I don’t know what came over me last night, but I had a strange experience at the piano.
When I sat down to it and put my fingers to the keys, the sound that came out of the instrument took me by unpleasant surprise. At first it seemed to me as though somehow every note on the piano had gone flat by a whole step since the last time I’d played. Then, as I moved through more bars, it felt like I was hearing the music I was playing for the first time. It was unfamiliar. After a while longer, I had a sensation like there was something between me and the music, some kind of membrane preventing full contact, forcing a layer of removal. I became overly fixated on the process of making the music, because the music itself was out of reach. And in such a state, the process itself came to feel very awkward and mechanical indeed.
I have a sneaking, unpleasant feeling that I’ve been in this place before. That this is where I was in the years just before my diagnosis, right before I had a nervous breakdown and failed out of school one semester short of my degree. That it may be why I gave up on music for so many years. I’m suddenly reminded of how much it hurt me when Lucas said to Danielle, “Sometimes you just stop hearing it.” I don’t want to stop hearing it. Without art, without music, without the creative instinct, I’m not Alyssa. I’m not even alive.