A story set in a nursing home consisting the perspectives of a deaf pianist, an elderly lady, a little girl, and a waiter… who is more than a waiter. Disclaimer: This is not a true story.
My fingers flew across the slippery keys along with the quick, joyous beating of my heart. To my deaf ears, it was a silent rhythm, but I knew I was giving the dear nursing home residents a sweet, harmonious tune that pierced the air, bidding them to reflect on old times.
I had heard this song I had invented only a few years ago, at the beginning of my high school years before this dreadful curse fell on me. Now I had lost everything but my growing awareness of my visible surroundings. I could see my little sister, for example, chatting animatedly in the back with an old lady while I tickled the ivory keys in a grand display. And I could practically feel the young waiter staring at me from across the room.
Feverishly, I ran my hands across the piano for the finale. The movement of the elderly residences’ clapping bid me relax, but tears threatened to spill from my eyes. I stood up and curtsied briefly, wishing I could have heard the song that I’d played. Was it any good, or did they just clap because I was a poor deaf girl who’d lost her mind?
The young lady was extraordinary, if I did say so myself. Now of course the adorable nine-year-old girl was keeping me busy—oh, I couldn’t remember her name—but I did hear the song in the background with what hearing I had left. The music filled my heart, sending me back to the dancing days of my youth, when that Ricky asked me to the dance floor.
When I told the little girl this, she laughed merrily and danced around herself—the cutest thing I’d seen in years!
I laughed with her, but just then Titus, the nice young waiter, poured me another mug of coffee.
“Lookin’ thirsty, Betty,” he said. I grinned at him. “Just thirsty for old times.”
Mommy had said to keep the old lady entertained, whatever that meant. So I talked to her about my school friends and my favorite doll, but she seemed so busy listening to my big sister’s piano playing. She’d probably be even more interested if she knew Lila was deaf and had made that song up all by herself—but I didn’t tell her that. Lila always took over the show!
“This music reminds me of when my crush Ricky asked me to the dance floor when I was in high school,” said the old lady.
At that, I laughed and danced around to the song, showing off my moves from hip-hop class.
“Did you dance like this?” I exclaimed, but I didn’t think she heard me, because a waiter came up to her and poured her coffee.
Maybe Lila’s song wasn’t so bad. It was really pretty actually now that I thought about it.
The music was phenomenal. No one would expect that I, a nursing home waiter, would know anything about it, but I was working on my senior year in college, majoring in music. I could hardly believe that a deaf girl could invent such a masterpiece full of a broad range of dynamics and melodious sound. Her fingers played the keys so swiftly and easily, her eyes darting here and there, aware of everything. Not to mention that her whole figure was beautiful.
I would have to talk to her—I’d have to, but not now. I noticed Betty’s mug was empty, so I poured her a cup of coffee, slowly, to make sure I didn’t make a fool of myself in front of that remarkable young woman who couldn’t hear, but no doubt could see everything.
(Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash)