There is a pause. You consider what I’ve said,
then you begin playing Für Elise. I am lonely
in a way no nearness can alter. The first lines
are so well known they grow eerie. You are learning
again or teaching yourself to play the entire
piece. You harbor it in your wrists; intermittently
all day you’ve returned to the piano. I’ve noticed
from another room, imagined peeling apples,
solving a math problem. Now I sit facing away,
the better to listen to you and the crickets—we left
the door ajar. We are finished arguing for now
and carry the rift between us like a blanket we want
to fold. When you reach the next page, the sounds
become unfamiliar. I ask if you have started
something else altogether. You look back, tell me
no, it gets darker. I should walk out to latch our gate
for the night, but I sit and listen. I don’t know
enough to detect errors. And if you play haltingly,
I am more convinced. I’ve failed you many times,
but you rarely accuse me of anything. Yesterday,
when I said your way wouldn’t be right for me
I meant nothing to do with morals, but my nature
is strange. Knowledge doesn’t soothe me. I think
you are so full of light that sometimes you fail
to notice this or want to mend what isn’t
broken. You stop and repeat a line. Study the keys
in silence, repeat it again. I would rather hear this
than any recording, I must tell you. We always
remember differently.


From Confrontation 118.