'Longing' by John Wheway

The dog is practising the piano. The click of his claws against the ivories, enhances rather than detracts from Bartok, he thinks, working through Book 5 of the Mikrokosmos. But before attempting Beethoven, or Chopin, he must find some way to get across to his human the necessity of clipping them.

In the kitchen, in her apron, the human reorganises meat and bones in the freezer, tidies the biscuit cupboard. She attempts a little dance to the Balkan rhythms, listing like a peasant whose one leg is shorter than the other.

Sometimes, while the dog goes out for a run, she sneaks into the music room and sits on the piano stool, glancing over her shoulder. She wishes she could play Claire de Lune, or another French piece, but she can’t even read music. She gazes at the keys, her fingers bunched on her knees like bananas.

What she can enjoy is lowering her feet onto the pedals, both pedals at once, and pressing down keys at random, building up an enormous layer of sound. The sounds shimmer like the memories and dreams that make up a person. She listens until they die away.

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