“Is it time?”
“We have to leave in ten minutes – so gather your music and don’t forget your book of scales and arpeggios, like last time.”
“I don’t feel well mum. Can I skip the lesson this week?”
“But I have swimming on Thursdays, and now piano on Tuesdays, and soon I will have cross country running on Wednesdays – and anyway I have Asthma.”
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“I can really feel it today mum, in my kidneys. I don’t think I can play scales.”
“Don’t be silly. Get your things, we have to leave, or else we will get stuck in traffic. We can sing that song while we’re driving. Do you remember - ‘Oranges and Lemons said the bells of….” – I can’t hear you.”
Stupid song. What a silly name for a song. All my pieces have silly names. “Through the Woods”, “Up the stairs”, “Down the mountain”. Who is this John Thompson composer anyway? I’ve never heard of him before. Mum says he’s famous. Don’t see how – he doesn’t even play football. I am going to be in so much trouble this week. I should have practiced more. Just don’t cry. No matter what – no crying. I hate A minor anyway. What was that thing I have to remember for the left hand – what did my teacher call it – pneumonia. Apples Deserve Fine Boys – no that can’t be right. There is one missing. Fine Apples..no. Red Apples..no. There is no R on the piano, idiot. Careless Apples…that sounds near enough. I feel so tired. So hot and stuffy in this car. Like when Mum makes pancakes and the whole room fills with smoke.
“Time to get out.”
“Mum, my Asthma is really, really bad today. And I have a headache. Plus my ears hurt. Both. Both ears.”
“Well, we are here now, so just go in and do your best.”
Waiting in my teacher’s front room. I can hear the girl before me finishing. Sounds so much better than me. I wish I could play that fast. I bet her pieces aren’t called ‘Up the’ or ‘Through the’. My hands are so cold. I need some hot water. Look at all these DVD’s. This would be a really nice room to watch Television in. Finished. My turn.
“I am just going to make a tea and then I will be right with you. You can warm up while I’m out.”
These Pianos are so huge. No wonder – Grand Pianos. So black and shiny. Like speed boats. I think I could get inside one and hide. No one would find me.
“Today we are going to start with the left hand.”
“My left hand is rubbish though.”
“That’s why we practice - Do you remember the mnemonic I taught you?”
Isn’t that what my cousin had? Never mind, just say yes.
“Well how does it begin?”
“Not quite – remember we did this last week. It helps you remember the lines of the bass clef.”
“Careless Apples Deserve Fine Boys?”
Why is he smiling? Oh no, I must have got it wrong again.
“Nearly. Good Boys Deserve Fine Apples.”
Don’t speak. Hold your breath. That will stop you crying.
“Let’s start a new piece for the left hand – It’s called ‘Around the Pond’”
I thought he would be angry. His tea smells of Strawberries.