Last night, I had a piano lesson with Olivia. She listened to me talk about my life—the teaching, the failing-to-write, the weight loss—and had me play the third movement of Moonlight. “See the notes in your head,” she insisted as I fumbled again and again. “There is a grammar to the music.”
Again and again I failed, but at long last I came to see the score as a canvas, as a scroll that extends out into infinity.
Together on the couch, we watched a movie. I forgot what it was, but she was warm. Our young bodies were filled with dull life, a humming sense of being, of existing only at that moment.
“Your fingers,” she said, looking at my alternating movements. “You’re thinking about the music.”
I nodded, replying: “I want to keep it in my memory.”
“Once you know, you never forget.” She put her hand over mine, silencing the muse of my twitching muscles. “That which is gone was never yours at all.”
Perhaps it is so, but could I not want the things that were never mine? Was it not human to ask for more than my lot? I said none of this to my teacher, as she would tell me nothing new. She was a sage, and sages speak the same wise script.
“Smell my hair,” she said, and put her long strands in my face, poking my eyes. “Remember the current moment, as it is.”
I smelled her hair, and only then did I know that this was all a dream.