by Reina Adriano

In preparation: the mind quick enough
not to linger on anything, but to simply

understand. It’s been eight years since
dust unsettled on these keys. What piece

was last played before we left? It was Chopin,
I think. Cadence through the black and white

of memory: the pacing, going back to the first
note, the first dissonance of silence. How unperturbed

distance may seem when the echoes start
subsiding along these walls, forgotten.

Father would shout at Mother who cursed
at every wrong thing. Every evening such noises

through the playing. Then we would enjoy
the pretended solitude of the piano.

Gradations of difficulty: staccato undone,
my hands cannot force anger in themselves.

The piano could not be brought with us. The anticipation,
the longing for return. What to miss more — the music

or the silence? There seemed to be less of
the former. It’s exhausting; the mind or

the body restrains itself but nevertheless relents
to the exercise. How do we master the silence?

The noise followed us wherever we went.

PHOTO: Photo of the author by Ria Panis (Quezon City, Philippines, 2013).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Arpeggio” is the interspersing of music and silence in the walls of an old home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Reina Adriano is a double major in Applied Mathematics and Creative Writing at the Ateneo de Manila University. She was a fellow for the essay in the Twentieth Ateneo Heights Writers Workshop and the Fourteenth Ateneo National Writers Workshop and was also selected as a participant in the 2015 Iowa International Writing Program for Nonfiction. Her works have been published in the previous issues of Heights, transit, and Plural Prose Journal. She currently lives in Quezon City.