Reprieve

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Reprieve

Kayla Krantz

The daily grind. 


It’s a struggle to get out of bed sometimes knowing that the majority of my day will consist of two different jobs. It’s not enough anymore to have one job. That doesn’t quite pay the bills. I have to maintain two if I hope to do more than break even and have enough money to live with. Though if an emergency were to happen, I think I would still be in trouble.


That’s always a fear of mine—not being able to afford to live. Life in itself is an expensive event, and it’s such a shame because in all honesty, I’m not even having that good of a time. 


Mental health is important. Very important. It’s rare for me to have free time, but when I do, it’s important to budget it accordingly. That’s why I make sure to drop everything and schedule in time to play the piano at least two or three times a week. Ever since I was little, there’s always been something so soothing about the ability to make music. To think something beautiful could come from the chaos of my brain gives me just a little bit of hope that I’m not doing all of this for nothing.


It makes me believe that there is a higher purpose.


Tonight is no different. When I finally hit the door after putting in my time at both jobs, I’m exhausted. I toss my coat onto its usual resting place on the chair and loosen my tie as I stroll across my living room. My eyes are all for the piano. It’s an older piece, but one would never be able to tell by looking at it. When I bought it, I had put as much money as I needed into having it look good as new while still retaining that antique charm.


Even for as tired as I am, the hulking thing is a sight for sore eyes. Eagerly, I take my seat on the bench, straightening my spine as I get into position. I don’t have to think about where to put my fingers, they go immediately to their keys. There’s no sheet music before me, but I don’t need it. I play the song in my head.


At once, the music streams out of the piano, echoing around the hardwood floors and walls of the living room. I had put the piano here for exactly that reason. From this place, its acoustics seem to bounce around the entire house. As I play, the tension in my shoulders melts away, and it’s as if I’ve never been stressed in my life.


In this moment, I’m not worried about my bills, money, my jobs…anything. I am part of the music. And so is that stress, fear, and worry. All the ugliness in my head is turned into something beautiful.


At last, the song in my head is gone, and the music comes to an end. I let out a sigh as my fingers release the keys, the last note fading to silence. I drop my hands to my sides, but before I can rise from my spot, I hear clapping from behind me.


I live alone.

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