Until the recital, it never occurred to me that I was the only one of your students to whom you were teaching the organ. The front room of your house had a piano on one wall and an organ on another, and every week when my mom dropped me off, there was always some other kid finishing up with a piano lesson. I don't remember why I opted to learn the organ instead of the piano. Maybe because that's what my grandfather played.
But here we were at the recital, all of your little pupils dressed up so nice, ready to show their parents what they'd been learning all this time under your tutelage. You wore a bright red dress for the occasion, complete with bright red nail polish, quite a contrast to your normally casual attire. The stage was set with the piano on the left and the organ on the right. One by one, each student walked up the aisle, veered left, and took their place at the piano to play one or two pieces to the delight of their parents. Yours as well, it seemed.
I was somewhere close to the end of the program. As each student finished, it became clear to me that I was the only one who would be touching the organ that night. When it came to my turn, I remember walking up the aisle and getting a slight thrill out of veering right.
Yeah, yeah, all your little piano songs are nice. Now check this shit out.
I rocked the house with my rousing rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In", then slowed things down a bit with "My Wild Irish Rose." I had been practicing these songs for weeks in preparation for this moment, and now I was done. It had been worth it.
The last few students took their turns, all of them at the piano. Then, to my surprise, you took a seat at the piano bench, and oh my God, did you ever kick ass. Of course I knew on a theoretical level that you knew how to play these instruments. You were the teacher, after all. But you were never one to show off during lessons, and I had never, before this moment, seen you just rip into the keyboard. I don't remember what you played, only that it was amazing.
After the recital, people milled around and enjoyed some refreshments. I noticed that the piano's keys were covered in red nail polish. I was thoroughly impressed.