Your fingers glide across black and white piano keys, and the music leaves a pounding in your head—a storm in your chest. You can’t explain it, but it’s the same feeling you get whenever you ace a test or reach the topmost part of a Ferris wheel ride. You’ve never liked heights, but seeing the world from so high up has always left you awestruck and a little breathless.
You think playing the piano is like riding a Ferris wheel, like having wings and having another world at your fingertips. And when you play, you aren’t your brother’s shadow or the perfect kid that your parents expect you to be—you’re just sixteen-year-old Anton Go.
You like losing yourself in the music and drowning in the crescendos because if the music is good enough, you don’t even have to be Anton, just a pianist losing himself in his art. To be honest, you don’t mind getting a little lost every now and then because sometimes you like the worlds inside your sheet music more than the real world.
“And that’s it, great work today, Anton.”
The music comes to a stop and you swivel around in your chair to face Ms. Rivera. “Thank you, ma’am. I’ve been practicing really hard.”
“You should be, the contest is on Friday after all, and I don’t want you freezing up onstage. Have you told your parents about it yet?” She flashes you a warm smile and you feel her long and bony fingers resting on your shoulder.
Mrs. Rivera was the first piano teacher you ever had, and when you were seven, you thought she was the best piano teacher in all of Cagayan de Oro city—maybe even the best in all the world. You used to idolize the tall and bony woman who played with all the confidence you wished you could have, and you remember how you used to give her flowers from the garden on Valentines and little presents during Christmas or her birthday.
She used to be the coolest grown up ever, and you think she still is.