The Pianist.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Pianist loses his hands, but the one thumb that remains opens a new door to piano-playing.

Submitted: November 17, 2011

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Submitted: November 17, 2011






“I am sorry for your loss.”  Said the doctor.


I snorted at his thin-skinned pity. Most people think that loss would be losing a rosy-faced child to a fall a little too high, a loved one being crushed by a car driven by a man who couldn’t keep his booze in his bottle.


No one would think that the loss of my hands would be nearly as heartbreaking.


“Renowned pianist has lost his hands in tragic fire.” That was the media’s headline, the dreadful truth being smeared in my face as if the inflamed stumps of hopes and hands burned were not enough reminders.


I have not been totally truthful with you, my thumb remained plastered on my left hand, melted and deformed like heated wax, but to me it was just a wilted seedling mourning it’s parent tree’s cindered remains, and nothing more.


Some people called me lucky, some wondered if I would extinguish the cooling embers of my life, and other’s dwelt in the smoky remains of my past, they recalled how I was called Musical Shakespeare, Beethoven revived, and then how I was now the Musical Bard who lost his quill, and the Beethoven who had gone to yet another early grave.


They could not even wait until I was dead before they started sending those cheesy and irritating, “ We will miss you” notes with store-bought roses; before the little soul I had left would vanish like the fumes of a dying fire.


Some people donated money so I could afford a wooden pair of hands to play my instrument, I sent their pennies back and told them I would not play a piano I could not feel with my naked flesh.


When my skin became a thin, translucent veil on my bones, they thought I was wasting away from sorrow. Sorrow was only one note in my sad string of music. My rhythms replayed monotonously in my head; first they were ghostly echoes of the past that haunted me more with each passing day as they got louder and louder, my thumb, mummified in plaster, pressed invisible keys as I slept.


One day, when my rhythms vibrated my skull with each precise, resounding and mocking note, I unwrapped my embalmed thumb, and pressed one key monotonously, my deformed and waxy thumb throbbed with pain, but eased the tormenting music in my head until it faded back into a ghostly memory.


I settled my hoary head against the smooth cherry wood piano, I could see the reflection

of my thumb in the polished surface as I pressed the key, the vibrations lovingly tingling my spine, and the dust floating ethereally in the rays of sunlight as I slid my finger across the yellowed ivory.


As the day’s passed, my thumb strengthened, simple, familiar melodies echoed through passageways and rays of light, one note dancing with another. My new rhythms reminded me of raindrops, each note crucial to the renewal of the soil of my soul, nurturing the tender seeds of my imagination that had lain hidden amongst the coals of my despair; My music grew slowly but steadily, it was a tender garden that crawled through old cinders before shooting up to the heavens and blossoming under belief’s motherly warmth.


I never resumed public piano playing, but suckled my own need in the quiet, sun lit corridors of my home, my thumb, the wilted seedling that I had no hopes for a few months ago had became a delicate and fragile laurel which I cherished.


My music was different, but never disappointing, instead of its rhythm being a complex twirl of waves of autumnal leaves, it was just was one leaf, gently floating away on a spring breeze to a greener, and brighter place.





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