A few years ago, when a colleague left Brussels for a few months, she left her electric piano at my place while she was away. I hadn’t played for more than five years before that. I printed some sheet notes – some light new pieces and a few old favourites – to play, but those three or so months passed quickly and I never practiced enough to really get back into it.
Ever since, I’ve been thinking about buying an instrument. A couple of times I tried to get one second-hand, but usually between the time it was posted and the time I checked if it was a keyboard that really sounded as the real thing, it was already sold. I did not insist, sure that I’d never practice enough to justify the expense.
Then, some days ago, I saw an advert on social media. And this time, I was lucky. It has 500 instruments and endless functions programmed into it, none of which is of any interest to me; but it sounds, and feels, like a real piano.
So I bought it, taking home not only an instrument, but also a good amount of self-awareness.
I still don’t think I’ll practice enough to truly justify the expense; but I had to realise it wasn’t the real reason that kept me for so long. It was the fact that I wanted to think I’m staying here only temporarily. That I could leave any day.
Of course, I still can; and if I do, I can sell the piano, or take it with myself, or leave it with a trusted friend until I can take it back.
But now I’m a bit – by a not-quite-portable instrument, to be precise – closer to staying here.
And that is scary as hell.