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There’s a piece by Schubert that sounds like water. A piano sonata that breaths and ripples as it floats away from the keys. Nelson had memorized every note.

It was the perfect thing to play, on an afternoon like this. The sun hidden behind soggy clouds, the lunch dishes washed and stacked to dry. Maxine at the far end of the table with her coffee and her paper. They had entered the docile half of a Sunday. And so Nelson played Schubert.

The familiar notes rolled out from under his fingers. Sometimes bold. Sometimes timid, almost… like the breath before crying. Then bold again. Like another lazy afternoon, now years in the distance. A rented boat and her new hat. And a sort of anxiety it would take him years to describe.

A trill and a run that runs out of steam at the top. Like a cartoonman over the cliff. You only fall when you realize you’re off the edge. A persistent build to a descending line. And she was so beautiful. Is. But the moments, then, were so fleeting.

The water melody smoothes out again. Rain started to tap upon panes. And Nelson played on.

Maxine glanced over the edge of her newspaper to see him tum-drumbaling along the edge of the table, head gently bobbing with the recording.

“You don’t play piano,” she said, pushing the gray out of her eyes.

Nelson nodded, grinning to himself, “Doesn’t matter.”

 

***

The piece is Schubert’s “Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 3 in G flat major.”

Here’s a link my favorite recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03F-_c3FHtw

 

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