And, In The End, The Love You Take,
is Equal to the Love You Make. – Paul McCartney
Bowing his head in a drizzling rain that was beginning to turn to snow, the man walked slowly across the hospital’s frigid parking lot. In the crook of one arm he was cradling a small pot of African violets, which had been his mother’s favorite flower. He had donated the rest of the plants and floral arrangements to the hospital’s cancer wing, as she had requested. He also carried a canvas bag full of cards that had been displayed on his mother’s bed-side table, the majority of them from people to whom she’d given piano lessons. In addition to the hand-written messages of affection and concern, her former students had also expressed gratitude; they thanked her for guiding them faithfully into the other-worlds of music, and for helping them decipher its language.
Remembering the gleaming, well-polished piano that sat by the bay window in her dining room, the man could easily envision his mother seated at its bench beside one of the many kids she’d taught. Endlessly patient, she would gently show the anxious young striver where to place their fingers on the keys and how to move them across the keyboard, occasionally reaching up to flip through the pages of the sheet music. Over time, a melody would emerge from the student’s hesitant, awkward plunkings, taking flight like the proverbial butterfly released from its drab cocoon.
Shivering as he arrived at his car, the man unlocked it and leaned over to place the violets and the canvas bag on the front seat; it wasn’t until he climbed in behind the wheel that he saw an odd gap appear in the roiling, slate-gray ceiling of the sky. Beyond it, he caught a glimpse of hazy winter’s sunlight as the circular opening widened, seeming to admit a spiraling column of sparkling, wind-swept snow. Instinctively murmuring a soft goodbye, the man watched until the clouds rolled forward again, closing slowly over the opening like a celestial gate.