Emma

Winter came and I devoted myself to the piano. One day, Charles sat by and listened.

“Wonderful! Don’t stop – you’re doing so well.”

It was the fourth time I had played the piece, each repeat more hopeless than the last. Charles could be so oblivious.

I tilted my head in a gesture of appreciation. “It was terrible, you can be honest.”

Charles laughed. “Talented and modest.”

The following day, he returned from work humming to himself. He swept me up in a waltz and guided up to the piano. “Play something for me, darling.”

I sat at the keys and stroked them uncertainly. Then I played the same tune as before, this time with more emphatic blunders.

“Muddling Mozart,” he said.

I hit the keys at random and slumped forward. “I need lessons. Do you think $50 a session is too much?”

“It is quite dear.” Charles scratched his chin. “We could probably find something cheaper for you. You know, a lot of lesser known musicians are very talented.”

“Like who?”

My husband frowned and stood up. “They’re out there.”

Charles came home every day to find me tinkling. On one occasion I sighed loudly enough for him to hear from the next room. He walked in.

“I was at Barfucheres today. Mrs Liegard told me her daughters have piano tuition for only $10 an hour. I asked her to write the number for me – ” Charles reached into his pocket for a note. I snatched it from him.

“That deaf old sod! Only students charge those prices. See,” I pointed to the email address scrawled on the paper. “It says VCA here. I bet this one hasn’t even studied Liszt yet, let alone how to teach.”

Charles put his hand in his pockets. “You can be quite stubborn sometimes.”

               I sulked all weekend. Then the phone rang and I heard Charles greeting Uncle Gus, a charming and talented professor of chemistry who’d kiss my hand at every family function. I saw my opportunity and leapt onto the piano. I started by playing a delicate sonata, crescendoed neatly and just as the energy of my performance was peaking, fumbled horribly and halted, letting the silence ring out. Charles was quiet for a moment and I wondered if he was still on the phone. Then I heard him say, “Well I suppose an extra hundred a week isn’t too hard on the budget. You really think she’s got something?” God bless Uncle Gus.

               Eventually Charles brought up the piano when we were getting into bed.

“Listen Emma, about the piano lessons –”

“Oh Charles, I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano and I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

 “I was going to say that I think we can afford a few lessons.”
He was  breaking.

“I’m afraid they really arent effective unless they’re regular.”

“Tell you what. I’ll do overtime. I’ll pick up a few more patients. And you can have your tuition, twice weekly.”

I threw myself around him and squeezed him tight, knowing that soon it would be the body of my lover, not Charles, in my arms.

 

Charles

 

Winter time came around and Emma spent evenings with her piano. One night she played the same piece four times over, sighing and fretting after each play.

I sat not far away and said, “You’re sounding so good, don’t stop!”

“I sound terrible.”

“I think you sound find,” I said.

The next day I asked her to play for me again, an attempt to cheer her up.

When she did, I had to admit it was a little clumsy.

“Charles, I need lessons.” She bit her lip. “I know they’re dear but – ”

“How much?”

“$50 a session.”

I straightened up to disguise my surprise. “Maybe we can find something cheaper. A lot of lesser known trainers are very talented.”

She looked doubtful but smiled bravely. “Okay, we’ll shop around.”

I bumped into Mrs. Liegard the following day. She asked after Emma and I told her about the little phase my wife was going through. Liegard said her daughters took lessons for only $10 a session, and I asked her to write the tutor’s contact details down for me. When I presented it to Emma, she brisked and took the note.

“It says VCA here,” she said. “This tutor is a college student, probably a first year. How old are Liegard’s daughters now?”

“Twelve and seven,” I said.

“I guess they haven’t been playing very long.”

Emma didn’t open the piano for a while and it broke my heart to see the way she’d glance at it, sulking through the house. I was on the phone with Uncle Gus when she finally returned to it.

“What is that delightful sound?” he cooed. 

“It’s my wife,” I said.

“She is talented. Is she having lessons?”

I told him no.

“You stingy bastard,” he said. “Do yourself a favour and buy her a course for Valentine’s Day.”

Uncle Gus was right. The distance between Emma and I was widening every night. She had come up against a wall, and seemed to anguish over the now silent piano. I brought it up one night as we prepared for bed.

“Listen Emma, about your lessons –”

“Charles,” she interrupted. “I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano. Then I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

“I did our budget yesterday, and I think we can afford a few lessons for you.”

“Oh Charles, you’re so sweet. But they’d really be no use unless they were regular. It’s like going to the gym, you know.”

I hated to see her big eyes sad. I pulled her into my arms. “I’ll pick up a few more patients,” I said. “I’ll do overtime.”

She threw arms around me and I held her close for the rest of the night. 

Instructor Response

Emma

Winter came and I devoted myself to the piano. One day, Charles sat by and listened.

“Wonderful! Don’t stop – you’re doing so well.”

It was the fourth time I had played the piece, each repeat more hopeless than the last. Charles could be so oblivious.

I tilted my head in a gesture of appreciation. “It was terrible, you can be honest.”

Charles laughed. “Talented and modest.”

The following day, he returned from work humming to himself. He swept me up in a waltz and guided up to the piano. “Play something for me, darling.”

I sat at the keys and stroked them uncertainly. Then I played the same tune as before, this time with more emphatic blunders.

“Muddling Mozart,” he said.

I hit the keys at random and slumped forward. “I need lessons. Do you think $50 a session is too much?”

“It is quite dear.” Charles scratched his chin. “We could probably find something cheaper for you. You know, a lot of lesser known musicians are very talented.”

“Like who?”

My husband frowned and stood up. “They’re out there.”

Charles came home every day to find me tinkling. On one occasion I sighed loudly enough for him to hear from the next room. He walked in.

“I was at Barfucheres today. Mrs Liegard told me her daughters have piano tuition for only $10 an hour. I asked her to write the number for me – ” Charles reached into his pocket for a note. I snatched it from him.

“That deaf old sod! Only students charge those prices. See,” I pointed to the email address scrawled on the paper. “It says VCA here. I bet this one hasn’t even studied Liszt yet, let alone how to teach.”

Charles put his hand in his pockets. “You can be quite stubborn sometimes.”

I sulked all weekend. Then the phone rang and I heard Charles greeting Uncle Gus, a charming and talented professor of chemistry who’d kiss my hand at every family function. I saw my opportunity and leapt onto the piano. I started by playing a delicate sonata, crescendoed neatly and just as the energy of my performance was peaking, fumbled horribly and halted, letting the silence ring out. Charles was quiet for a moment and I wondered if he was still on the phone. Then I heard him say, “Well I suppose an extra hundred a week isn’t too hard on the budget. You really think she’s got something?” God bless Uncle Gus.

Eventually Charles brought up the piano when we were getting into bed.

“Listen Emma, about the piano lessons –”

“Oh Charles, I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano and I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

 “I was going to say that I think we can afford a few lessons.”
He was  breaking.

“I’m afraid they really arent effective unless they’re regular.”

“Tell you what. I’ll do overtime. I’ll pick up a few more patients. And you can have your tuition, twice weekly.”

I threw myself around him and squeezed him tight, knowing that soon it would be the body of my lover, not Charles, in my arms.

 

Well done. I like the way you’ve made it your own and accomplished all the assignment asked. When writing your fiction, think of similar possibilities to achieve what you want for your readers.

 

Charles

 

Winter time came around and Emma spent evenings with her piano. One night she played the same piece four times over, sighing and fretting after each play.

I sat not far away and said, “You’re sounding so good, don’t stop!”

“I sound terrible.”

“I think you sound find,” I said.

The next day I asked her to play for me again, an attempt to cheer her up.

When she did, I had to admit it was a little clumsy.

“Charles, I need lessons.” She bit her lip. “I know they’re dear but – ”

“How much?”

“$50 a session.”

I straightened up to disguise my surprise. “Maybe we can find something cheaper. A lot of lesser known trainers are very talented.”

She looked doubtful but smiled bravely. “Okay, we’ll shop around.”

I bumped into Mrs. Liegard the following day. She asked after Emma and I told her about the little phase my wife was going through. Liegard said her daughters took lessons for only $10 a session, and I asked her to write the tutor’s contact details down for me. When I presented it to Emma, she brisked and took the note.

“It says VCA here,” she said. “This tutor is a college student, probably a first year. How old are Liegard’s daughters now?”

“Twelve and seven,” I said.

“I guess they haven’t been playing very long.”

Emma didn’t open the piano for a while and it broke my heart to see the way she’d glance at it, sulking through the house. I was on the phone with Uncle Gus when she finally returned to it.

“What is that delightful sound?” he cooed. 

“It’s my wife,” I said.

“She is talented. Is she having lessons?”

I told him no.

“You stingy bastard,” he said. “Do yourself a favour and buy her a course for Valentine’s Day.”

Uncle Gus was right. The distance between Emma and I was widening every night. She had come up against a wall, and seemed to anguish over the now silent piano. I brought it up one night as we prepared for bed.

“Listen Emma, about your lessons –”

“Charles,” she interrupted. “I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano. Then I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

“I did our budget yesterday, and I think we can afford a few lessons for you.”

“Oh Charles, you’re so sweet. But they’d really be no use unless they were regular. It’s like going to the gym, you know.”

I hated to see her big eyes sad. I pulled her into my arms. “I’ll pick up a few more patients,” I said. “I’ll do overtime.”

She threw arms around me and I held her close for the rest of the night. 

 

Yes! Very well done. With lots of bubbling humor and character revelation.

Excellent work.
WHC

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