I had an important bit of work to do and needed peace and quiet. So I summoned the creature and let it be known that unless it was an emergency or he needed me to make him something to eat, I was not to be disturbed. He said that he understood.
Five minutes later…
“Will you fix me a tuna fish sandwich?”
“Yes. Anything else?”
“No thank you.”
A few minutes later…
“Can we play chess?”
Sigh. “Not right now. I really do have to finish this. Later tonight, if you still feel like it, we’ll play chess, alright?”
Manipulative downcast glance. Guilt-inducing soft voice. “Okay.”
A few minutes later…
“Can you play the piano?”
“What does the piano have to do with either food or an emergency? No, not really. I can play a few chords, a couple of songs, that’s it. Why?” I turned back to my work.
“Because I want to learn to play piano just like Phil Coulter.”
“Yeah, well good luck with—wait! What did you just say?”
The child never cries, but his lower lip was trembling a little. “I want to learn to play that song ‘The Town I Loved so Well’, so I could play it for you. That’s the greatest song ever.”
“Well, there’s no such thing as the greatest song ever, but it’s up there, sure. C’mere.” I put my hands on his shoulders. “We can’t afford piano lessons, much less a piano. We’ve three guitars and two tin whistles and you play none of them. What makes you think you’d stick with the piano?”
“‘Cause I say I will.”
I was trying not to laugh. “I’ll tell you what. I have a friend who has a keyboard she hardly uses. I can get you the loan of it. I’ll get you some sheet music for some easier songs, and if you can learn to play one of them–just one–I’ll get you the keyboard and some piano lessons. Deal?”
“Now will you please let me finish this?”
And so it was that I got the loan of the keyboard, which the wee ‘un proceeded to use as a drum machine, and play around with beat-box effects. Oh, well.
Then one day, from downstairs, I heard him play the opening strains of Für Elise.
No we own a keyboard.
And I have to pay for piano lessons.