He sits next to her on the piano bench, their hands now weathered in history. Their walk is more a shuffle, their voices have known pain. Their eyes, an undeniable joy. Their lives, the meaning of love. They sit on bench with room only for two. She folds her hands in her lap, and listens to his song. A song they have written together, playing the keys as seasons were lived. One note. Two notes. Three sound together. She is lost in the music as she watches him play through the notes. His hands are slower than they used to be, but they can still play the music. The hands can still reach the notes of memories. She looks up from the piano keys that he is playing and through the reflection in the piano, she stares at the man beside her. Loving him. But even past him, she can see their lives playing out in the background of the piano’s reflection.
“But, I don’t need flowers! I don’t even really know what kind of flowers are my favorite. Purple, maybe. But, please don’t insist on picking flowers. I don’t need them. I don’t.” She’s laughing as though there will be no end. Why does he insist on picking flowers for her? He watches her throw her head back and he tries to convince her even more why she needs these flowers. “But please! I’m picking them for you AND they are purple. You love purple. See? I knew it, I can see the look on your face. Purple it is!” Triumph spreads through his smile and reaches his eyes.
The memory fades in the reflection as another once reaches the surface.
White. Yards and yards of white material waving through the reflection. Her eyes sparkling, as only a bride’s can do. Flowers fall around her. Yes, they are purple. She’s walking towards him, he whispers….”You are beautiful.” She blushes.
The memory leaves and breaking through the white and purple, they are unable to have children. The notes are playing, somber, the music slower. She lifts her weathered hand to her eyes as she sees them in the reflection.
Two people, young and hurting. He takes her hands and he is praying, “Dear Jesus, Why? Help. This feels like too much. NO. This is too much. We need you. I don’t understand. I want to, give us strength.” His words break through to tears. They are holding each other.
The music picks up speed as the piano keys are tapped lighter.
And, through the grief, they found the joy. It happened while they clung to Scripture, as they celebrated Christmas, made snowmen, gardened flowers (yes, purple). It came while they had picnics in their backyard, while they helped the people around them. They saw it when they admired God’s beauty, when they let Him heal their broken hearts. When pain broke way to peace, as only God can break.
The notes become longer, as harder days are lived. For while there is joy, sorrow still clings. She looks into the reflection, she sees him struggling.
As only a man will struggle when burdened with responsibility. He is working hard. He is trying, but despite his efforts, he is lost. She is there for him, in the silence, in the frustration. She doesn’t always know what to say, and sometimes words should not be said. Their marriage strains. She suffers from constant pain and he struggles to stay above the responsibility, the weight of the world. Their world. But even so, they work through it, they grow stronger.
Then the notes become softer as she remembers a time of peace. Life existed and they added to it. This time together, becoming stronger in just living every day.
Her hand touches the piano, sifting through the memories that he is playing out on the keys. She is looking in the reflection, seeing them, seeing memories. Remembering what brought them here, what made them play this song. He is playing quietly now as if the notes will fade out. But they don’t. Though they are quiet, they are constant. Such is their relationship now. The reflection, their song, and everything about this overwhelms her heart. She lays her head on his shoulder, old and worn. He rests his head on hers, but he is still playing. She adds a few notes to the song. And, they keep on playing, because this song reflects their life together. And, she doesn’t want this moment to end. She treasures the past, the present with him, and whatever future they have left.
And, all around them, pianos go silent. The music stops playing. The songs have reached their last note. And yet, these two play on. A song that can only be played by them, a piano bench that can only be shared by them. This is the music of their life. And, they chose this song when they decided to play a few notes together for the first time.