I ask him if I can sit next to him

and he says yes,

so we sit side- by- side






His fingers touch the keys with conviction

while mine graze them timidly

as if I’m meeting an old friend

who seems less familiar than I had hoped

and it’s all I can do

to hide

my disappointment


He has trouble with this song

asks for my help


he takes the right

I take the left

and together we take on Chopin

while I whisper to myself:

Every  Good  Boy Deserves Fudge

We sit

side-by- side

on this shiny wooden bench

making mistakes

making music

making memories


He asks me why I stopped

and I tell him it’s because the song is over


but it’s not what he meant


“Why did you ever stop playing the piano, mom?”

I let the question hang in the air for a moment

before I let it land upon my shoulders

where it burdens me with memories of

missed practices


broken promises

before finally giving up




The word lingers a little after I say it

and I look over at him

wanting him to see the regret in my eyes

hoping he won’t make the same mistake


and not just with pianos


I tell him

in so many words

that I wish I had stuck with it

especially when it got hard

“That requires resilience and commitment

and both come in handy in life.”


We sit side-by-side

in silence

on that tiny little bench

and I let my fingers slide over the keys

until I cannot stop them

and suddenly they are playing a

rusty version

of a song I used know much better


He turns to me,

my son of 8 years

and tells me

(in a voice full of that childish wisdom we tend to lose when the world demands we stop listening to such nonsense)

“You know, mom. It’s not too late. You can play again. You should play again.”

He’s so smart.


Much smarter than I.


And that’s exactly how it should be.




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