It was one of those moments where all ends didn’t really meet. Exhausted, she was too tired to do anything. She strolled slowly to nowhere. Her eyes were telling no stories, or perhaps, too many stories.

It wasn’t sadness. Nor sorrow. Nor pain. Nor anger. She just felt at lost. Just too many things happened. Too many things to handle. Too many uncertainties. She whispered some questions but no answer was heard.

She slowly dragged her body passing by a usual path she knew too well. Her body was calling her home. To crash in bed and quickly escape to the realm of dream. Where she secretly hoped to disappear between nothingness and everythingness.

She stopped walking. An open door of a little chapel caught her attention. A glimpse of an old piano lured her to come inside. Irresistibly, she walked to the instrument. She never called herself a pianist, yet she started playing some tunes.

It is a chapel,” she said. So the keys were played for Scriven’s, then Mason’s. While immersing herself between black and white keys, she caught a glimpse of a big man sitting down between empty rows. She immediately stopped playing.

The man clapped.

“Don’t stop, please. Keep on playing and pretend I am not here.”

Quickly she forgot that it was a chapel. Drifted away, Anyer dan Jakarta, If, and Over the Rainbow filled the air. It wasn’t one of those grand performances. It was just a self-taught piano player pouring out her feeling.

A tall man in a blue checkered shirt came near. She finished the last tune “… if happy little blue birds fly…. beyond the rainbow why…. oh, why can’t I… ” and looked at this man behind her back.

A big brown skinned man with long wavy hair. Tears filled his eyes.

“Thank you very much, it’s so beautiful.”

She looked at him. Stunned.

“I better go now… Your music made me cry. I’m embarrassed.”

He shook her hand.

“It’s so great to meet you here and I really hope to meet again, here, someday.”

“Thank you to you, too, for enjoying the music with me. See you again, yes, perhaps someday, sometime, here.”

He left the chapel. She, too, walked out. Still exhausted but she had a big smile on her face.

She still found no answer. But she was assured that everything was going to be fine. Not her own tears. His tears liberated her.

merlynalim, Tempe AZ, February 2008


I found a copy of my old writing written 14 years ago that I thought was gone — so glad to find it, so I am sharing it. This, obviously, was my own true story. I am not the man 😅. Since that day, I frequently sneaked in to Danforth Chapel at Arizona State University campus to play piano, because I didn’t have one at home. It went on for several years until eventually the university decided to lock the chapel in 2010. Luckily, J bought me a piano in 2011 😍.

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