This time her teacher was Mr. Solomon, rumored to be a former concert pianist, a rumpled man with wild grey hair, who always wore a plaid shirt, tuxedo trousers held up by red suspenders and house slippers. He lived and taught from his second-floor flat. One entered directly into the kitchen. To the right was (presumably) the bedroom, which had a flowered curtain panel in place of a door. Straight ahead, the living room which held two grand pianos, two piano stools, a small armchair and stacks and stacks and stacks of music on the two pianos, on the small table, and even on the floor.
Mr. Solomon’s students did not give recitals. Or if they did, She was never invited to participate. The scales were still a part of her regime, but there were more pieces to learn, pieces found within the buff-colored covers of the Schirmir’s Library of Musical Classics series. One of her earliest assignments was Beethoven’s Fur Elise. Although the tune is simplistic, its one virtue was that She could schmaltz it up.
Although She didn’t particularly like playing the piano for the music, she did like playing it for the emotion it evoked within her. Soft notes were played with her fingertips barely touching the keys. Chords were played so loudly her hands would hurt. And when a passage moved her, She would bend towards the piano and sway from side to side. She would have closed her eyes as well, but she had trouble memorizing the music. When She performed thusly at her piano lessons, Mr. Solomon would tiptoe into his kitchen and return with a small glass of amber-colored liquid in his hand.
“For my sore throat,” he would say. That man did have a lot of colds.
Very often in mid-lesson, he would stop her attempts at music and say, “Why don’t I play something for you instead? You can turn the pages.”
He would sit down at his piano, and music poured out effortlessly. She would try to follow the notes as best she could, but usually ended up daydreaming or looking out the window only to be brought back by Mr. Solomon’s, “Turn the page. Turn the page.”
She might have gone on like this for years had not Mr. Solomon called her mother. “Save your money. Save my time. Stop the lessons.”
And that was the end of that. She never played the piano again. The world is a better place for it.