always remember you, even if I forget how to play entirely, even if my parents sell you to a lady named Fern without telling me. I will always remember you and me, a girl and her piano, and how life seemed better together. I can’t forget something that’s a part of me.

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8 thoughts on “Open Letter to the Brown Upright Piano in Our Living Room that I Played for Eleven Years and then Abruptly Abandoned Upon Graduating from High School

  1. El Guapo says:

    A letter from the Upright Piano to edrevets:

    “I knew it was over when you stopped washing your hands before our sessions.
    And Fern loves the quaver in my F#m.

    But we’ll always have Paris.”

  2. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Time to sell it! Replace it with a state of the art sound system and stop feeling guilty. Old loves aren’t meant to be rekindled!

  3. mooselicker says:

    Great, now I’m crying.

  4. The Waiting says:

    I wish some of my ex-boyfriends from high school had such kind words!

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