by Farai Kwesha| @fatsoRai
Image Credit: www.abbeytheatre.org.uk
It was 4:45pm, and Tatenda might as well have been the only one in the waiting room. The only other person was his father, and as far as Tatenda was concerned, that was as good as no one at all. His father appeared more nervous than he was – he would clasp then unclasp his hands, pace up and down the room, and at ten second intervals check his watch. Tatenda thought he was being overly theatrical, but it amused him and as a consequence also put him at ease. He shook his head as his eyes followed his father across the room. Save for the sound of his father’s heavy breaths, the room was silent.
The silence was quickly broken by the sound of a screeching door being opened, and a young woman walking into the room, evidently dejected. Her eyes glistened – the looming threat of tears apparent, prompting her to walk the rest of the way out face-down. Tatenda gulped loudly as he stared on, and suddenly he was uneasy again. Following behind the young woman, a man walked in and told him his audition was up. Not fully aware how, Tatenda mustered up enough courage to rise from his seat follow the man to the audition room.
This was the day he had been preparing since he was 5 when his parents had invested in a grand piano. His father always told him that as a toddler, Tatenda was always drawn to the piano and would reach out his tiny arms for the keys and start jabbing at them. He remembered this in vivid detail, and his first piano teacher – a grumpy old German woman from his prep school who cracked the whip on him every time he missed a note. He remembered how miserable she made him.
Over the years, his love for piano had only grown stronger, only surpassed by his parents’ love for his piano playing. He was a prodigy. He played at high school showcases, in church, and at family events to rave reviews from those who had the honour of watching him perform. During his high school talent show in his senior year, a recruiter from Juliard had asked him to audition for a scholarship in their music programme, much to his parents’ elation.
And now, here he was. The only thing standing between him and a future in his craft was the door to the audition room. He grasped the door knob tightly, looked at his father’s anxious countenance, then at the door knob again, and finally the floor. “Was this what he really wanted? Did he want to spend the rest of his life playing piano?” All these were complex questions his mind cavorted on with no definitive answer, but the one that followed was a much more determined question. Was playing the piano his dream or his parents’? He began to think deeply. To find the answer to this question he had to reach far beyond the limits of his mind, but he couldn’t. Tatenda looked at his father’s eager face once more, and suddenly it hit him.
He loved piano, he always had, but along the way that love had been tainted by his parents. Although with noble intentions, they had adulterated his love for piano because now he only played as a filial duty – he did it for them.
After this epiphany, Tatenda slowly began to release his hand from the door knob and stepped away from the door. He looked at his father intently and said, “I have to do this for me” and walked out of the room.