Change in Time
by Chella Courington
Mother had a massive, upright piano. In the afternoon light it gleamed deeply as if its dark wood were a kind of glass. It was given its own room with a plush green carpet and a carved settee with velvet cushions that belonged to Mother’s mother. I was only allowed in there to play my scales and some Schubert. She needed to be beside me.
She watched my fingers—baby birds ready to fly and leave her alone to figure out her own music. She sat without moving, her long torso straight as a washboard, her feet in fashionable shoes planted beneath her floral skirt.
For her, it wasn’t about the music. It was about what was expected, what everyone else’s girl child could do.
For me, it was the sound lying somewhere in the keys that maybe my fingers could find hidden in the ivory. If they could enter the notes and slide with their pitch, disappear into rhythm that travelled up my tips through my arms and stomach. My feet worked those bronze polished pedals, setting off fireworks—hot and red spreading in my body, shaking that keyboard. Fingers danced like a woman in a tight black skirt who felt every eye on her.
About the author
Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, and The Los Angeles Review. Her novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage, is available at Breaking Rules Publishing. Courington lives in California.
Other work by Chella Courington on Flashes: