“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”
– Toni Morrison, Beloved
Walking swiftly, you entered the studio from its side door,
Accompanied by a heavy winter coat and a beret.
The way you carried your shabby folding chair reminded me of a husband holding his old wife’s hand.
I sat quietly in a corner and watched as you approached the piano.
You quickly pulled off your gloves and opened that chair (with a missing seat cushion).
And once you sat on it, you were the pianist, outstanding and bright.
Right before you started to play, an insensible TV presenter interrupted.
Pointing at the chair, he moved forward and asked, “Mr. Gould, must you use this?”
You gently said, “It’s a boon companion. We never separate.”
A bunch of fickle notes bounced out as your fingers landed on the black and white keys.
I let the music pour into my ears, opening my heart as calmly as possible.
All those whimsical notes stumbled right in.
“What is between the two of you?” I pretended to be casual.
My cheeks felt hot; my eyes stayed with the chair.
You lit up with an incredible smile,
“Come and sit for a while. You will see.”
*Note: Known as one of the most famous classical pianist of the 20th century, Glenn Gould had lots of quirks, including his obsession of the wooden folding chair modified by his father, on which he never performed without. Even though the chair had become so worn out that the seat cushion fell off and its legs squeaked whenever he sat on it, Gould never parted with it.