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Crystal Folz
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Gypsy Rondo

 

Crystal Folz

 

 

 

     In the front room, three feet from the wall, the polyurethane coating has worn off the hardwood floor—not a large spot, just about the size of a child’s heel. A piano once sat there, a black grand with stiff keys and gold etching above the middle “C”. Kimball.

     Twenty years ago, a girl sat behind the piano every afternoon for two hours; the first hour, required studies; the second hour, free play. Sometimes she would turn the knob on the timer, playing Hannon finger exercises with one hand to cover the click-click-clicking as she inched the dial towards the second hour.

     She played Haydn’s “Gypsy Rondo” until her fingers held the memory, and her mind was able to wander. On quiet afternoons, she reflected upon her morning in the woods— the creek water slowly rinsing the bank, the clouds chasing each other like lovers amputated at the hip—and kept a mindful tempo. On afternoons when content filled the house, she listened for the bobbing of the needle on her mother’s sewing machine, matching rhythm.

     But most days, she leaned into the piano, back rigid, shoulders hunched, and thumped the keys until her mother’s screaming rampage was deflected from her siblings. Her mother would charge into the large room where the fireplace was never lit because it might leave soot on the furniture, and tug at the drapes that framed the large, welcoming picture windows.

     She would stand next to the piano, salmon-colored cheeks huffing, fingers knotting themselves at her waist, and the girl would say, “I just want to play for you. Sit down. Sit down on the furniture I will never sit upon. Look through the windows at the world I will never experience. Listen.”

     And she would watch the girl’s fingers cross and her wrists slightly turn towards the ceiling, while from memory she began a new song. Her mother would back away towards the Victorian-style loveseat with rose-colored velour fabric, and stare out the picture window, towards the highway which led to places she should never allow her daughter to go.

     The girl would press her heel into the hardwood floor, her fingers keeping a slow, steady, comforting tempo while her heart furiously pounded “The Dance of the Demon”.

 

Crystal Folz lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two children. She works as the bookkeeper for a small Carnegie library. Her work has recently appeared in Gloom Cupboard, Lit Up Magazine, and the Guild of Outsider Writers. Upcoming publications include Six Sentences and Literary Fever.

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