"The recital is for my father, "said Rita, "he loves to hear me play. I sit and stretch my fingers, let the hands relax before I begin. I will play Bach, let the fingers bring him to life, my passion will be aroused, I will sit and think of Mr Bordello who taught me lessons on the piano, who sat too close and touched my thigh, and let his fingers run along my leg. Si gioca bene, my father says, you play well, he repeats in English, his smile warming, his hands crossed on his stomach as he sits and hears. He has worked hard for my lessons; day and night, he has worked for the piano that I play. Mr Bordello would make me practice Bach, he loved the music, loved to hear his beloved Bach. My stomach would tighten when he entered the room, his wife behind him with her goofy smile. Play the Bach, he would say, you must enter the soul of JSB like an angel, must bring him to life with your fingers that play. I play the music. Let the notes run like children at games, like the flying of birds. He sits closer and I sense his knee touch mine as I play, my fingers shake as I feel the keys. Giocare su, la riproduzione su, he says, play on; play on, he moans as his hand squeezes my thigh. My father knows nothing of what happened; I spare him the worry of that slimy man and his wandering hands. My fingers recite the melodies; my mind recalls Bordello's cold words, his eyes on my hands, his breath on my neck, his foot tapping the floor like a metronome. I release Bach from his grave, bring him to life as I touch the keys. I love his music, his spirit lives on me as I play. The notes flow from me like a fountain of water, the freshness soothes me as I swim in the sounds. Once while playing a difficult piece, Bordello's fingers lifted my dress, his foraging fingers touching my groin, my stomach knotted, my hands froze on the keys as if plunged into ice, tears filled my eyes, but my tongue was glued, no words would come. My father sits by the fire as I pause, his eyes are happy with the sounds I played. The piano recital is for him alone, for his love and concern, for his years of work and his love of Bach. Mr Bordello's fingers still ache in cold weather where I slammed down the lid on his hands as he played; never again did he touch my thigh, and never again did he make me cry. His wife with her goofy smile came running when she heard his scream, but he said nothing of my deed, just cursed and swore in his Italian tongue and glared at me with his dark black eyes. I touch the keys with my fingers once more, Bach comes close with his eyes on my hands and a smile on his face like that of my father who sits by the fire with a flame in his heart."
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