No one remembered who had donated the piano to the shelter on Clarke Street. It seemed odd and even more ill placed than many of the transient tenants who had passed some of their nights there over the years. Like them it had been ignored, presumed broken, suitable only as a holder of coffee cups and blankets.
That was until Eduardo arrived, stepping shyly between the envious and suspicious gazes drawn to the new camouflage jacket which contrasted so sharply with his fragrance of boiled cabbage and old shoes. He looked fragile, someone who would be vulnerable, heart in hand. Probably a benign, former alcoholic was the general verdict. Someone who would come, go, speak few words and leave no trace.
Who could have predicted that this silver haired wraith would be a ruthless negotiator? Would see in the piano a doorway back to his Argentinian childhood, to mother and music? Even the jacket disappeared in amassing enough funds to tune that old piano.
And then the day came when Mahler, Beethoven and Berliot came to visit and spill their beauty through open windows onto Clarke Street. That summer passers-by saw the shelter differently and did not quicken their steps in its vicinity. They lingered, as does the memory now that both Eduardo and the piano are gone.