A student from the University of Illinois called me. “I found a piano in the alley. A couple of keys are sticking and it needs to be tuned.” Me- (……… sigh…….Why can’t I only tune Steinway grands!?) “Sure, I’ll be glad to come and try and get it playable.” So we set a date and a time. The place was a former mansion, divided into apartments. The apartment was filled with used furniture and not too tidy. My employer, Alex, was a friendly outgoing young man who was excited about having a piano. He introduced me to one of his roommates. “This is the piano tuner, Ron.” The roommate sat on a couch in the corner. She would probably be called a Goth. Her hair, her makeup, and her clothes were black, and she had assorted body piercings. Her response to the introduction was a bored and disinterested glance.
After two hours of tuning and repairing, I sat down to play something. I played “Here’s that Rainy Day”. It’s a jazz standard with a beautiful, sad, melody. I got into the song and felt a kind of sadness spreading from my heart to my fingers and floating the melody across the room. I finished the song and got up to look for Alex in order to get paid and leave. No one was in the piano room so I walked into the adjoining room. The young Goth woman had moved there and was sitting in the back of the room in a bean bag chair. She looked at me with a wide eyed stare and followed my movement all across the room. Her look said “how did you do that, how did you touch my heart?” And so sadness speaks to sadness and sometimes, brings a little happiness.