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The Piano

Flashback narratives based on The Piano https://vimeo.com/200936986

 

As my old wrinkled hands play this marvellous melody, I am reminded of my wife, her smile melted my old heart like the sun melting ice, oh how I long for her to hold me in her warm arms yet again but alas, she lay peacefully I her everlasting slumber, How I hope for her to visit me once again but though I cannot see her I know she is always with me , like a guardian angel watching over me next to me, holding my hand as I play this tremendous tune.

Crash, bang, thump. What are these gut-wrenching, ear splitting noises? Gun fire. I run , my faithful friend  at my side .we   find cover , an old wall I signal for him to shoot, a horrid noised rings out , a gunshot , not my friends gun from the apposing team . His colipases to the cold hard ground I sprint over and hold him in my arms, as death grabs at him slowly dragging him down into the dark abyss that is his final resting place, he muttered to me his final words “ run my friend, save yourself “  another gun shot, shouting for me to come back to the trench .

I’m pulled back to the present still playing my piano as I start to reminisce about my childhood, Christmas was my favourite holiday carolling, playing in the snow, and my favourite part, presents I open a small wooden box, containing a hobby horse, I grab the chocolate brown leather rains and parade around the house.

My grandson jumps in riding the very same hobby horse that I once rode, though we may look different the look of joy on his face is the very same look from when I rode on it for the very first time, he sits down next to me and plays the final key of my terrific tune, it brings a single tear of joy to my eye. 

As my old wrinkled hands play this marvellous melody, I am reminded of my wife, her smile melted my old heart like the sun melting ice, oh how I long for her to hold me in her warm arms yet again but alas, she lay peacefully I her everlasting slumber, How I hope for her to visit me once again but though I cannot see her I know she is always with me , like a guardian angel watching over me next to me, holding my hand as I play this tremendous tune.

Crash, bang, thump. What are these gut-wrenching, ear splitting noises? Gun fire. I run , my faithful friend  at my side .we   find cover , an old wall I signal for him to shoot, a horrid noised rings out , a gunshot , not my friends gun from the apposing team . His colipases to the cold hard ground I sprint over and hold him in my arms, as death grabs at him slowly dragging him down into the dark abyss that is his final resting place, he muttered to me his final words “ run my friend, save yourself “  another gun shot, shouting for me to come back to the trench .

I’m pulled back to the present still playing my piano as I start to reminisce about my childhood, Christmas was my favourite holiday carolling, playing in the snow, and my favourite part, presents I open a small wooden box, containing a hobby horse, I grab the chocolate brown leather rains and parade around the house.

My grandson jumps in riding the very same hobby horse that I once rode, though we may look different the look of joy on his face is the very same look from when I rode on it for the very first time, he sits down next to me and plays the final key of my terrific tune, it brings a single tear of joy to my eye. 

 

 

 

As my fingers glide gracefully across the ornate keys of the precious piano that lay before me, the song played only by my most delicate hand, it consumes me in a gentle river of nostalgia. My past flows back, and as I play this mystical piece, created for my wife’s final birthday, it calls her. It calls her back to me. She plays with me now, her beautiful melody comes closer to an end, and I don’t want her to leave me, to leave my side. But they don’t belong here anymore. The deceased are to never awake. Only mere memories bring her close to me.

With a final kiss on the cheek, the end comes, taking her away once more. She fades from view, leaving my side. Loneliness consumes me once more. My fingers slow. The song is changing. Quicker now, fingers speeding across the keys of this beloved piano, the river changes direction, another memory, another story…

Sirens wail in the distance, I hear them as I charge towards our station. My brother and I head towards a wall, to capture the enemy. Planes swooping in overhead, their sirens screaming at me as they dive down to us, we take cover as they, once again, drop their first load of death and destruction. It seemed to be an infinite loop.

I remember it as if it were yesterday, it’s so clear.

Machine guns rattle out their rounds, cries of injured men, explosions, sirens, soldiers yelling at each other. The noise was deafening.

Once again, I had presumed my role as medic. Too many to save, not enough to help. It all happens again. Repeated once more. I give the signal, my colleague jumps out. Sacrificed. I looked up to see him lying there. Motionless. Dead.

He was not to know his fate.

The river surges round a bend, a slow memory flows back. I was opening a gift from my mother. As a boy, hopes raised, the boy who was me at a young age, tore open the box to reveal his most desired object for years to come: a hobby horse.

I now remember riding around on it, it was what I always wanted! That’s what makes it special.

The vision fades as my grandson comes to me, riding the same horse. The river comes out to a lake, ready to make more memories, the memories still to come.

My grandson has reached me, to join me. Together, we play happier notes. Together we finish the song, my grandson playing the final note. We stop. Together, we smile.

 

As I sit in the spotlight on my grand piano, I play the first few notes of a song I wrote for my now deceased wife, Wendy. Every time I begin this beautiful symphony, I can almost never stop as it brings back sentimental and nostalgic memories. Memories of our last times together. Sometimes it is like she is sitting quietly beside me, hand in mine, gliding her gentle fingers along the polished piano’s keys.

Whether the memories are joyful or woeful they always derive back, we were inseparable. Although the memories are in the past, our love will never end.

Suddenly continuous flashes occur in my mind as a frightful vision of the war shows up. The war I fought with Andy, my only brother. As he bravely stepped out from behind the battered, brick wall, BANG! Gone…My eyes fill with tears of disbelief, anger and sadness…

I had to be the one. I had to accompany him and watch him slowly fade away through the darkness of death. Was it my fault? Never in my years have I felt so powerless.

The rapidity of my music reduces as the war fades into a blur of many colours. The treacherous melancholy I felt before was immediately wiped away by the memories of my careless, younger self. Memories of a box, one very close to my heart.

A box, which was decorated with blue ribbon, was passed into my childish hands. My face only bare pure bliss as I tore the wrapping and lifted the lid. I remember looking up and staring at my father, Arthur, in disbelief as a dull amber hobby horse lay in my arms. I galloped around on it for numerous hours.

Now my grandson keeps it in his possession and enjoys the delight it brings just as much as I did, only foreseeing pure happiness.

“Grandad! Look at this! Look how fast I can go!” I hear my grandson Bobby say as he whizzes by me. He suddenly halts to heave himself up onto the leather stool and perches next to me to finish the piece.

My symphony is at last complete.

 

As dancing shards of golden sun light peaked through the grimy windows I feel Julia play her symphonic melody with me. We were unbeatable. Like glue. Yes, she was my missing piece, my other half. I am lost without her. Confused in a world I once loved. I now feel her spirit fading like her life once did. Where is she going? Where is she now? I ponder these questions a lot. I am now intrigued by what lays before my frail, old eyes…

But as I play on the foreground reveals a mossy, crumbling wall. Myself, in a medic uniform. And I am with another man. Kevin. My friend. My college. My brother from another mother. He wanted to be a soldier, and he was. Such a brave individual. I can see the wall we are hiding behind. It is shaking and looks like it is about to fall. This is when I lost but others won. Kevin runs. BOOM! He falls. BOOM! A shout. BOOM! I call out to the silence. Kevin is lying, wounded. He breathes his last, slow breath.

“Goodbye, old friend.” I was too late. Too slow. I wonder many things about Kevin, still to this day. Goodbye, to who? Old friend, which one? But I cannot ask these questions, which have haunted me. I can now see something strange. A change of characters.

I I feel flustered. MY emotions are a storm of mixed thoughts. Like a sea of feelings and I am drowning in a wave of sorrow and joy. It is reaching out, its claws to pull me into the confusion. I shall keep playing to clear my mind.

I see myself as a young boy, who looks so delighted, presented with a blue box. My 10th birthday. I open the box and lift out a hobby horse. Its wood is a radiant amber and the opal eyes glint in the light. How innocent I was. How naive. Blissful until I had been guided into t a whirlpool of soul, sucking reality.

The flashbacks have come to an end. The tap, tap, tap of shoes loudly sound around the hall. Felix, my grandson, is riding around on the same small toy horse, its vivid amber now a sandy brown and its wheels loose with age. But the same opal eyes glimmer in the sun. Felix is slowly coming to sit beside me. He is watching and at the last second he finishes the song with me. He smiles. I am smiling back. It is over. It is perfect.

It is done.

As dancing shards of golden sun light peaked through the grimy windows I feel Julia play her symphonic melody with me. We were unbeatable. Like glue. Yes, she was my missing piece, my other half. I am lost without her. Confused in a world I once loved. I now feel her spirit fading like her life once did. Where is she going? Where is she now? I ponder these questions a lot. I am now intrigued by what lays before my frail, old eyes…

But as I play on the foreground reveals a mossy, crumbling wall. Myself, in a medic uniform. And I am with another man. Kevin. My friend. My college. My brother from another mother. He wanted to be a soldier, and he was. Such a brave individual. I can see the wall we are hiding behind. It is shaking and looks like it is about to fall. This is when I lost but others won. Kevin runs. BOOM! He falls. BOOM! A shout. BOOM! I call out to the silence. Kevin is lying, wounded. He breathes his last, slow breath.

“Goodbye, old friend.” I was too late. Too slow. I wonder many things about Kevin, still to this day. Goodbye, to who? Old friend, which one? But I cannot ask these questions, which have haunted me. I can now see something strange. A change of characters.

I I feel flustered. MY emotions are a storm of mixed thoughts. Like a sea of feelings and I am drowning in a wave of sorrow and joy. It is reaching out, its claws to pull me into the confusion. I shall keep playing to clear my mind.

I see myself as a young boy, who looks so delighted, presented with a blue box. My 10th birthday. I open the box and lift out a hobby horse. Its wood is a radiant amber and the opal eyes glint in the light. How innocent I was. How naive. Blissful until I had been guided into t a whirlpool of soul, sucking reality.

The flashbacks have come to an end. The tap, tap, tap of shoes loudly sound around the hall. Felix, my grandson, is riding around on the same small toy horse, its vivid amber now a sandy brown and its wheels loose with age. But the same opal eyes glimmer in the sun. Felix is slowly coming to sit beside me. He is watching and at the last second he finishes the song with me. He smiles. I am smiling back. It is over. It is perfect.

It is done.

 

Here I sit, playing the keys of my grand ornate piano under the only light in the dark room. Playing a song, her song. Emily, the love of my life died many years ago. I wrote this song for her on her birthday as a present along with many others. Now, whenever I play this song she re-joins me as her ghost.

We used to play the piano together all the time since we fell in love she was the most beautiful person that I had ever seen, no, in the world. She was my life. I had so many bad emotions that filled my head like grief, devastation and guilt. I thought it was my fault but I slowly realized it wasn’t.

Then as the calmness of the song disappears and the song speeds up I get dragged back into the present when I’m along with no tender hands to hold mine. Now I’m filled with more grief than I have ever been filled with before. But now I start to remember another death. No, I scream in my head but it’s too late. I’m remembering it. The war. The world war. The Second World War. The First World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars. But it wasn’t.

We were hiding behind the last brick wall. Me and a fellow soldier. We had been friends since we were toddlers. I signalled for him to step out witch was a big mistake because, BANG! CRACK! He had been shot. I comforted him while he kept on saying, “go, you have to go” “go, you have to go.” I didn’t want to go but I knew I had to.

As the music slows down I’m back in the present. Not a danger in sight but under a blanket of sorrow.

Now I start to remember when I was a child. I got a wooden hobby horse when I was seven. I remember it as if it was yesterday.

It was my birthday. It was the last present, the hobby horse. I was confused on how big the present was, but when I opened it I stared at it for a moment in disbelief. I didn’t think to say thank you. I got on it and in the blink of the eye I had disappeared. As I came round the corner to the piano my seven year old self became my seven year old grandson.  I gave him the hobby horse for his seventh birthday. He enjoyed it more than I did which was quite funny. We finished the together but then he left.

 

Here I sit as my fingers glide across the dusted keys of the ornate piano, my head spinning with melancholy emotions. While I play, memories come flooding back to me, drowning me in a wave 9of nostalgia.

As I hit another white key, a ghostly shadow begins to appear. In the corner of my eye, I realise that it is the apparition of my wife, sitting beside me. The very song I am playing is the one I wrote for our wedding. It was all I could, give her as we had no money. But it didn’t matter. As she turns to kiss me she begins to fade away, leaving me to be alone, lost in an ocean of sorrow.

I hardly have time to wonder if she was really there, because another memory returns to me. Another pale note. Putrid smoke filled the air, sirens wailed, and screams of crown men pierced the darkening sky. I pressed against the crumbling brick wall, my fearless brother at my side till the end. Bravely, he ran out of the cover, rifle raised, fighting to the last man. Into the cloud of smoke. The field of war. I will never forget the pain I felt as I saw him fall. As I battled to save him, through the explosions and bullets, he said his final words.

“Peter… save yourself…”

I had no choice but to leave him, the bang of the shot still ringing in my ear. I will always remember him as one thing - a hero.

I barely had time to mourn for him, as I am transported out of my memory and into the present. His words repeat in my head. It is then that I realise that through ought the memory of the ordeal I have been expressing every moment through the music from the piano. While I continue to play, I think I can see a small child, my grandson, holding an old hobby horse. As I turn to look at him, I am pulled into another memory.

Fumbling with the lid, I couldn’t wait to open the box. What could be inside? As it popped open, I took a lo0ok at pure happiness. As I clutched the wooden horse, I looked down at its glimmering green glass eye. I remember the utter joy such a simple toy gave me as I paraded it around the house.

It is the same wooden horse that my grandson rides around today. As he rides past the leg of my instrument, I realise that this is what brings back memories. This is where past merges with present. The piano.

 

Gracefully, my fingers glide across the ornate keys of the majestic grand piano, my head spinning with melancholy emotions. Precious memories fill my heart and my body is enveloped in a song that retells the grief, love, joy, and death of my long-lived life. A strange feeling of nostalgia fills me – my life’s most vivid moments cloud my confused brain. Her. Her.

She had joined me, her faded figure sat next to me. Words could not describe this picture of love. Her ghost had resonated in the corner of my tear-stained eye, countless moments shared alive cannot tell the everlasting love we shared. Mellow feelings of serene peace as calm as the sea floated on an un-felt wind at that moment. As her tender lips pressed down on my wrinkled cheek, sadness filed my heavy lungs.

I am transported by the very snow white keys I played into a different memory, one filled of grief, and of cheerlessness. The vision consumes me.

Putrid smoke filled the air, a burst of rapid fire rung out through the clearing. I ran, my feet a blur of pine green, rifle in my arms, hiding. Sirens wailed and the angry whine of hundreds of planes swooped down, ready to drop their hot destruction. Me and him. We hide behind a low cracked wall, awaiting our fate. A gave a sharp nod and his fate gave way.

“Bang “

One crystal clear shot. Silence.

The world stopped. Shattered. And started. It’s over. It had ended. The roar of blood red fire, more shots, more dead bodies. But he couldn’t, could not be dead. He was. As I cradled him onto an everlasting sleep, my brain went blank, lost in a sea of grief, and of everlasting sadness.

Childhood, a lonely flashback returns to me, my young life, or is it the present. A lonely image. I sat in front of a sea-blue box. A present. Happiness filled me. A toy horse. Just a horse- the long wooded handle smoothed and the majestic stallions head gleaming. I played, hours went by. And now, my grandson.

The same loved horse, he carries it, playing, in the same loving way I did, with joy. High and low, fast and slow, the songs of my life radiate through the piano. The child looks into my melancholy eyes, and sits with me, sharing my past memories of my last life. And the song ends, with one last note, played, by him.

 

Here I sit, my fingers gliding gracefully across the dusty keys that stare up at me, my head spinning with a solemn, melancholy emotion. Memories rush through my veins filling my blood. Filling my heart with sorrow…

 

I remember the song I composed for her. Her widening smile. This same melody flying off the tips of my fingers now. Her beautiful face vivid beside me, my beautiful beloved wife kisses me. If only it were really her. If only I could kiss her back. The eternal sorrow of her passing haunts my every move. A constant lump forms in my throat and it rings with pain as my memories of her flow tranquilly through my head. This was the very song I had played on our marriage and that day will live immortal as a part of me. She fades away and my heart speeds up as I delve deeper into the depths of my memories.

 

Crash! Terror rushed through me and I sprinted toward the wall breathing heavily. The conflict of the Second World War terrified me. It still does. I thrusted myself against the wall my faithful companion, friend beside me as I rapped a bandage around my scorched leg. I smiled knowing we were awaiting our fate. He returned the smile and peaked his head around the wall. One pellet. One shotgun. One German.

 

“Friend can you hear me. Friend can you hear me.”

 

He didn’t reply.  I could taste the smoke in the air I as held his fading head in my helpless hands and a wave of loneliness flooded mercilessly through my body. I was as lonely as a broken toy and hungry for revenge but I couldn’t bring myself to abandon my own brother.

 

Suddenly I’m transported again. A gift laid before me. Oh how I remember this day. I was so young. As I rapidly shredded the paper out emerged a brown wooden hobby horse. The one I’d wanted for months. I stood up and excitedly skipped around the room happiness overwhelming me. My favourite birthday. My favourite horse.

 

Now as I sit and play my grandson plays with it. My joy being re used, re lived. My angel grandson –who I love with all my heart- places the horse down and sits beside me, where my wife used to. I can smell him. His scent soothes me. Together at the end of it all we play the final note. We smile. The music stops.     

 

Here I sit, playing the moments of my past one by one knowing their ghosts are going to haunt me forevermore, filling the room with deafening tunes remembering each one of bye heart. They disappear into a voice. One I remember so clearly, a fine elegant voice, the one of my music loving wife.

She’s here. With me now. Accompanying me at my piano. Listening to my sweet melodies. She’ll always know them, she’s part of them, broken and lost without her. She’s still here I can feel her, lifting my music every time her tender hands touch the ancient keys along with mine. She’ll always be here. I know it! I sense it. Here with her I’ll stay when my song ends. I can join her. Be with her. Once more. Forevermore.

My sweet love is leaving me, sending me back to the Great War. I want to escape. Tears swell in my eyes, but my mind won’t let go. The war. The Great War.

 I was a medic caring for the injured soldiers and those in need.

I tried to save them all. Especially him. My brother. I did everything I could. We were…we were behind a wall he stepped out to shoot and…and. Bang! Crack! He was gone. If only I had done something sooner. He just fell back like the wind. And then. He was gone. Right before my eyes.

I remember clearly, me running to him and screaming, scooping him up, before dying in my achy arms. His eyes going from their blue mischievous colour to black and empty inside. Another loved one gone. Slipped throw my old wrinkled fingers.

It still rings in my head, the orchestra of the battle field. The gun shots, the bombs, I hated it. There going round my head.

But I’m still here at my black ornate piano, letting the song slow, nearly to a stop. Then I see it. My minds whizzing back through my childhood corridor, from when my life had just begun. I didn’t want to leave this time. I want to stay when my life was simple and fun.

Here I am. Running along the same corridor- not knowing the pain, agony and loss that lay ahead in the future- to my favourite present I ever revised. My brother gave it to me- the same one I let die in the war. It was a glistening wooden hobbyhorse, past down throw my family. It was wrapped in a blue box with a silver ribbon box crossed over the top of it.

Joy had overwhelmed me that day. A gleaming smile had lit my face. I refused to let that horse go. I loved it.

My grandson owned the hobby now and was laying it on the floor next to the piano then joined me at the keys. The room filled with magic. Warmth flooded my insides. Joy re-filled me.

My time had come, with him here my story will live. No more sorrow for me. Just peace. He had finished what I had begun. He hit my last tender note. My melodies will live through him. It was time…

 

Time to join my wife and brother once again at… THE PIANO

 

 

 

As I sit in the spotlight on my grand piano I play the first few notes of a song I wrote for, my now deceased wife, Emily.

Every time I play this song flashbacks and memories fill my mind as it is very special to I. Weather those memories happy or sad I shall keep them for life. I forever will remember my wife Emily even though I know she is in a better place.

 As my fingers gently glide across the piano I know Emily Is here with me in spirit playing like we used to on this grand ornate instrument. I know how she fades away in these times of my memories but I will never forget my beautiful wife, Emily.

Suddenly these memories trigger other memories locked inside my head about how I lost my best friend in war as a soldier. Running to support him I pressed myself against this battered brick wall. Even though I had run my fastest I had ever run…it was too late to stop him from turning into the battlefield which sounded like an orchestra of gun shots. Bang dead on the floor he lay. I could feel him slipping out of my life. I ran away so I wouldn’t get shot like my best friend. I had never felt so powerless! We had been friends since the age of 5 (toddlers).

Another memory flings to my mind as that word toddler appears in my head. As a toddler I was taken good care of well fed and a nice family. Not a surprise back then was the best day of my life when I got a gift of a toy hobby horse. Excitement filled my bod and with this I felt anything was possible.

Full of hopes and dreams I one day felt I would travel the world on that hobby horse… but back then I had no idea about the cruel future that lay ahead of me but when receiving this gift I got words that I would never forget “special gift for a special boy”.

As I sit on the piano by myself, myself, myself I slowly but surely finish the notes of the song. My grandson calls me and I turn around only to see my grandson playing on the wooden hobby horse. It may not be the same clothes as I had but that doesn’t matter. I just hope he has the same dreams as I had as a child.

As I play the last few keys on this grand ornate piano my fingers go across the piano as in the air I taste a trickle of the past.

As we finish the last few keys we look up and smile at each other and then I get this thought. What if I am a good grandad? What if my grandson wants to be just like me?

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