Saturday, 11 July 2009

Saturday Wordzzle

It's time for a wordzzle, curtesy of Raven's Nest

Words to include: Sober, knight, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard, economy, ladder, Micheal Jackson, spoilage

The Hands Remember

Miss Krupskaya, alone in her sober black dress, sits down at the piano. The daylight is fading but that does not matter as her sight is going anyway. A single naked lightbulb dangles from the ceiling of her one-room apartment. She has removed the lampshade to get more light, but the growing darkness cannot be held back by mere electricity, tungsten and glass.

Downstairs, Mr Zimmerman the drugstore owner, is selling a face-cream enriched with blueberries to an owl-faced woman. The economy may be bad, but there's always money for face-cream it seems.

Miss Krupskaya's fingers rest lightly on the keyboard and instinctively find their proper place. For a moment, she remembers the old days, the crowds, the flowers, the whirlwind concert tours. How she had scrambled up the ladder of fame and fortune! At her peak, she had commanded five-figure fees, had been courted by film-stars, oil magnates and at least one knight of the realm. Oh well, you know what they say: laugh and the world laughs with you, but it's the second half of that saying that bites. As time went on, the bookings became fewer, the phone rang less often, the gentlemen's attentions went elsewhere. She slipped imperceptibly into the persona on the discreet brass plaque beside the door to Zimmerman's: Miss Ylena Krupskaya. Piano Tutor. The last pupil had departed years since.

Downstairs, a kid whistling a Michael Jackson tune comes into the drugstore and asks if there's anything going cheap. Mr Zimmerman mutely points to a shelf of goods Reduced to Clear because of spoilage.

Miss Krupskaya's old eyes can no longer follow the neat structure of printed music but that doesn't matter. Her fingers begin to dance over the yellow ivory. E, E flat, E, E flat, the opening notes of Fur Elise float up into the evening air. The hands remember, as she used to tell her pupils. The hands remember.

Downstairs, Mr Zimmerman and the Reduced to Clear kid look up as the music floats down to them. Zimmerman's lined face crinkles in a smile: Miss K plays at this time every day and he looks forward to it. The kid, never having troubled to become acquainted with music older than himself, looks baffled, without a clue.

Upstairs, Miss Krupskaya is once again playing at Carnegie hall.


  1. Beautiful! My hands unfortunately seem to have forgotten a good deal, which I find very frustrating. Miss K. will have to have a talk with them. There's a gentle tenderness in the way you write that I find deeply touching. I'm so glad you've joined the wordzzle gang.

  2. @Raven - my hands too are a bit amnesiac LOL. It's funny how just a couple of the wordzzle words can generate a story. In this case, it was keyboard and lampshade. Suddenly, the whole room with Miss K in it, Zimmerman and all the rest just flowed out. I can't think why I have not played before!

  3. Well written
    Welcome to the group.
    You brought life to your characters.

  4. What is a wordzzle? You make up a story containing all the words you have been handed?
    That's clever and fun; I like your story.

  5. Wonderful! Miss K still has her memories and the joy of still being able to play. I really enjoyed your wordzzle and am looking forward to more. :)

  6. This is a lovely piece of writing. I like the way you took us back and forth between the two scenes.

    I took piano lessons as a kid, but hated them. As an adult, for a short time, I became interested in piano again. Fur Elise was the music I wanted to relearn. Once I mastered it, I lost interest again.

  7. Well... you did it again! Some magical writing.. I love all the characters you create, I can see everything in technicolour... :-)
    The look on that kid's face is priceless!

  8. @Dr J – Thanks. I'll be dropping by your place soon.

    @Friko – Yes, the idea is to use the set words to create a coherent little piece. Check out Raven's page (the link is at the top of my post).

    @Akelmalu – Thank you for your kind words and I shall be playing again soon.

    @CJ – I didn't start piano until I was in my 20s. I was never great at it but enjoyed and still play now and then.

    @Watercats – Yes, let's hope the kid will be inspired to find out more about music, but I doubt he will, the dumbass.

  9. Fantastic picture you create here - love the different ways the people react to the music

    I've always wanted to play The Entertainer or a bit of blues piano meself - but still don't know the way to carniegie hall

  10. I was captivated by the character in this story. In spite of her melancholy, Ms. K has not faded into obscurity. Mr. Zimmerman looks forward to her evening concerts and she plays for the sheer joy of playing. Such tenderness in your writing. Brought back many memories for me.

  11. @DFTP - I've never got as far as learning the Entertainer either. I am the pianistic equivalent of the 3 chord guitar player.

    @gabrielle - Thanks for the feedback. I should maybe continue Miss K's story. Why did she end up with no money in a one-room flat? Maybe one day that tale will be told.

  12. I enjoyed reading your story. It was a little sad, but the woman seems happy with her memories. I also liked last week's Wordzzle story about the little boy and his mother, and the separate story a few weeks ago about the elf and the orc.

    Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

  13. @Stephen - thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying my stuff. I'm just about ot head over to your place now...

  14. Brilliant! LOVED IT..:-)
    Greetings from Sandy Eggo!


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