FEATURE WRITER – ORE – “Why Lucy Stopped Playing Piano”

Ore Piano

Why did Lucy stop playing the piano?

Because someone stole Edmonds yellow bicycle and now Ms.Daylie has to pick him up from Scouts.

What does that have to do with Lucy?

Ms.Daylie used to wait downstairs for Lucy to finish her piano lesson.

Why did Ms.Daylie wait downstairs?

Because she doesn’t trust Leigh O’Reiley.

Why?

Because Leigh O’Reiey is why Lucy stopped playing piano.

Why did Lucy stop playing piano?

Because someone stole Edmonds yellow bicycle and now Ms.Daylie has to pick him up from Scouts. And now Lucy does not trust Leigh O’Reiley and now she walks about, haunted.

.-._________________…_________________.-.

Sometimes houses are haunted. Sometimes they are haunted with spirits, those little echoes of the past that leave a smudge on the now, like fingerprints on a glassy pane. They are spirits like the orange moth Ms.Daylie sees every Wednesday at half-past-six. I was over once when it flew into the space between her brows. (I will swear my left ear that it was greeting her!) “That is my sister you know” she told me with eyes half closed in remembrance.

She did not have to tell me that she was remembering Wednesday evenings as a young woman spent perched over a chess board as another young woman with a nose and a jaw like her own held an ivory rook in one dainty hand, and a Macanudo cigar in the other. She did not have to tell me these things because as her eyes flickered to a dusty chessboard, and her mouth opened up like a split seam. I knew. “Not now Geneviève. Not yet” she whispered beneath her breath to the moth between her brows.

I am certain that Ms.Daylie’s house is haunted, but it is really not so bad. Not nearly as bad as people think anyways. What is worse yet- is when people are haunted. After my visit with them this January, I maintain the utmost conviction that the members of the Fedarov house are haunted. All of them.

Tomas Fedarov roams the halls with a curious and unnatural gentleness. He is the type of man whose manner makes you wonder that a breeze does not knock him over, and sometimes if you watch him, his eyes open up like windows with the curtain askew. They are the type of eyes that a man might think hold nothing at all.

His wife, Felicity Fedarov, is better- but not by much. She looks like she has the sort of face that is used to smiling, especially when the body and mind think otherwise. Her smile is painful for other people to look at. It seems to be tugged over her face in the same way a child tugs at the sleeves of a favorite jumper they have outgrown.

At the table Felicity smiles.

Her daughter Lucy looks so much like her, but Lucy does not smile. She slumps on her elbow and picks at her the meatloaf languidly. “Meat is disgusting when you think about it.” Says Lucy making a visible attempt to appear bored. The only thing stopping her success is the evil sprite of a smile that flickers on her face for a sliver of a second.

At the table Felicity sighs.

“Isn’t meatloaf just a giant mass of tissue cells and protein? Dead matter.” Her voice sounds like it belongs to a woman from one of those old movies where everyone wore hats and pearls. It sounds like she is too old to be fourteen. Her voice, it sounds like the morning.  “The living, living off of the dead. Just imagine it!”

This is the Fedarov house. It stands like a tree in November… except for the fact that it is January. Its leaves have already fallen, and although majestic it may be, it has none of the grace and beauty and splendor associated with branches lined white with snow. Its halls are dusted and polished, yet they echo. From the outside it might look too picturesque to be exciting. It is too picturesque to be exciting- all but the piano that sits on the patio.

Apparently Lucy called some men to move it out of the parlor a few weeks ago.

Thomas and Felecity like to pretend it is not there, but I’ve seen Lucy staring at it in the Evenings after I come back from my jog and she laboriously finishes her meatloaf. “Did you see anything new on your latest escapade Kay?” Lucy asks more to the air than to me.

“No not really. Edmond Garth is still out looking for his bicycle. You must know the boy?”

“Maybe. Boys…” Lucy brushes the snow off of a piano key “boys-boys. I have known so many boys” She looks up at me then, with a smile that she must know can break any boy’s heart and for a second I think that she is about to cry. “Sometimes memoires sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks” she says.

I stare at her abashed. For a second I think I see Ms.Daylie’s moth lingering on the edge of the piano, but then I realise that it is somewhere else. The moth- its wings fold over the edges of Lucy’s face like veins. The moth is Lucy. She is her own ghost.

“Edmond Garth. Yes I know him. He is Ms.Daylie’s family. Her nephew. Just as you are my family, except that they see each other every time she drops him off from Scouts and I barely see you Kay. Mother says you prefer storybooks to socialising, but I don’t think that sounds too bad.”

“I prefer writing storybooks to socializing” I say mildly scalded. I don’t want to ask what else my Aunt says of me. Instead I ask a question that has been burning through my tongue the week that I have been here. “Why did you move the piano out here? Aren’t you afraid it will ruin?”

“Let me tell you a story Kay. You like stories in books don’t you? This is a story about ruin and a girl who no longer plays piano. In this story the girl meets a boy with an ‘L’ name like her own. He is the godson of her piano teacher. Leigh. His name sounds like October leaves falling, doesn’t it? His voice, it sounds like the morning. He makes her think she is in love with him just by his voice, but his eyes, they look like they are always undressing her.

“The girl does not notice at first. She is too busy gifting her eyelashes and pinkies. She gives him the little things. The things that people don’t notice go missing. It is because they are always being watched by eyes that would notice if bigger things went missing.

“And then suddenly those eyes are gone. They are on centre street picking up a nephew from scouts. The boy and the girl are left alone, and he looks like her with eyes that say ‘I want to ruin you’. Then it is just the girl who is left alone. Boys. Boys. I’ve known so may boys. Do you know what it is like to leave a soul in ruin Kay? It is like breaking the heart. It is like breaking the hymen.”

Behind me the piano stretches out like an ominous monster, and the glow of the streetlights make the keyboard look like a trail of bones. The piano is not Lucy’s, it might have been once, but I know who it belongs to now. Even I can feel his eyes in the stained mahogany. “Is that why you moved the piano outside. Because it is him?”

Lucy nods slowly.

“Well then let’s make it you again” My finger reaches for middle C and presses down.

.-._________________…_________________.-.

Why did Lucy start playing the piano?

Because Kay Church goes jogging in the evenings.

What does that have to do with Lucy?

He always sees her after his jog, just staring at the piano.

Why did Lucy just stare at the piano?

Because for a while she stopped playing it?

Why did Lucy stop playing the piano?