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As a child, when other boys his age were at batting practice, David could be found...willingly...seated at the piano, mastering complex passages that had confounded his peers, day after day at the conservatory. His teachers were relentless, always prodding him to do better, for they recognized, early on, his amazing potential. His ultimate goal...the worldwide Petrofsky Piano Competition, competing against the best applicants the world had to offer and he wanted to be certain that when the time finally arrived, he would be prepared. He had graduated from the conservatory the year before and had waited to compete until he was sure he was ready, and now, he was certain his time had come.

The morning of the competition, he awoke to the sound of thunder,like a drum roll, in the distance, then the rat-a-tat of heavy rain pelting against the window pane. Hearing the insistent sound of barking, he tottered toward the kitchen, yawning as he went, annoyed with himself for staying up so late the night before to watch the game, which had gone into extra innings. Instead of being rested on his big day, he was exhausted and yearning to dive back to bed and catch up on much needed sleep. But alas, the dog needed letting out...and quickly...judging from the rising decibel with each bark.

As he opened the door to let him out, he noted that the wind had picked up, sending the patio chairs flying across the yard, onto the neighbor's property. "Oh Hell," he exclaimed, "I don't have time for this, this morning...I've got to be at the auditorium early to check the piano and the acoustics...I can't be late!"

As he waited for the coffee to perk, he poured himself a large glass of orange juice, and taking a long gulp, was reaching for the newspaper when the heard the dog scratching on the door to be let back in. When he opened the door, a large gust of wind blew the door back in his face. The dog, eager to escape the storm, ran between his legs, sending him sprawling onto the wet floor, knocking the glass from his hand, shattering it into pieces all over the floor. He felt a sharp pain in his right hand and looking down at it, saw a river of blood spurting from his wrist and fingers.

Dazed, David pulled himself upright, nearly tripping again over the dog, who was shaking himself, trying to dry off. Suddenly, he felt himself starting to lose consciousness, just as his neighbor came by, returning the chairs that had landed on his property. He saw David sprawled on the floor...the blood pouring profusely from David's hand and fingers. He seized a towel lying on the kitchen counter, and fashioned a tourniquet to try to stop the bleeding. Spying David's cell phone on the table, he dialed 911 for help.

David was devastated at the prognosis that the Doctor had given him on the severity of the wound that he had sustained. "David" the Doctor said, trying to hide his concern, "I'm afraid you have severed several tendons in your hand. It will eventually heal with some scarring...not too much...but I'm afraid that you will never be able to play the piano as you did before, at least as a virtuoso, not in competitions. It may take several weeks, perhaps longer, before you will have any dexterity to speak of, but you will, at least, have the use of your hand for normal purposes. You came very close to bleeding to death. In retrospect, you are a very lucky young man!"

At that point, enraged at the Doctors words, David stifled an urge to punch him in the nose. "Lucky indeed"...he said sarcastically, "it's only my whole life that's been shattered...not just my hand!" Embarrased by the obvious faux pax and perceived insenstitivity, the Doctor beat a hasty retreat from the room leaving David to ponder his future.

Sitting in the corner of his favorite bar, David awkwardly raised a glass of beer to his lips with his left hand, trying not to spill it. His best friend Jeff, whom had had called from the hospital the day before, hovered over him, blotting his tie where some of the liquid had spilled, trying not to appear worried. Alarmed at seeing his friend so despondent, Jeff tried to console him, reminding him that he had a gift for composing, and that he still had a significant talent to share with the world and that that's where his ambitions should lie in the future. No matter what condition his hand was in at the moment...he still had a brilliant future before him in the music world.

David was convinced that his he knew it...and all the dreams he had dreamt since he was a child, were over. But Jeff had somehow touched a chord within him. Now, he would have to fashion new pathways in his life to conquer. But the biggest challenge to be overcome, was himself and how he chose to deal with his misfortune.

True, his childhood dream of performing onstage was no longer possible, but it was music that drove his life and composing was part of that dream. He could still make beautiful music for other talented that would be shared by the whole world. Beethoven could not hear his compostions, but with fierce determination, he overcame his infirmity, and centuries later, audiences all over the globe were enchanted by the legacy he left behind... not only his magnificent compositions... but his strength of will in overcoming his disability. Perhaps, David too would have his own legacy to share with the world.

As Jeff helped his friend into the car for the trip home, he thought he saw the glimmer of a smile pass through David's lips as he said "It's going to take me awhile Jeff to come to grips with what's happened to me...I just wasn't prepared for this to happen. Thanks for believing in me my friend...hang in there with me, I think I'm going to make it!

*All rights reserved.

Grandma Bea

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The following comments are for "Beethoven's Legacy"
by Beatrice Boyle

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