Title: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil
Author: William Trevor
Issue: June 26, 2017
William Trevor writes an interesting little piece in “The Piano Teacher’s Pupil.” Miss Nightingale is a piano teacher out of her house. She is a perpetually single woman in her fifties. Her only companion at home had been her father until his death. Behind his back, she spent sixteen years as the other woman to a married man. Monday through Friday, she teaches several students. On Friday afternoons, she has a young male student. During their first lesson, she realizes he possesses more than talent but genius. Miss Nightingale realizes the boy takes one small object – a scarf, a trinket, a box – as he leaves her house picking up his hat from her hall ledge.
I was a bit confused by the ending of the story. It comes to a close, but left me empty inside. I greatly enjoyed the symmetry in the piece, though. I believe the Miss Nightingale’s student draws a parallel to the married man she spent her time with. Each male possessed something she did not but wanted. The man had a wife, which she was not. The boy possessed genius, which she did not. The boy stole items one at a time from her symbolizing the man stealing years from her slowly yet one at a time, which accumulated to a great amount. I enjoyed this very much.
“The Piano Teacher’s Pupil” is a wonderful analogy of how time can be slowly wasted, until it can fully be realized what has been lost.
“…for sixteen years, she had instead been visited by a man she believed would one day free himself from a wife he was indifferent to.”