I stare at the light green wall. I can’t remember why I am here. Who am I? I am told by people in scrubs that my name is Louisa. The name brings back hints of memories but nothing more. So I stare at the constant, never changing wall.
There is a knock at my small wooden door. Moving would take too much effort so I stay firm in my chair.
“May I come in?” A woman asks. I should be excited to have a guest, but I’m not. This person will expect me to know who they are.
The door creaks open. Footsteps draw near to me. A soft hand touches my wrinkled white fingers.
“How are you doing today?” I want to look her but I am frightened I won’t know who she is. She invades my line of vision.
She is beautiful with thick blond hair falls past her fashionable shoulders. Her hazel, brown eyes are full of love and concern. Something stirs inside my head but then fly’s away like lost dream in the morning. I sigh.
“Hello.” My shaky voice utters. She smiles sadly.
“You look very nice today. Would you like to get out of this room?” She asks.
I’m not sure I want to. It is safe and familiar in here.
“It will be nice.” She promises. She pushes my wheelchair leaving me no choice.
A few people sit in their mobile chairs as the look into oblivion. Many of them are as lost as I am. I avoid their old faces as the chair glides across the carpet. We pass a glass bird cage filled with chirping canaries and other feathered creatures. I could stay and watch them live their out their simple lives all day but we move on into the common room. The woman pushes me next to the piano.
“Would you like me to play for you?” I don’t answer but she sits on the bench preparing to play anyway. Her fingers slide across the white keys as though she is saying hello. When finished with her greeting, she starts.
The first note pierces something deep within me. It is a simple sound, but it makes my skin tingle and revives my soul. More notes join together in perfect harmony and tempo; the finishing touches on the recipe of music. Involuntarily my foot taps to the rhythm and I hum along with old tune. The song pokes at memories but, alas, they stay hidden.
The tune ends and another begins. “This was always you favorite.” The blond says over the melody.
The pace is slower than the last, and this time the woman sings. It is an old hymn from an era long ago. I hear the music in the present and with sounds echoing from the past. There are tiny feet running on creaky wooden floors in the farmhouse. Children race to hear the youngest child play the family piano. The small musician has chubby cheeks and tight brown curls. Her sweet fingers gracefully dance across the keys. There are some missed notes and mistakes but to me she is the greatest pianist I’ve ever heard.
My husband returns from the fields exhausted and hungry but he hears the piano and stops to listen to the magical moment. The intro finishes and the little girl…Rachel. That’s her name. The sweet child Rachel begins to sing. It is high pitched and childlike. The other children join in and soon we are all singing. I look over at my husband…Larry, and see that his eyes are red from proud, unshed tears. My heart swells and I hope to remember this moment for the rest of my life. The song ends and I am brought back to the current time. Cute, little Rachel is replaced by the stunning, middle aged Rachel. She has changed but I can still see my baby girl.
Her playing has brought a piece of me back that will soon fade away. I must tell her what her talent meant to me before I return to staring at light green walls. She looks my way and I motion for her to sit by me. She does. I take her hand in mine and gaze directly into her eyes. I pray that she will understand the depth of my gratitude.
“Thank you Rachel.” I say with emotion pouring out of me. She knows that, for a moment, I remember her.
Tears pool in my daughters eyes. Rachel places her head in my lap in an embrace. She looks up at her aged Mother.
“You’re welcome Mommy.”