The sweetest note

Lily sat at the piano, legs barely touching the floor. Like almost every other day that she could remember she started with her scales, practicing, making precise movements with dextrous fingers as her hands played up and down the keyboard.

At 8 years old the piano was her most familiar friend. Intimate and loving, hard and unforgiving, she had an inextricable bond with this most expressive of instruments – a bond that reached down into the very depths of her soul and flowed out through digits that caressed the keys with consummate proficiency.

Ever since anyone could remember Lily had been a pianist. Sitting for hours each day working her craft, honing her skills and finding nuance in the most surprising places. People came from far and wide to hear her play, and she delighted them without exception.

Some called her a prodigy, others a genius – a true wunderkind but somehow she knew deep down that her god-given talent came from a different place, a place that few would ever be able to comprehend.

Lily’s parents had never understood her. They never knew what motivated her and they never would. Her world was isolated, devoid of light and speech, it was the tunneled singular-minded world of the savant. She would never run outside and play or later love a man, she would never see the sun or appreciate its warmth on her back. Instead she would forever turn to those 88 keys to express herself, and music most wondrous would ensue. To love in any traditional sense was beyond her but many would find love through her work, her passion, her reason to live.

Sitting on stage under the warmth of the lights, she felt an urgency grow inside her. The orchestra swelled, the excitement grew palpable, the audience was breathless. She set her hands on the keyboard. Seconds from now she would show her soul.