“I Never Had a Bike”

There are particular sounds and fragrances that trigger something in us from the past.
As I was writing a “happy birthday” message to a dear friend, a former neighbor while we lived in Romania, I remembered their open window towards our flat and he playing “Ballade for Adelaide” for me. He was about 12 years old and a really good piano player already. His family and ours were pretty close.
I had two children by that time and he and his siblings helped me sometimes with them.

When I heard him playing “Ballade for Adelaide” for the first time,I remember going to the window and listening with tears rolling down my face. It was so soothing, so calming, and also so sad.

It was strange, but Richard Clayderman’s piano music was present on the communist radio stations.

I can see my mother getting ready to go to work for the second shift with the radio on. She is busy packing her dinner and placing it in her bag next to her dark blue dressing gown. I can hear the piano music in the background from where I was sitting with a book in my hand. Outside, in our common yard, two neighbors talk about where to go next day and buy fresh bread.
My cousin rides his new bike. I never had a bike. My parents were workers in a factory while my uncle, my dad’s younger brother was an engine driver. That was a well paid job. (I bought my first bicycle two years after we moved to the US.)

The music vibrates in the last piano chords and I let it settle down in my soul.
I’m eight or nine years old and life is beautiful.

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