April 16, 1975
Sam walked into his house and over to the living room. Like always, Mr. Kruger and Gerald were both lying on the couch in their underwear and watching television. Mr. Kruger was munching on a very large bag of potato chips while Gerald was gulping down a giant bottle of Dr. Pepper. Abby skipped into the living room behind Sam holding a paper in her hand. Kevin walked over to his room and slammed the door behind him.
“Hey Dad,” Sam said upon entering the room.
“Hey Son,” Mr. Kruger said, scooping another handful of chips into his mouth. “Did you make a friend today?”
“Well keep trying.”
Sam shrugged and walked over to the dining room table.
“Daddy!” Abby shouted, holding the paper in front of her and hopping up and down. “I got a hundred on my spelling test today!”
“Great,” Mr. Kruger replied, not even looking at Abby. “You can put it on the refrigerator again.”
Abby smiled and skipped over to the kitchen.
“Sam, Abby,” Sheila said, turning the light on in the kitchen. “Do y’all want something to eat or drink?”
“No thanks,” Sam said, pulling his homework out of his backpack.
“Can I have orange juice?” Abby asked.
“Of course, Sweetheart,” Sheila replied, grabbing a glass out of the cabinet.
“Did Kevin have another bad day?” Mr. Kruger asked Sheila.
“I think so. He won’t talk about it, though. Hopefully he comes out of his room before dinner. He can’t miss out on this amazing new roast beef recipe.”
After a few minutes, Mindy walked into the living room. She was wearing a pink tank top and a very short black skirt. She was still putting on a large amount of make-up on as she walked into the room.
“Dad, I’m going out with Aaron tonight,” Mindy said, grabbing a few chips out of Mr. Kruger’s bag and then walking out of the living room. “I’ll see you later.”
“You’d better not miss school tomorrow,” Mr. Kruger said. “Or I will call the police this time.”
“Sure, whatever,” Mindy said, crunching on the potato chips.
“Don’t get herpes!” Gerald called.
“Oh, shut up!” Mindy replied. She then left the house and slammed the door.
“Hey Sam,” Mr. Kruger called. “I saw a flyer for flag football tryouts at A&P earlier. You wanna’ join?”
Sam, who was trying to focus on his science homework, clutched his pencil in frustration. He could hardly wait to get a desk for his room.
“No thanks, Dad,” Sam called back.
“C’mon, Son,” Mr. Kruger replied. “Don’t you wanna’ find some way to make friends? You can’t meet people if you just sit in your room or at the piano all day. You need to start trying out different things if you wanna’ get anywhere in life. Even if you don’t like it. It’s called making sacrifices.”
“But he sucks at sports,” Gerald said.
“Well, he’s gotta’ start somewhere,” Mr. Kruger said.
“Dad, I’m fine,” Sam said, erasing a mistake he had made. “I don’t need to do flag football.”
“Fine,” Mr. Kruger replied. “If you wanna’ do nothing and become a loser like your brother, then go ahead.”
“I hope you’re talking about Kevin,” Gerald said.
“Think again, pal.”
“Oh shut up and give me some of that Dr. Pepper.”
Sam shook his head and tried to put all of his attention on his homework. He was hoping to finish it as soon as possible. He could hardly wait to escape to his room and get some more reading done. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was getting very good.
“Seriously Sam,” Mr. Kruger went on. “You really need to sign up for kickball, tennis, or soccer or something. Find something active to do. You can’t get anywhere in life if you just sit at the house all day.”
Without even thinking, Sam replied: “I do stuff.”
“Sure. But you need to do more than that. Something that involves a little more activity. Something that actually involves people. Have you seen what the kids at your school like to do? Great place to start.”
“Hey Paul,” Sheila said from the kitchen. “You remember Diane? The one coworker that you met the other day?”
“You mean the one with funky looking hair and wouldn’t shut up? Yeah, I remember her. What about her?”
“Well, I’ve been telling her that Sam loves playing the piano and she said she’s willing to lend us her electric piano just for him. She said that she doesn’t need it anymore. I think Sam would love that.”
Upon hearing this news, Sam nearly jumped out of his chair in excitement.
“Really?” he asked with widened eyes.
“You bet,” Sheila replied. “I think I remember you telling me that you’ve always been wanting to try out the electric piano.”
“Yeah, I did! Oh boy, oh boy oh boy!”
“Personally, I don’t think there’s any reason to put another piano in this house,” Mr. Kruger said, munching on some more chips. “The other one’s already taking up a lot of space. But I guess I can’t turn down a gift.”
“Yeah!” Sam shouted. “When do we get it?”
“Hopefully by this weekend. I’ll need to get ahold of Diane though.”
Sam was full of so much excitement that he nearly passed out.
“Can I use the new piano?” Abby asked after slurping some of her orange juice.
“You’ll have to ask Sam,” Sheila said. “It’s his piano.”
My piano, Sam thought, clenching his pencil in excitement. My very own electric piano.
“Sheila, can you get me some more Dr. Pepper?” Gerald asked. “Dad drank the last of the bottle.”
“Sheila, can you come rub my feet?” Mr. Kruger asked.
Sam suddenly had a very hard time focusing on his homework. “Electric piano” was now the only thing that was on his mind. He could already imagine himself playing the piano for the very first time.
Just a few more days, Sam thought as he tried his hardest to return to his homework. Just a few more days.
After Sheila grabbed another bottle of Dr. Pepper for Gerald, she walked over to Sam. The large smile on her face caught Sam’s attention.
“Hey Sam,” Sheila whispered, leaning down to Sam’s ear.
“Yeah?” Sam asked.
“A few days ago, Diane also told me about a singing class right here in town. And she gave me their number.”
Sam’s pencil nearly flew out of his hand.
“What?!” he replied.
“I’ve already talked to the instructor,” Sheila whispered, rubbing Sam’s hair. “You’ll be starting at the end of May.”
At that moment, the electric piano finally left his mind. Sam was now so excited that he could hardly sit still in his chair. He could not have been smiling more largely at that moment.
“Thank you, Sheila,” Sam whispered. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Sam,” Sheila replied, kissing Sam on the forehead. “I love you.”
Sam wrapped his arms around Sheila and hugged her for a moment. He was feeling so excited and grateful that he could hardly let go. Or, at least he didn’t want to let go.
“Sheila, are you gonna’ rub my feet?” Mr. Kruger asked quite loudly from the living room.
“Jesus! Alright, I’m coming!” Sheila shouted, letting go of Sam and marching to the living room. “You’re such a baby!”
“Thank you,” Mr. Kruger replied, closing his eyes.
Sam could hardly believe all that had transpired in the past mere few minutes. Although he was still very excited about the electric piano, he could hardly keep the image of it in focus in his mind. All he could imagine was his upcoming singing class. He was now finally going to learn about singing in a class setting. He was now going to finally be able to improve even more on his singing. It felt way too good to be true.
Just another month, Sam thought, looking down at his still unfinished science homework. Just another month.