For years, the piano in the upstairs salon was an object meant only for sight, to be admired but never played. In the morning, it caught rays of sunlight before most had been released by the unearthly grasp of Morpheus; in the evenings, it gathered swirling dust motes and watched the orange crescent sink beneath the windows until night arrived, when it reflected evanescent moonlight throughout the room. Ignorant of disturbances in any other part of the house, the piano lay in silence.
The piano, on many occasions of parties and social events, was a spectacle beheld by guests. No one, even the most talented of piano virtuosos, would dare diminish the reverence in which it was held by using it for its intended purpose. There was no matter of permission; certainly, the masters of the house did not mind. But there was an atmosphere about the mahogany structure that nearly everyone understood, recognized by even the most naive and shameless of youth. It was not a visible or tangible aura, but it was there all the same. It was not as if the piano's aura lured or cast away those who stroked its glossy finish or those who examined it with a gentle hand and a lustful eye. The piano was innocent, delicate, and kind, like a happy infant who brings a smile to one's face by smiling itself. And the piano was always smiling.
The piano had a magnificent color of marbled auburn, and it gleamed with an unmatched luster. The top frequently stood open, revealing its delicate, beautiful strings and small hammers and pegs which by themselves did nothing, but as a whole could produce glorious melodies worthy of papacies and royalty of the most powerful dominions. The ebony and ivory which made a pianist capable of creating such music shone brightly back at an observer, casting him into a content, dreamy silence. The rest of the curves and irregularities of the great structure were humbly graceful, and encased the peculiar-looking treasures inside, completing its magnificence.
Owners of the manor came and went, and as years passed, the piano never aged a day. Dust layered the surface of the piano, giving it a grandfatherly appearance, but the luster was never lost during moonlit nights and sunlight days. The only thing that diminished its beauty was lack of admiration, which lasted until it was put into use by the most unlikely of characters.
An elderly woman, wishing to be secluded from the press of humanity, purchased the house. The house was a structure of nostalgic sentiments for the old woman, who had spent the past twenty years of her life without the comfort of her family. She wished to end her days in the solitude of the manor.
Upon encountering the lonely piano in the upstairs salon, the woman immediately began to play, having never received a lesson or so much as depressed one of the ivory jewels in her life. The woman progressed quickly over the next and last few months of her life, finding chords and improvising arrangements on simple tunes. She made wonderful, awe-inspiring music, which filled the salon that had so long been without any song, save the low whistle of a rare, distant train. Though her fingers were small, gnarled, and bony, she was extremely adept for her inexperience.
No one except the old woman heard the melodies she created.
Her passing left the room as silent as it had been only months before, and left the piano alone with as much beauty as it had ever had. And still, in the only place it ever belonged, the piano rested, catching rays of sunshine in the morning, gathering swirling dust motes in the evening, and reflecting evanescent moonlight in the night.