Monday, June 11, 2012

Speaking Of A First Sweetness

Let me begin this post by saying that I am NOT very good at playing the piano. Like, at all. Okay? Okay. That's established? I cannot tickle the ivories without having them groan in pain. All right?

All right.

"My name is Mandy," she said, smiling. "And if you want to remember, it rhymes with Candy."


"Yep. Mandy like Candy."

I remembered. Mandy like Candy 'cause they're both sweet.

Not only was Mandy my very first piano teacher, she was also the first ever girl I remember being a teensy bit in love with but unable to admit it to anyone including myself. I was probably about eight. Yeah. Eight or nine.

I still thought girls were yucky back then. But Mandy transcended that.

She had long dark hair, and beautiful creamy tan skin, and she was the nicest college student I'd ever met. When she sat down with me at the piano bench I hardly dared look at her because she was so pretty.

One Easter I painted her an easter egg - and I painted it a rosy color.

It was darker than this one, and it didn't have stickers. But you get the idea.

I hid it in my piano music bag. I was so embarrassed to be actually giving something ROSY to a GIRL because I didn't want anybody to think that I was in love with her. When I gave it to her, she smiled the sweetest Mandy smile and said 'Thank you! I'm away from my family and I miss being with them for Easter.'

'You're welcome,' I mumbled, probably blushing my head off.

Mandy made piano lessons totally worth it by her mere presence. I remember one day running so hard to get there on time that I arrived so out of breath that my tongue hurt.

"Are you okay?" she asked, concerned.

"I'm, fine," I panted, half-dead.

For the end of lessons recital, I was sick. I barely made it up to the piano to play my song, and then my parents took me home early, and then I was sick sick sick for probably a week, although it felt like a year. But at one point in my illness, I have a memory of holding a treat from the piano recital, a treat that I hadn't gotten because I left too early.

Was it Mandy?

I don't know. I don't remember if I knew. It very well might have been the recital director, or a friend of my Mother's. But I'd like to think that it was Mandy. She was, after all, the nicest college student I had ever met. 

And why am I telling you this?

Sometimes, as writers, we think in order to be 'profound' or 'deep' we have to delve into our dark secrets in order to tell the truth. And sometimes, that's fine. But you know what? Not every bit of meaningful writing has to be pulling out something nasty. I have plenty of nasty memories - other kids being mean to me, adults in positions of responsibility who were apathetic or unkind, friends who were abused, etc. etc. We all have those nasty memories.

But what about those first sweetnesses?

Aren't they also worth digging up?

Aren't they also something that needs to be told?

I don't know if this is profound or not. And I don't really care. But it's true and good, and I think that makes it worth writing down.

Oh, and Mandy, if you ever read this: Thank you for being the best first piano teacher a guy ever had. :) 

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