A Local Pianist
If anyone needs a pianist, they call Carol. Weddings, dances, fetes, musicals: run a local event without her and you’ll be branded an outsider – or, at best, a little odd.
Sitting on an aged piano stool in the front room of her semi, she sips her tea as I, buried in the sofa, sip mine; we listen to Mozart and soak up the sun that is seeping through the double-glazing.
I ask her what she gets out of the musical profession. I am wholly unprepared for the reply. “Sex,” announced the sixty year-old with a decisive nod. Agreeing with herself: ”It replaces sex, yes. I gave up on the latter when Bill ran off with his Filipino.”
It transpires that although she had been well-acquainted with the piano during her marriage, she only went professional upon entering singledom.
“That terrible silence,” she is saying. “It wanted blocking out.” She shakes her head, making her grey curls bounce, and puts down her cup and saucer.
Carol does not appear an overly talkative person of the sort that are usually perceived as community-galvanising individuals. I tell her so.
“Words don’t come easily,” she chuckles. “I’m best off saying it through the music. Whatever I’ve got to express, I get it out there with the ivories. Not by babbling.”
And should we have more people like her in our community?
“No, I don’t think so. Everyone has a place. I’m not sure whether more of me would be a good thing, but I can tell you I’ve found my place.”
Carol pops a mint chocolate into her mouth and lifts up the piano lid. She begins to improvise an accompaniment to Mozart’s twenty-third concerto as it emerges from the speakers.
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