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Pet Name: Elise743
I closed my eyes as I started to play. I knew this piece by heart; it is my favorite. My fingers moved of their own accord, playing this well-loved melody. I just enjoyed the music, my thoughts drifting away on the notes. I always started practice this way and, as always, the melody ended far too soon.
When I finished, a gentle clapping started. I opened my eyes and found that my mother was sitting in the room with her sketchbook and pencils. She was obviously drawing me.
"Do you remember when I first started you on piano lessons, Elise?" Kristy asked without looking up from the sketchbook.
I simply smiled and turned my music sheet to the piece I needed to rehearse. Of course, I remembered. I would never forget...
It was the Day of Giving, Year 4. I was watching my little sister Chloe open her last gift. The package was a strange, curving shape. It turned out to be a violin. The Blue Grundo grinned and ran over to Kristy, hugging her tight. She had been begging to learn the violin ever since we had gone to a festival in Meridell during the summer. There she had been enchanted by the music of a very talented fiddler.
After Chloe let her go, Kristy stood up and said, "There is one more gift, of course. This one is for Elise."
My three siblings and I looked at the large thing hidden under a tarp. We couldn't imagine what it could be, and Kristy had kept a close eye on us to prevent us from peeking. She grabbed the tarp and pulled it off with a flourish, unveiling a Grand Piano. I was horrified. Why in Neopia had she gotten me a piano?
She was beaming at me; I realized that she thought that I would be overjoyed.
I got up and sat down on the seat in front of it, trying a few keys while I tried to figure out what to say. I wanted art lessons not music lessons. I wanted to sit outside and draw landscapes, not inside practicing scales.
"This is awesome!" Chloe cried. "Now we can play together, Elise."
I smiled and said, "Um, this is interesting. Why a piano?"
"Because I know that you'll love it. You'll be going to lessons twice a week, so it'll be easy. Also, you're getting your art lessons too, so don't get nervous that this is a replacement. I wouldn't do that to you," Kristy reassured me.
I was a little less upset, but not much. I didn't want to be a musician. But, I didn't want to be a spoiled brat either. I decided to give it a chance. Really, though, that was only in thought. I didn't really give it a chance.
Three months went by, and in that time I had pretty much given up on the piano.
I was sitting outside working on a new technique I had learned in art class when Chloe came out. She looked annoyed.
"You're supposed to be practicing," she reminded me. "You promised your teacher you would practice the piano once a day."
"I'm done with the piano," I said as I bent over my page.
"Oh, come on, Elise! You never gave it a chance. It wasn't something you picked so you shot it down the moment you saw it. I saw you do it on the Day of Giving," Chloe accused.
I tried to ignore her; I wanted to believe that I had given it fair chance and that it just wasn't for me. Chloe sighed and washed her hands of me and the piano and went back inside. I sat out there for an hour more. I heard someone coming and I looked up. It was Kristy. I inwardly sighed, certain she was here to send me in to my piano.
"Go inside, brush your hair, and put on your new blue dress," Kristy said.
"Why?" I asked, noticing Kristy's hair was done up and she was wearing a nice dress.
"Because we're going out to dinner," Kristy replied.
I got up and went to do as I was told. When I came downstairs I went into the kitchen to find Kristy serving food.
"I thought we were going out to eat," I said.
My sibs were sitting around the table.
"You two are," Chloe said. "Don't worry about anything, Kristy. Princess and I are big enough to put Bluejay to bed. It's not like you'll be gone all night."
Kristy gave them each a kiss and then picked up her coat and purse off a chair. She took my hand and we left. We walked down into the main part of Neopia Central, to a fancy restaurant there. I was surprised since it wasn't my birthday or any special anniversary or something.
We were shown to a table, where we ordered our meals and then sat in silence. I was sitting across the table from Kristy, and I watched her and tried to figure out what she was up to, but for the first time in my life I couldn't read her.
I had noticed that there was a stage on the other side of the room. The curtain was up and someone had made an announcement, but I had missed what he had said since I had been so focused on Kristy. There was a beautiful Wocky with red curls sitting at a piano up on the stage. I watched her for a moment, but then our food arrived.
As I was taking my first bite, beautiful music started playing. I turned my eyes back to the stage, watching and listening in wonder. I forgot about everything until the melody ended.
"Your food is getting cold," Kristy laughed.
I turned my eyes back to the food and ate it mechanically, never tasting a bite. She was playing again and my sole focus was the music. I was sorry when she was done an hour later. Kristy took my hand as we walked back home.
I looked up at her and asked, "Did you know?"
"I didn't realize pianos were so beautiful," I said with some shame.
"Yes, you did. You just didn't realize you did," Kristy replied.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"All your favorite songs are mainly piano music and you have a good ear for it and excellent taste. I knew that you should play," Kristy explained.
"I'm going to practice really hard now, I promise," I said.
I finished the song perfectly and Kristy looked up.
"Sounds great. Are you ready for tonight?" she asked.
"I hope so," I replied.
I sat down at the piano to play and took a deep breath. Performing in public was nothing new, but this was special. It was ten years to the day in the very restaurant that I had learned to love the piano in. I played as I had never played before for that entire hour, trying to express everything I had felt on that day, so long ago.
When I finished, I got up to take a bow. It was then that I noticed Kristy was there. She was sitting at that same table and across from her was one of my younger sisters. Yanli was the same age I had been that day and she was also learning the piano. I smiled as they clapped for me.
I had no illusions about changing my sister's life, the way mine had been changed that night, but I certainly hoped that she had enjoyed my performance half as much as I had enjoyed playing it.
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