176 JULY/AUGUST 2017 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
(continued from page 170)
He sits down, places his hands on
the keys, and launches into the sonata’s
opening. For a few measures, the melody
is bright and true. But then his left hand
trips and his right hand loses its certainty.
The notes clash, and then stop entirely.
“My hands don’t play together anymore,” he tells me.
Or maybe all three. Regardless, I tried to
ask him why he was crying, if I should
be crying. And as I climbed to the top
of my hill, as Kurt Cobain yelled about
entertainers, as I felt shards of glass in my
stomach, the questions finally became
too much. So I accepted the gray and
noticed that it had started to rain. n
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
(continued from page 171)
to New Delhi, where my dad was born
and raised. I learned how to ski and drive
here, how to use a cash register and play
competitive volleyball. Here I see the
other side of the scale, what comfort
and abundance look like compared with
the poverty of developing countries. I am
also from Maryland.
After hours of lying awake on the first
night of camp, I fell asleep with one conclusion. I don’t want to be a person who
defines herself by the address of her current house. I see no borders; home cannot be confined to one address, one city,
one country, one continent. I thrive on
diversity and compassion, on new experiences and different perspectives. Whatever I end up doing in life, I hope I will
be able to satiate this desire, because I
am a mosaic of past experiences. In the
future, I hope the question “Where are
you from?” never fails to make me pause
and reflect on the different pieces of the
mosaic, of me. n
I marvel at the unique cruelty of his illness, which doesn’t even spare the music.
He lifts his fingers off of the keys,
pauses, and looks at me.
“You don’t have to play Mozart the
same way that everyone else does. That’s
what I want to tell you about music.”
I realize that this is how we say good-
bye. He doesn’t need me to talk. He just
wants to encourage me one final time.
He stands up from the piano bench,
gesturing for me to take his seat.
“Now play,” he says. n