Arriving at the hotel to sign in I noticed directly ahead stands a piano resting in all it's majestic splendor. The invitation is out. Coming back to the hotel after the first day touring Copenhagen, seeing the sculpture of the Little Mermaid, visiting the National Art Gallery that piano sat there flirting with me.
After two years of lessons I now can chord a number of songs. I brought two pieces of music to practice on the pretend piano in my head. Yet here is a real piano just waiting to be played. I could not resist. Counting out loud "one and, two and", I did not want people in the lobby thinking I could seriously play piano.
And so it began, each afternoon after touring the city, there was the piano waiting -- just for me. On the second afternoon several people sat close by. In the middle of playing "one and, two and" then plunk, plunk I thought how boring for them and for me. So I tried a song, singing and then humming softly, very softly chording to a little Nora Jones, Johnny Cash -- allowing myself to relax, a little.
After the third day of playing, I went out in the court yard (just off the lounge) to do some writing. This woman looked up from her wine and asked if I was the piano player. Answering with a quiet, little yes, I emphasized "just practicing." She told me she enjoyed it. I wondered if she detected the shock on my face. After a little chat, she and her husband asked me for supper. With more confidence. I went back to my room and wrote out a few favorite songs for my next "practice".
By Sunday, coming back from breakfast and feeling bolder, I could not pass that piano without playing something. Again starting with "one and, two and" I could feel all these fun songs waiting. The foot tapping "Five Foot Two" was begging to be played (the song I messed up in my first music concert three months ago**) and there were others bubbling up behind it. Letting my music-joy take over I could feel these "Boots (music-notes) Are Made For Walking", then came the zippy, little foot- tapping "Five Foot Two" and there, flying in on the wings of feeling came "Some bright morning...I'll Fly Away". Changing pace, I closed my eyes and swayed to the plight of the "Lonesome Whippoorwill" who truly sounds too blue to fly.
"This Train Is Bound For Glory" followed and, indeed, I had arrived. With my musical deficiencies I certainly was "no high flyer, no mid night rambler," but changing octaves, adding some of my teacher's new "fancies", runs and pick-up notes -- I was in love, joy and fun. Glancing sideways I noticed an audience. Unlike freezing at the concert, I didn't care. I was just feeling the music -- a little soft rhythm, a smart, racy-beat. And a brand new feeling, I am one of those "piano-bar players" like in the movies. (The bar was only ten feet away.)
Next morning a young man passed me as I was starting my exploration of the city for the day. He turned and said, "Your music in the lounge and your playing are lovely." I walked away thinking,
he repeated the word "lovely", twice! He is right, I had felt lovely. I thanked him.
This morning I am leaving for home. My map of Copenhagen is criss-crossed with yellow high-lighter. I have been where I wanted to go. In the taxi to the airport I feel the gratitude for the hard work of it, the cultural education and even for surviving the countless bicycles one had to dodge at every corner. Through the week, I had muffed some chords, missed some singing notes, forgot some lyrics but when I lost myself in the music it didn't matter, that piano had ridden me to glory. I had discovered a part of myself that felt totally new. I had been a "piano-bar player" in Copenhagen for a week and I loved it.
* A traditional American gospel song first recorded in 1925. It's origins are unknown.
** June 26th writing: : "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it."