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p i a n o

l e s s o n s

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m e l i s s a

w i l e y

She was the livelier, more pneumatic, and outlived her by more than 20 years despite mother, the veritable cat’s meow, so it’s no surprise that, when wanting to escape the smallness of her small town, my mother went to live with this sparkling family member while taking a teaching job at a suburban elementary school. She stayed only a year before returning to what she always called real life, meaning, I suppose, where you ate apple pie instead of rosewater apple compote, but she recounted it as a year of singular luxury for all the years that remained to her. For Easter, my great aunt and her husband took my mother to brunch at the original Playboy mansion, from which I now live around the corner. Celebrating the what’s what of Christian holidays being served by busty bunnies just didn’t happen back home, and I imagine my mother was, after getting over the shock, absolutely delighted that she wasn’t in Kansas 62

anymore, if feeling conscious of her need for some push-up. Incidentally, I was taking a leisurely walk the other day past this former pinup mansion when I stopped to arrest my eyes on a pair of playful brown bunnies skipping through the violet hydrangeas. Although these fuzzy little rodents are everywhere in the summertime—which raises the singular question of where they hop to in the winter, seeing as they presumably can’t accompany the geese and the butterflies to South America, as they’d probably be ready to drop at least by the time they hit Texas—these two, positioned mere feet outside Hugh’s old doorstep, caught my attention as deliciously innocent, seeing as they weren’t in fact fucking, at least at the moment. They were at that moment as coyly alluring as the bunnies who

served my mother her first mimosa, all charm and genuine sweetness despite their unabashed undulations of nakedness and show of cotton about the posterior. My piano teacher used to say that, of all the women he had known, and he had never known any intimately, I’m sure, Aunt Justine was most qualified to have been a model, a label that he qualified with “sophisticated,” “graceful,” and “not lingerie.” Presumably he had browsed the J.C. Penny catalogue undergarments section, shopping for something “sophisticated” with which to amuse himself—and possibly a clandestine beau—and been repulsed by some of the models’ ungraceful attitudes. Seeing as my musicianship, though well practiced, was not particularly inspired, he never drew any comparisons between myself and my

Profile for Katya Cummins

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Profile for nichelit
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