Organ bench II

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling hollow and unnecessary. I swung my feet onto the floor and stared out the window at the feeble sunlight, the bare trees, and the grass, still matted by leaves I hadn't found time to rake.

I wasn’t a church organist anymore. For four years, I rushed out every Sunday, pulled on a black robe and white cotta, greeted the choir, and perched attentively on the organ bench at a small town Episcopal church. I’d left my post after Christmas Eve, and this past Sunday, for the first time, no one was expecting me to show up.

The funny thing was, I’d anticipated a sense of liberation. I’d even joked with friends about gleefully drinking mimosas in bed. Instead, melancholy floated down like a cloud from the ceiling and settled on the comforter next to me. I curled up and went back to sleep.

When I woke again, it was very late. The service was well underway without me. I thought of J. S. Bach, who spent four decades at an organ console. I thought of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies, those gentle, atmospheric haikus. I stared up at the ceiling and thought about all the things I might do with my new freedom: read the paper, watch political talk shows, enjoy the complacencies of the peignoir, coffee and oranges in a sunny chair. I could have done anything I wanted.

I pulled on a pair of old jeans and went outside to rake the leaves, gathering them up in my arms, turning, and letting go.