It’s my birthday again. This year, I have something that I really want as a present. Not a shinning dress or another Barbie doll for little kids, but something that fits my new status as a student in primary school. I’ve thought about it for almost a month! And this idea actually kept me up all night and I can’t even focus on my favorite cartoon show! Right now I am restless and worried —- I need to say it out loud, otherwise I will feel sick and insane because this strong will is calling from my mind!
So I walk straight into the kitchen to find my mother doing housework, she is always soft and gentle, at least she won’t yell at me, I think.
“Can I have a piano as my birthday present?” I blurt out.
“Ah, yeah. Okay, you can keep your pet…”
“No, I mean a piano, a REAL PIANO that we can learn to play with!”
My mother pauses for a moment, takes a glance at my serious face and tries to figure out what I was talking about as if I was saying something unimaginable.
“Wait, what? Are you talking about the instrument…Sorry darling, but I don’t think there is enough place in this apartment to place it… As you can see, it’s already very crowed in the room… we don’t even have place for a dinner table in the living room…” Then she goes back to deal with the housework. And refuses me with these lengthy and meaningless sentences without even thinking much, just as I expected.
“Ah, Whatever,” I think when I shrug my shoulders.
Maybe my mother is right, there are five people living in this apartment right now and we surely don’t need any useless instrument to get into our way, not to mention the price of the piano; it’s impossible for them to buy one as my gift.
That’s when my grandfather comes into the kitchen; I can tell from the surprising look on his face—- he must have heard my conversation with my mom. But what shocks me the most is that he walks toward me slowly, lowering his body to look me in the eyes for quite a long time, and then asks me if I really want it and whether I take it seriously enough. His stares are so sharp, I think he can literally see right through me from the eyes, so that one look to me is as long as a century.
I get trapped in this tough look, and it takes me such a long time to overcome my fear and to finally speak. I nod at him heavily as if I’ve known it for my life, and try to say things like a grown up: “Yes, I believe this is what I should do in the future.”
My grandfather used to be the conductor of the chamber music group back in his medical school years. He was strict but surely loves music a lot; he can play piano fluently and beautifully for as long as I remember. I really appreciate his ability even though he hasn’t played that for a long time.
Then my grandfather stands up and takes a deep, long sigh as he slowly, slightly shaking, walks to the door of the kitchen. I feel so ashamed, and so hurt, but just before I cry out, my grandfather turns back swiftly and speaks in a delightful voice with a smiley face: “Let’s go get one!” My family is so amazed and shocked by his action, actually, I was too! Everyone turns to us and gives us a weird look, but we just walk directly out of our apartment and laugh all the way to the instrument store.