It had to be the best day of her life. She couldn’t remember when anything so amazing had happened.
Piano lessons six days a week, three hours a day had not been easy, or fun. It had been hard seeing the other kids out the window, down in the park playing, while Madame Ostrokova yelled at her for missing a key. But today’s recital had gone perfectly. And her father had promised that if it did, that if she played the whole piece without any mistakes, he’d get her the best present she’d ever gotten. And now she was about to get it!
She could hardly sit still–her whole body felt like it was vibrating with happiness. Her older sister, sitting next to her in the dress she’d worn to the recital, looked radiant, and proud.
She snuggled up closer to her dad. “So dad, what is it? When do I get to see my present? I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait!”
He smiled broadly. “Well, honey, you’re already seeing it! You see these two white marble slabs on the coffee table? They’re yours! You can use them as a tiny footstool, or a doorstop, or you can try to carve a very wide and flat sculpture. It’s up to you, because they’re your slabs!” He leaned back in the couch, pleased with himself.
She couldn’t believe it. These same weird stone blocks that had been sitting on their coffee table for three months, ever since her dad came back from Italy. That was her present? Her sister looked away, awkwardly.
“Dad, you kept hinting around that it was going to be a giant dollhouse, or a pony. It’s these slabs of stone? Why would I want some dumb rocks?”
Seemingly oblivious to her anger and heartbreak, her father nodded. “We don’t always know what we want. I like to get my girls what I think they’ll appreciate the most, not necessary what they think they’ll want.”
She looked down, jaw clenched.
“Well, maybe that’s why Mom left.”