Miguel and the Piano

A story inspired by true events:

It was 9 PM, and Miguel was tired. He had woken up that morning with a sore back from work the day before, which had made the hour long bus ride to his job at the hotel difficult and uncomfortable. He had been working since 8 AM that day moving carts, unloading boxes, and carrying away dirty plates. He had been working at this job in the cleaning crew for 5 years, and it had not been easy.

But it was 9 PM, and an excited grin crept across Miguel’s lips. As tired as he was, he looked forward all day to this part of the day. He was about to clean the ballroom. The ballroom was the largest room in the hotel. It was reserved for conferences, events, and dances. This week, there were rows and rows of tables and chairs set up for an education conference. During breaks in the sessions, Miguel and his coworkers had scurried through the ballroom, replacing water glasses, refilling pitchers, and taking away platters of dirty plates.

But it was 9 PM, and the ballroom was empty. As Miguel and his coworkers entered the ballroom to clean it one last time, Miguel walked over to the piano. Without a word, he sat down, and as his coworkers began to clean the room, he started playing.

It was a simple song, nothing remarkable or amazing. But it was the song that Miguel’s mother had taught him years ago. His mother had been a piano teacher for many years, and had taught Miguel a few songs as a child. This was the only one that he remembered. After his mother had died several years ago, he had started playing this song again. He couldn’t afford a piano at home, so he would play this song every night in the ballroom. Every night. To remember her.

His coworkers finished clearing the room. Miguel closed the piano and stood up with a smile. On the bus ride back, he didn’t think about his aching feet, his sore back, or his tired hands. He simply closed his eyes and remembered.