Except this one. This one had sat stauchedly, yet approachable as grandpa in our living room for nearly 20 years. It was old and out of tune, with cracked yellowy ivory keys splayed out like like a New Orleans Voodo-man. Its finish was like old sharkskin, rough, wrinkles in wrinkles in Mandelbrot and its dark visage sucked feng-shui like a fish gulping water.
But when the sun lay across, reaching through the window to caress its leathery hide, it glowed.
We got it for free. Well, a hundred bucks of actual money and sweat and grunting and cursing and truck rental and heave ho-ing. We had dreams of learning to play, tuning it up, making it live again.
We wrote our names on the harp as the previous owners did, as did the owners before them and before them. All the way to 1939.
There it sat, suffering the indecency of being nothing more than a shelf for pictures. Tuning it was out of the question. Repairs to make it a working piano was easily $5,000 and because of its rhino skin its value would still be in negative numbers.
And we never learned to play.
I think that hurts the most.
My Aunt Mary came up years ago for Christmas. She was a church organist for decades and when she saw that piano she just started banging out Christmas tunes like nobodies business, somehow making the out of tuned beast sing with a warbling tenor. We gathered around and sang.
It could give life.
While all along inside it was dying.
It was filling with mold and dust from disuse. The pads were crumbling, the harp rusting, the hammers, 88 of them, dampeners, 170 of them, silently exploded into age and powdered mist again and again every time a key was struck.
We made calls, but it was beyond hope.
Men came today and took it away.
I would like to say it is heading off to a new life where it will be made anew and sit in the basement of a church or school, drowning out the throaty crooning of the choir.
Since I would like to say it, I shall.
May the children write their names on your harp, may the angles play your strings.