I’m 7, and I’m in the biggest room I have ever seen. There are rows and rows of chairs, and people in every seat. The lights begin to dim, and Mom, Dad and Jon are in the seats next to me. A hush comes over the crowd, bright lights light up a stage far in front of us, I see someone pull out a pair of little gold binoculars, and someone on a piano begins to fill the air with sounds like the twinkling of stars in my backyard.
I know its a piano because my mom has one at home. She plays music and we dance. Me, Michelle, Jon, and Adam. I teach Adam to dance because he is a baby, and babies need help to dance. Michelle spins in circles with her head tilted back and her arms out wide, and I don’t know where Jon went because he’s the oldest and he’s always disappearing on adventures. Mom plays, and we sing along because we know the songs.
I don’t remember ever not having a piano, but I remember the day we brought it home. It came on the back of a pickup truck that Dad was driving. He and a man had strapped it into the bed of the truck and covered it with a blanket. It was raining. They pulled it up the two concrete steps, and through our front door. Swirly dark brown wood, cream colored keys, some smooth, some rough. A mouse lived inside. We would open the doors on the front of the piano and try to see it to catch it. our knees on the keys moved things inside that looked like ducks’ heads. The duck heads hit thick long strings. The sound was always louder with our heads inside watching.
Dad says that was the best show he’s ever seen in his life, he goes on and on about Donny Osmond, and we have to get the CD. It’s dark outside, and there are lots of lights shinning down from the overhang of the theater. We stand in an alley next to a bus and wait to try to see my cousin Angela, who was in the play, before we leave.
Michelle and Adam didn’t come, they are too young and wouldn’t be able to remember it tomorrow anyhow. Mom and Dad left them at home with a babysitter instead. They cried for being left, but they probably didn’t know why.
Every once in a while Mom and Dad leave us all with a baby sitter, and we don’t cry because we are having too much fun being crazy. Jon is a dinosaur and we run around the table in the front room with the piano. We yell and scream, and chase and run. And the babysitter closes her eyes tight and covers her ears with her hands. Someone runs into the bowl of popcorn on the floor and popcorn flies everywhere. And now the babysitter is screaming and we scatter down the hallway and into the kitchen away from her. This is our favorite part, when the babysitter goes crazy. Its funny because she’s a grown up, and we torment her. She tries to put us to bed, but we sneak out and run around the house. For a while she catches us and brings us back to our rooms, but when she gets tired she sits on the couch with her knees to her head and doesn’t even try anymore. We know its far past our bedtime. I curl up in bed because I’m tired from all the running and screaming, and as I’m drifting off to sleep I hear the soft pitter patter of Adam’s little feet darting back down the tile hall way toward the front room.