It had been two nights since Dorothy had slept. After discovering her aptitude for music and her history with playing the piano, she was curious. The first night, she tried climbing the attic ladder but felt the way it shook and decided against it. The second night, after the piano had been transferred to its usual home in the living room, she snuck out of her room and gently passed her hands over the keys, lightly touching them but without making noise.
Tonight, however, when she was caressing the keys, she accidently pressed too hard and it reverberated. She closed her eyes and smelled the wood. With her eyes still closed, she sat down on the bench and poised her fingers on the keys without pressing. She felt the urge to play building within her and before she could stop herself, she began playing a song she didn’t know she knew.
Her fingers glided from one side of the piano to the other, without missing a beat. Eyes still closed, she began to sway and hum along with the tune. Instinctively, she placed her feet on the sustain pedal and pushed, blending the melody and harmony to make a beautiful song.
After she had finished the song, she kept her hands on the keys and breathed deeply, feeling whole for the first time since the accident. She didn’t notice her parents standing in the threshold of the living room until she stood up to lie back down in her bed.
“Oh! I’m sorry. Did I wake you both?” Dorothy asked, embarrassed.
She looked from her mother’s face to her father’s, but both were silent.
“Really, I’m sorry. I lost track of time, and I didn’t realize it was,” she looked at the clock, “three in the morning. I’ll go to sleep and not do that again. Promise.”
“Where did you learn to play like that?” her mom asked.
“I – I don’t know. I just played.”
“Yes, but how?”
She didn’t think they could be that dense. “I sat down, put my fingers on the keys, closed my eyes, and played. It’s like I was opening my soul and that was the song that came out. I’m not even sure what it was.”
“Moonlight Sonata,” her dad blurted.
“You used to play that song all the time,” her mom whispered. “It’s beautiful.”
“Thank you. Now, can I please go to bed? It’s quite late.”
“Says the girl who was pounding on keys at three in the morning,” her mom said and playfully shoved her. “Go to sleep.” She turned to Victor. “Do we ground her?”
“Yes,” he said. “Your punishment is that you have to play a song each day until you unlock a memory.” He smiled, and Dorothy relaxed.
“Deal,” she said and went to her bedroom with the feeling that for once, everything will be okay.