Emily Rae Robles

the paradoxymoron

Race of the Heart

(This is my entry for J.C. Martin’s Race to 200 Blog Contest)

In the hush before her fingers first brush against the keys of the grand piano, time seems to stop for me. She freezes against the wind of passing years, memories hurdling across her motionless face and into the depths of my mind. My heart pounds along with her memories, beating faster and faster as the years race past.

She is eighteen again, her hair flying in the wind as she swings through the air at the children’s playground, pulling the chains back until she nearly flips over backwards. She is nineteen, crying on the sofa at the death of her parents until my own heart nearly breaks for her. She is twenty, grim-faced, with falsified smiles layered over each other so I can barely find her real self. And now she is twenty-one, sitting at the piano bench that has become her home, ready to unleash her soul for the scattered audience that has drifted into the hall today.

Time begins to move again, and with it comes the pain of reality. My heart tries to burst out of its cage as I hear her inhale in preparation for throwing herself once again into the agony of performance. Her eyelids flutter closed as she suddenly strikes the first grating chord, fingers flying across the keyboard with an anger she has never physically displayed. I am confused by my reaction. Am I running towards her? Away from her? Along with the music?

The piece is a swirling frenzy of harsh rhythms and dissonant harmonies. As the weight of her arms nearly lifts her off the piano bench, I feel similarly suspended in the single moment of beauty that is her nine-minute long performance. The undiluted essence of her being overwhelms me, first lulling me into flight through the incommunicable, then stinging me across the face with sudden changes of mood.

When she finishes her performance, I can feel sweat tingling along my backbone, shaking me into reality none too gently. Heart pounding, I make my way up to the stage, my gaze directed towards the piano rather than to her. I want to see if my theory is correct. I want to see if I am truly running alongside the music.

I peer into the instrument, shuddering at the realization of what lies within. She has torn out my racing heart and replaced the strings of the piano with its material.


March 6, 2011 - Posted by | writings


  1. Wow! I am amazed at how beautifully you wrote that scene. I was totally mezmoried! Love it! Thanks for entering J.C.’s contest!

    Comment by Genna Sarnak | March 6, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you! I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure it would completely fit the prompt, but I definitely enjoyed writing it!

      Comment by emilyrae | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi, just to say I’ve been by to read your entry! Thanks again for participating! Finalists will be announced soon! 🙂

    Comment by J.C. Martin | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  3. Beautiful emotion. Almost heartbreaking in its intensity.


    Comment by Donna Hole | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  4. Great post! I just finished watching Immortal Beloved this weekend and can still hear the notes of the piano in my head…

    Comment by Jennifer O | March 7, 2011 | Reply

    • Ohhhh I have not seen that movie, which is not ideal since I’m a piano major! This is the first I’ve written about music, so I’m glad you liked it.

      Comment by emilyrae | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  5. Wonderful poem. Not sure if you wrote it as a poem but this is very, very good blank verse.

    Comment by Budd | March 7, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you! It wasn’t intended as a poem, but I’m thrilled it came across that way! I really appreciate the comment 🙂

      Comment by emilyrae | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  6. Beautifully done. It makes me want to have more, but it’s just the right amount. Really enjoyed this lovely piece!

    Comment by Witless Exposition | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  7. […] RACE OF THE HEART by Emily Rae Robles […]

    Pingback by J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer » Race Finalists Announced! Vote NOW!! | March 10, 2011 | Reply

  8. […] RACE OF THE HEART by Emily Rae Robles: […]

    Pingback by J.C. Martin's Race Finalists Announced! Vote NOW!! | Reading, Writing, and the World of Words | March 11, 2011 | Reply

  9. […] RACE OF THE HEART by Emily Rae Robles […]

    Pingback by J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer » Race to 200: The Finish Line! | March 14, 2011 | Reply

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