There’s a piano somewhere, and I’m holding my breath listening.
Exactly two weeks ago, May 3, 1974, I was playing “Happy Birthday” to my grandmother on our rickety living room piano. By then, she didn’t remember much. But she sang all the words to that song. And while I was trying to act like it was fine and dandy that my uncle was dragging me away, Granddaddy was bawling his eyes out.
That was the last time I touched a piano key.
My grandparents’ farm? Sold. The old piano went wherever the furniture ended up. And me? Theo M. Thomas? Previously destined to be a famous musician or maybe a big leaguer? I packed my entire life in a suitcase and a knapsack and pretended like the uncle I’d never laid eyes on wasn’t swearing we’d never set foot in Kentucky again.
Hearing the music drift up the stairs, I grab the hall banister tight. Every single note waltzes straight to my insides and makes me want to play along.
Okay, so I’ve left behind my friends, my grandparents, and the farm I’d lived on pretty much all my life. My new room’s above a tap-dance studio and next door to a five-year-old pain in the butt. What’s worse, an uncle I hardly know speaks to me mostly when he’s barking out orders.
But before tiptoeing back down the dark hall, I’ve decided there’s one good thing about being hauled off to Destiny, Florida. Tomorrow I’ll find that piano.
On grade level title