It’s odd how your stature has grown as I dream of you occasionally staring at your yearbook picture. It was only four years ago that I knew you existed, but hadn’t the faintest idea of who you were, anything about your life, why you gave me up, and, therefore who it was I might have been. Now you are a selfless icon, caring more for siblings who needed education, at the immediate cost of your own, a child who needed two parents in a world that frowned deeply on anything less than a pair. Someday soon, I will visit your grave, place a small stone upon your stone, and a kiss, the closest I can ever hope, ever dream to coming to the face of my mother.
You should walk slowly, measure each step, insure your foot is in deep contact with the earth before giving its partner freedom, only to fall victim, in turn, to gravity. Steady your pace until it merges into your breath and the silence deafens you.
Mrs. Schwarting lived in a small cottage. Mrs. Schwarting taught piano in her living room. Mrs. Schwarting had no first name, even checks were to be made payable to “Mrs. Schwarting.” Mrs. Schwarting grew suddenly old, some said, to fully fit into her name, no one could remember her ever being young. Mrs. Schwarting said I must always find Middle C, that everything starts there. Mrs. Schwarting was not pleased when I said that Middle C was key number 40 on my piano of the 88 that I carefully counted, and there was no middle key, only a gap between E4 and F4. Mrs. Schwarting looked at me sternly and ended my lesson early that day. Mrs. Schwarting was a great teacher. I think of her each time I sit down and place the djembe between my knees.