“The piano is ready Mr Thompson” said the Nurse, pushing aside the door to St Micheal’s Residential. Mr Thompson walked in, his hat and his coat already in his hands.
“Is she any better today?” He asked.
“No better, Mr Thompson” Said the Nurse, taking his belongings.
“Well there’s always tomorrow!” He said with a genuine smile. Their conversation was a well rehearsed play between the two of them. Peter, or Mr Thompson to the nursing staff, had been visiting the Residential home for the better part of five years. Every day was the same, at least at some level. There were good days, bad days, but at the very foundation each day had all the same basic elements.
“I’ll bring her over” said the Nurse, hurrying off and leaving Peter to ready himself. First, he set his cane against the piano base, before sitting himself down on the stool. In all these years it was still the same, uncomfortable stool as they’d had from the start. He couldn’t complain though, the Piano had been just a piece of untouched furniture before he had come along. It had been out of tune, and most of the keys hadn’t worked, but with some special love and attention he’d got it working again. Patience was all it took, something he had in abundance. As he was adjusting today’s sheet music, and cracked his fingers ready to begin, the nurse came back with a confused resident in tow.
“Martha” she said quietly, almost whispering into the lady’s ear “This is Mr Thompson. He’s going to play you some music” Martha looked up at Mr Thompson; she seemed startled, like an injured animal hearing a human voice. Her nerves and fear twitching almost every muscle of her body. She looked back at the nurse, clearly unwilling to stay.
“I’m also going to sing, if that’s ok with you Martha” Said Peter, his wide smile stretching across his wrinkled face. It was the kind of smile which really was contagious; it showed just how pure the man and his intentions were. With a little encouragement, from both the nurse and a winning smile, Martha sat down on a seat next to Peter.
“This is an old one” He said carefully, adjusting his glasses so he could read the sheet. He didn’t need them, he could play without, but he found it helped to relax people. “It’s just music, but hopefully you know it”
As Peter played, Martha calmed. Peter noted that her body had relaxed almost completely as the first song came to a close. Be it the music, the atmosphere, or even his company, Martha’s nerves and twitches had been cured. He smiled to himself as he completed the song.
“Great!” He said, looking over at his listener, “Did you enjoy that one?”
Martha nodded, her smaller, tighter smile reflecting back in his.
“Ok, well I’m going to try another. Again, it’s an old one, but this time I’m going to attempt to sing. I’m warning you in advance!” He laughed. Martha laughed silently to his side.
His fingers struck the keys slowly, a slower paced tune than before, and with impressive tenor Mr Thompson began to sing. He didn’t sing as loudly as he could, but he sang as passionately as his heart would allow. He made sure his song purely for Martha, and that she knew he was singing only to her. She began to cry, but her smile didn’t fade; instead it grew. Mr Thompson watched as she tried to handle joy, confusion, and disbelieve all at once and, as he did, he began to cry too.
“Peter?” Said the lady, when the song was over, her voice trembling as she spoke.
“It’s Me, Martha” He said, his smile broader than ever, “It’s Peter”
“That was beautiful” She managed to say, wiping away the tears. “Just like our first dance… But Peter, where have you been all this time?”
“Oh you know me” he said with a forced laugh. “I’m always around somewhere. Come, less of that. Let’s sing together”
And together they sang as they did every day; their voices full of love and compassion. They shared the same uncomfortable stool, they played separate halves of the piano, and they sang until the room was alive with their love. Today was one of the better days.