I was six when I slipped out of bed in the middle of the night, still sleeping, and crept down the stairs. I stood swaying in front of the piano, my hand reaching for the keys. My mother, used to my brother sleepwalking, stopped me before I made a sound. I have no memory of that night, and yet, I can still feel my yearning as I reached for the piano in the dark.
The next day, Mrs. Bain came for my first lesson. She smelled like lemon drops. I played for hours each day, my feet swinging. Until one day, she leaned over and stilled my legs, telling me I’d need my feet for the pedals and could no longer tap my toes.
“Let’s move the music inside you,” she said and slid the cover over the keys. She had me listen inside myself for the song I’d just played. I giggled, hearing nothing, but she stayed still, waiting. I strained to hear the song within me.
“Can you hear it?” she whispered. “Feel its energy. Let it pulse inside you.” And she waited until music crawled inside me, a spark flaring to life. I smiled and opened my eyes. “I feel it.”
I was ten when I learned how to lull my sister to …