Harriette tinkered away at the keys on her keyboard. She had been studying for months, almost obsessively. She had studied the pages relentlessly. She knew where to put her hands, how to determine a note from the style of the symbol and the line it was on, and which finger should play the note. She researched the best place to sit in relation to the keyboard, how far away her limbs should be and what angle was the best for her forearms. It was so complicated but she had stayed determined. Right now, she was concentrating so hard that the middle of her forehead crinkled up like a Shar pei, her lips pursed tight to one side and her teeth clenched together as if superglued shut.
C C C, next ones a G, A A, another G, two Es, two Ds, a C. She sang the notes in her head as she played them.
She tried the whole thing altogether once more: CCC G AA G EE DD C.
Harriette was stunned. She had mastered it. Perfect practise and slow progress had led to this moment, and she was in awe of herself. She had put everything together; the reading of the notes, the positioning of her fingers, and the rhythm of the tune all at the same time. Harriette’s musicality knew no bounds, she felt.
A vision of herself, centre stage in the Sydney Opera house, emerged. Harriette could see the silhouette of herself sat at a grand piano, spotlight shining down on her. She was wearing a glittering black dress and her hair fell in marcel waves. Her eyes closed in sheer abandonment of everything but the music and the emotion of the music her own slender fingers were creating. She played faster and faster and her sleek hair began to fall out of place. Harriette’s hands raced up and down the piano at such a speed they were a blur, and the keys bounced back up again immediately, ready to take another pounding. They were her minions. It was as if Beethoven was reincarnate in her, and the final note was the most dramatic. She stood up from the piano and the crowd screamed in adoration. They threw roses and teddies and underwear. One person tried to climb on stage with her but her entourage stopped them.
As her daydream reached full fruition, Harriette’s mother burst through the door. Her face looked red from exasperation. As Harriette came out of her reverie she realised she was drooling, and she quickly wiped away her saliva and waited for her mother to speak.
“If I hear you play Old MacDonald one more time on that fucking keyboard I am switching the electric off!”.