(This is the serial release of the book available at Amazon Hello, My Name is Phillip. Available in paperback and kindle formats. You are invited to share the book! Join here as Phillip awakens the day after getting home from his first piano lesson.)
The man in the car had come home. I could feel it in the house. When I woke up, I heard the yelling downstairs. It made me not want to get out of bed or leave the room. So, I didn’t. I just pulled the covers over my head and pretended to still be asleep. It seemed like the black air thickened in the room, so I just started counting.
The lady came into the room later. I still had my head covered.
She peeked and said, “Bet you heard that.”
“I’m sorry, honey. It is a hard situation here. Daddy doesn’t understand what I am telling him about your art or music. He still doesn’t want to believe it. I think it makes him afraid of something, but I don’t know what. He’s gone to stay at his parents for a while until things cool down a bit inside of him. So, I think it will be a bit more pleasant here for a while. Molly is coming today to help paint your room. Remember, we need to paint a white color first to cover over the brown. And then your true colors.”
I couldn’t imagine life without the man here. It sounded like I might like it better since the lady was changing. I was excited to get up now. Downstairs, dressed and having eaten breakfast, the lady said, “Before we paint today, we need spread cloths to completely cover the floor. Molly will be here in about a half hour. How about we set up your keyboard in the living room and you can play on it while Molly and I begin the painting process?”
That sounded like the best idea. In the living room we pulled out the stand and after setting that up, she hefted the keyboard onto it. It was shorter than a piano keyboard, but with the same black and white keys. And above the keyboard all kinds of buttons and switches. A chair from the family room became my piano chair and I sat in front of it. The lady looked at the booklet that came with the keyboard. Then she plugged the keyboard into the wall with a cord.
“Here’s the button you press to turn it on. And these over here, these sliding things, will change the type of sound. Go ahead and press a key and play with what happens to the note with these sliders.”
I pressed middle C and pushed the sliders up and down. One of them made the sound wavy, another made it beat like a drum, another made it sound like it was played on a violin or cello. I loved cellos. Aunt Sarah played one and I heard her play it once a long time ago. That was a blue evening for certain.
“Now, pressing this button chooses the type of piano you are playing. Every push will change it again. Here.” She pressed it, and I played. The keyboard sounded like a really big piano. Then she pressed it again, and it sounded like the notes were inside a bucket. Then again, and the sound changed to a plucking sound.
“And here you have volume and all these over here are other instruments you can add to the piano. I don’t think you can break this just by working with it, so you can experiment. Are you okay if I go get ready for Molly to come?”
I nodded. I had a treasure chest in front of me. Placing my hands on the keyboard, I began to play five-finger patterns. I started with my right thumb on middle C and my left little finger on the C below it. And then I played them up five and down five. Then I decided to play them by pressing the thumb, middle finger and then pinky on the right hand along with the pinky on my left, middle finger and thumb. I liked the way those three sounded together, so I played them all together. Then I went to the D and did the same. I practiced all the five-finger patterns and was playing still when Molly arrived, and the lady and she came into the room.
I looked up. I liked her. She was always nice to me and treated me as if I mattered, kind of like how the lady was starting to treat me. “Well, Maestro,” she said, “I heard you can play the keys! And it sounds like you really can!”
“It’s something Molly. I don’t know how to describe it except like a miracle. Phillip, do you think you could play “Amazing Grace” again for Molly?”
I looked at the keyboard, and then closed my eyes and thought about the tune of the song and saw colors start to emerge as I began to play the notes. It didn’t matter if I looked, I knew that I had begun in the key of D and was changing to G and then back to D. And inside I saw the painting. The scene unfolding of a gentle stream, birds flying in the sky and light. I finished and then looked up. I saw Molly’s hand on her mouth and tears in her eyes, as she stared at me, unbelieving.
“Who knew this was possible?” she stammered and then ran to me and embraced me in the biggest hug ever. I was okay with this. It was Molly. She was allowed.
Had you been there you would have noticed that I kind of disappeared when Molly hugged me. She was a big person, and soft, not crunchy like Grandma Nana but when she hugged me it felt like I was being swallowed by bubble wrap, but better. I could feel her heart beating and it felt like I was being placed inside of a warm, tight, safe place when she hugged me. She released me and said, “As you played, Phillip, as you played that song, I saw colors inside my head, like a painting. It was beautiful. You are beautiful! I’m so glad that I get to be here today. Maybe you can be playing while we paint your room?” I nodded.
The lady hugged me then they went upstairs. I sat back at the keyboard and began to play again. I started with the five-finger scales and then remembered that Maggie had said the scale continues another three notes. I ran out of fingers. I thought about this and noticed I needed three more. So, when I reached my third finger I brought under my thumb on my right hand and brought down my thumb on my left which gave me five more fingers for the rest! I started with C and then moved to G which on the circle of fifths had one sharp. Then I moved around the circle trying to find the notes in each eight-fingered scale.
Then I played other songs that I had heard, “How Great is Our God,” and the songs from the record that Henry had played the other night. The one where all the people were singing hallelujah! And the song when they sang, “He Shall Feed His flock Like a Shepherd.” The music made the room brighter and more beautiful. And I felt that joy inside of me I had felt when Jesus held me. And I was smiling.