Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Clair Fair

 ‘Rapture.  As a noun meaning delight.’
Clair thought to herself as her fingers flew over the piano keys as if she didn’t guide them. 
‘Delight as a noun meaning enjoyment, ecstasy, enchantment, contentment, joyance, relish, which leads back to rapture.’ 
Since Clair discovered the piano and the joy inherit in this instrument that could whisper and yell, sigh and resonate, she spent her spare time trying to find the word that defined the sublime elation that filled her when she played.  She searched thesauruses, other languages, symbols, whatever she could get her hands on.  But not a single word alone described this feeling of release and bliss that she experienced while she played.  So her mind would string together all of these words to try and express what was being experienced.
‘Bliss, as a noun meaning ecstasy, euphoria, felicity, heaven, paradise, which leads back to rapture.’
She was playing Mozart’s piano concerto no. 20 in D minor.  It was one of her favorites to practice on at home and loosened her up when she was ready to compose her own works.  No. 20 in D minor was special to her.  This one had been the culmination piece of her first full concert at the age of 15 for a local arts festival.
After her Aunt Mary introduced Clair to the piano it had been the passion of her existence.  She had played throughout middle school with a mix of lessons with her Aunt Mary and whoever was available.  When she had entered high school, Clair had applied for a work-study program that allowed her to spend fewer hours at school and more time practicing her instrument.  Her dedication had been noticed by several of the local musicians as Aunt Mary had made it her job to find teachers that could operate at the level that Clair had reached and could carry her beyond.
That had been when she had met Edwina Powell.  Edwina was a large maternal woman with dubious ethnicity.  She was dark in coloring with her black hair and dark brown eyes.  But it was her tan skin tone that made it very hard to place her into any particular race. Edwina had been teaching pianoforte for 15 years in the small high school in Taos New Mexico.  It wasn’t until you went to her home for private lessons did you see the fruits of a 20 year long professional classical pianist career.  She had played everywhere, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Sydney, Paris, Japan.  Her walls were lined with accolades and world championships.
The day Clair had met Edwina had changed the course of her life.  Before that day, Clair had believed that she would not be able to become a professional artist.  She was told by school counselors and most other adults that choosing to become a professional artist was foolish and would not support her well. Everyone agreed with exception of her Aunt Mary and her mother who had both encouraged Clair to follow her passion and to ignore the call of material wealth in lieu of happiness. Still Clair had been undecided until she had her first meeting with Edwina Powell.
The first meeting had been at Clair’s home with her mother and aunt.  Ms. Powell had walked in like a ruling queen.  Her stature had been perfect, her clothing, hair and makeup immaculate. She had asked for Aunt Mary to leave so that she and Clair could speak privately.
The woman had instructed Clair to sit at her piano and then circled her seemingly looking for deficiencies.
“Clair.” She stated clearly in a Spanish accented, deep feminine voice. “That is not your full name.”
The woman waited a moment or two and then continued. “Clair is short for something, what is your full name, as it is written on your birth certificate.”
Clair had hesitated, hating what she was about to say out loud. “It’s” she paused taking a long labored breath. “Clairvoyance”, she sighed, “Clairvoyance Olivia Warren.”
The woman only stared pointedly at Clair, “This shame’s you.” She stated. “It is empowerment, a characteristic that is unique only to you.  You should embrace this name of yours.”
Moving to stand next to Clair she stared pointedly at the instrument before them both. “Does this shame you as well?”
Clair turned to her quickly denial in her heart. “No, there’s nothing embarrassing about a piano, or playing it.”
The woman sat next to Clair at the bench. “What is this instrument to you?”
Clair thought about it long and hard staring at the instrument in question.  Softly she ran her fingers over a few keys and the day her Aunt Mary introduced her to it flashed starkly in her mind.  Her entire body was filled with the euphoria that had started that day.  Her Aunt’s words ringing in her ears, ‘this does not care what color you are, it only knows music, it only knows joy.’ With that fresh in her mind, Clair had answered Ms. Powell with the only word that had summed it all up for her.
“Freedom.”

Ms. Powell had nodded. “You’ll do Clairvoyance.”

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