an adventure in flash fiction 300 words
The day before Waitangi Day, I practise the National Anthem. The choir will sing the first verse in Maori, then the congregation comes in with ‘God of Nations’. Not been done in church before so our rendition must be good, great, even moving, stirring, whatever.
The men love to add their deep voices, but they can’t place the semitones accurately. I want to get it right in my head, so I can teach them at tonight’s practice. I sit at the piano, smooth out the score and play through the right hand parts- sopranos first, on the melody, then the mellow altos. E Ihowa Atua: nice, easy harmony.
I stretch my left hand down an octave and check the starting note for the basses. It is under the bottom line of the stave, is that D? My wrist jerks into place on the cool cream keys. I am unexpectedly unsure. I look along the line, count down the ledger lines from middle C , CBAGFED, and examine the note. It’s a minim, yes, but a D, an F? My eyes flit between the treble clef and the bass clef. The lines are a bit blurred.
I can’t remember how the bass notes fit. The black crochets and empty minims perch like random blackbirds. How can this be?
For years, for decades, I have played those notes on the piano: right hand treble clef, left hand bass clef, no worries.
But now the names have flown away.
A sudden bell-clear memory of the day my mother rang, early on in her dementia. ‘ Hello dear. It’s extraordinary. I got into my car, and simply did not know what to do next. What is happening to me?‘
My Mum was a musician too.