Embarrassment: First Memory

I don’t know how old I am. I’m hiding under my mother’s big black piano. I think it might even be the day of my birthday party. I am not, usually, given to hiding under my mother’s piano, but this day is, I recognize, something special. I know it is something special because they made me wear a dress.

I am hiding because I have a crush on one of my mother’s friends. I follow him around like a puppy. Everyone knows about my crush, and I am happy that they know.

At the same time, I’m ashamed, I don’t know why.

It’s my first exposure to something delicate, an emotion I recognize should be a secret. Why is it a secret? I know because of the way people laugh at me when they realize. The laughing at is what causes the embarrassment.

And that is why, dressed up as I am, I am hiding underneath the piano. Which is not a very good hiding place because everyone can see me. All it gives me is more exposure than I intended. Which is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to achieve.

The other thing I ask myself now is: why the piano? Why couldn’t I have hidden in the bathroom? Or under my bed? Or in the maids’ room, where no one would ever think to look for me?

My mother’s piano is a Steinway grand. It is black and the maids polish it every day so that you can almost see your reflection in it. My mother is at this piano every day. If I could, I would probably want to burrow into my mother’s lap. But she must be unavailable — hence the piano?

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