When I was a younger man, I had a lover. She was beautiful beyond words. Slight to the point of being fragile. Her hands moved gracefully, even when doing mundane things.
I remember how her long slender fingers would seem to float around her fork as she gesticulated during dinner conversation. I remember how she held her wine glass. I remember how her touch was never quite warm but was always inviting.
I had loved her. I had loved her for a year before I had the courage to let her know how I felt. Through some mercy she allowed me to court her, to date her, and for us to eventually have a small house together.
She was a pianist. It wasn't her profession, but it was her passion. She would play in her small piano room a few times a week. Always learning something new.
I was never allowed to watch her practice. She would close the door, even though the sound of her upright piano would ring throughout the house anyway (and onto the street if the windows were open).
There is something very intimate about listening to someone practice an unfamiliar piece. There are not a lot of places to hide your mistakes on an instrument which demands the attention of everyone within an earshot.
You can hear every fumble, the frustration in notes played a second time with just a little more haste. The resignation in restarting a piece from the very beginning. The long pauses between attempts.
I was usually in the kitchen, washing and drying our dinner dishes while she played. I would imagine the grimace on her face whenever a dissonant chord was unintentionally struck.
I silently cheered her on as she approached parts she was having trouble with. And sometimes I would just stand and listen to her play a piece in its entirety.
These ordinary moments I realise now were the last time in my life I was truly happy. Where I was on a course that would give me the perfect wife, perfect kids, perfect home, perfect life.
It didn't work out that way. Life goes on.
I still have dishes to wash, although not as many now.
Sometimes I like to listen to Chopin or Debussy while I do them.