The ace of spades
At exactly 12 noon today, the ace of spades arrived.
It arrived with pomp and circumstance. Two men in a huge lorry (also known as a "truck" in the US) blocked the traffic on this tiny street where I live. This commotion lured all my curious Dutch neighbours to see what was going on.
Long anticipated and long frustrated, I've been waiting for his arrival for more than a month. Actually, I've been waiting for him all my life, unknowingly. He was the answer to my dreams. But I never thought I deserved him.
After months of searching online and offline, I visited a town called Bilthoven, not far from the ancient town of Utrecht in the Netherlands. A tall, distinguished-looking elderly lady picked me up at the train station. She told me that he's lived there for more than 25 years but it was time to move on.
The minute I saw him I knew that he needed my attention. In the corner he stood, 188 cm, dark and handsome, with ivory teeth. He had been silent for two years, untouched and unloved. In the little time available, I sat there and played with him. It brought tears to my eyes. Could this be the one? Don't I deserve the best?
In the last month, the ace of spades had been undergoing a complete make-over in Wormeveer, a place north of Amsterdam. His insides had been taken out and replaced with brand new elements. My advisor told me this was necessary and that I would thank him for it.
This morning I quickly hoovered the corner of the living room where I had long designated a place for him to live. I put a new terracotta carpet for him to sit on. Then the two guys with the lorry brought him inside.
I traced my fingers on his body from top to bottom, from side to side. Polished by professionals, he was more beautiful than the first time I saw him. His insides were brand new, shining from string to string and his frame glistened from the spray of new paint. If there were any cracks in his ivories, they were repaired.
Then I sat down and played him. A sensation overcame me. I cried for all the lost years that I've hunted and longed for him. I cried for all the souls he could have touched if I had found him earlier. I do deserve him. How long I've waited for this moment!
The ace of spades is the most sought-after in the game of bridge. In the game of music, the Steinway grand is that ace. This Steinway model A, born in 1909 in New York, is now mine to behold and cherish. I hope I will never have to look for another grand piano in my life.
28 May 2004 Friday
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Moral of the story - or the lesson I learned from this:
I deserve the best. Don't short change myself. Don't settle for anything less. It will be hard to get rid of it.
I saw a 5 ft Borsendorfer after I fell in love with the 5 ft 6 Gerhard Adam in August 1997. The Borsendorfer was more than twice the price of the Adam. But a Borsendorfer is a better piano -- a well-known, respected name --- and in time, would be easier to sell.
I bought the Adam because I liked the tone. Now, it's difficult to sell it. I went with my gut. But gut feelings aren't the most sensible. And sentimental people find it difficult to do sensible things. I am reminded of all the wonderful home concerts the Adam brought me.