Short Story: The Pianist

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About this Short Story

Written by
Daphne Kim

Narrated by
Flora Montgomery


A young woman is struggling with the trauma of her rape, unable to retrieve her passion for painting, until a very special neighbor changes her life.


  • 1825 Words
  • 34 Comments
  • 80% Community Rating
  • 16559 Views

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He came to me that morning. It was a year since I had been shattered. Destitute of hope. Four whole seasons had passed and I found it impossible to forget, let alone to forgive, what had happened to me. My body hibernated in sadness, inside the self-imposed imprisonment of my apartment.

But he was more than music. A pulse. The most incredible sound of piano playing I had ever heard, vibrated through my apartment walls and into my ears; the same dysfunctional little organs that I believed were no longer capable of comprehending anything. And my hands, the damned hands of a painter who could not paint anymore, shuddered at its beauty.

That morning I woke up early to the sound. I had barely three or four hours of sleep but I did not feel tired at all. The moment my body absorbed the magic it was hearing I felt attached to the bed, like my limbs had forgotten how to move.

I…

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Robin Pilcher Director said "Editors Pick - This story is due to come up soon on Shortbread in audio form, but I had to choose it for its brilliant quality of writing. Daphne has a complete gift in her pacing and her prose, and her ability to define so succinctly something that others would find so hard to portray shows her mark, in my view, as one of the best writers we have currently up on-site."
9 years ago

Elizabeth Stuart said "it is a different take on someone being raped. its brave take which seems to have paid off. I enjoyed the sense of freedom, the protagonist gets in the end. I understand the fear that seeped through, the never forgetting the pain."
2 years ago
Deniss Degro said "Amazing! Thank you!"
4 years ago
Mark Chu said "I agree, this is a very beautiful story. It's a redemption, and it gives me a sense of freedom."
4 years ago
Rayyan Ahmed said "i cant ;listen it its not playing"
4 years ago
Sigal Raviv said "I agree with Robin Pilcher, Dafna Kim is an outstanding writer."
4 years ago
Paul Urban said "I hadn't noticed the story was about a rape, when I deciced instinctively to pick that one among others. I'd like to say it is magnificent -nearly like listening to a vibrating classical music piece. And I'd like to say thank you , for the voice, for the words. Once again, it did sound like music, a real soft consolation for those who have been raped."
4 years ago
Sigal Raviv said "I loved it. I could here the Piano, I could see the colors on the canvas. Cheers!"
4 years ago
Peter Parkin said "What a wonderful piece of work. I felt totally involved; feeling the hurt and the pain that the wretchedness that rape seems to leave within so many people. Thank God that few of us ever have to endure that demeaning experience but this piece at least seems to give a taste of what it feels like. I do so hope that this is not borne out of personal experience?"
5 years ago
Kirsty Pilcher said "Well this was a very clever and moving story. I was taken into her mind set and I applaud her!! She is getting on with her life and it was wonderful to see how she got there! really great...."
5 years ago
Judy Keung said "A beautiful story. It's written elegantly and narrated wonderfully. I was totally captivated by the thrilling pace and exciting prose. Thank you!"
5 years ago
Barbara Swain said "This story had me fully immersed in the situation and the chance to enter the tormented mind of the character was amazing. So glad she was able to paint again! Brilliant Thank you"
5 years ago
Fran Strahan said "What a truly brilliant piece of writing. How glad I am then that this story turned up in my mailbox today or I may never have discovered this little gem or its writer. Thank you."
5 years ago
Sheila Alcock said "A wonderful story -I was holding my breath, and finally released it when she took up her brushes again."
5 years ago
Karen Phillips said "That was a powerful piece of writing, the emotions skilfully released at just the right speed - fast enough to keep your hooked but slow enough to absorb them fully."
5 years ago
Suzanne Mays Guest Editor said "It was painful to read your story, but I couldn't stop. The words kept coming, they never faltered or got caught. The ending felt healing and you gave a beauty to it."
5 years ago
Hilary Hough said "Very cleverly composed and delivered in an authentic voice. Really wanted to read to the end."
5 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Ah yes, I remembered this beautiful story and how lovely to be reminded to have another look at it. thanks - Diane"
5 years ago
Heidi-jo Swain said "Stunning"
5 years ago
Christine Ravenhall said "Absolutely wonderful story. I was holding my breath as I read. The healing power of music and of art. Very powerful."
5 years ago
Bill Kirton Guest Editor said "I, too, remember this from my first reading of it. Every word carefully chosen and positioned, the weaving of the music, the memories and the small everyday realities we live, and the at first slow untangling of the narrator's emotions - all perfectly blended. It's an exquisite success of a story."
5 years ago
Erica Brooks Guest Editor said "This remains one of my all-time favourites, and it was wonderful to remember it and to read it all over again. Masterful and powerful and so, so deeply felt. I particularly love the interaction between the paint and music imagery -- staccato notes reminding the artist of colourful splatters, languid melodies making her think of roaming landscapes. Love, love, love."
5 years ago
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David Sharp said "That was both bleak and beautiful - wonderfully written."
7 years ago
Barry O'Leary said "Listening to this excellent story by Daphne was thrilling, sad, and inspiring. I've listened to it a couple of times to get the real gist of what she's trying to say, I think I have it, but I guess everyone will take what they want from it. Another please..."
7 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Very passionate and deeply moving."
7 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Angela Dyer Guest Editor said "A haunting story, made more beautiful by its reading. So vivid you are there. Every art therapist should be made to read/listen to this!"
7 years ago
Rosie Lee said "I've just listened to the audio of this and was completely blown away. One of the most incredible stories I've ever listened to. Heartbreaking and yet life affirming. The narration is spot on and the story itself is just beautifully written. A very real and powerful story. I'd urge everyone to read/listen to this."
7 years ago
Robin Pilcher Director replied saying "It's wonderful that you brought this remarkable piece of writing back into the Shortbread public eye again, Rosie. I actually listened to it again yesterday afternoon on the train up from London. Flora admitted to being quite apprehensive about recording it, but she did do a phenomenal job. And, of course, Daphne Kim...what a writer."
7 years ago
Erica Brooks Guest Editor said "Light and sound - This story leaves a mental aftertaste of splashing colours and swirling notes, a visceral, abstract emotional score. Not much *happens* here externally -- a traumatised woman hears music and starts painting again -- but the character's art and her neighbour's music instead give life to this woman's very real internal journey, making it feel epic. And the ending is absolutely joyous."
8 years ago
Essie Spencer said "Read this story now - I could reiterate some of the other very positive comments about this story, but I'm not going to. Instead, I will simply say that, as a fledgling author, if I can produce something of half this quality, I will be very happy."
8 years ago
Kris Wallace Guest Editor said "Boiling Point - You feel like you know this woman, and because of that, her pain is so real. The characterization in this story is wonderful and gripping. Tension boils under the surface until the great moment of release - and in that moment, her joy and ability to let go is so clear. From beginning to end the story is an amazing piece of work. Flora Montgomery's reading is tremendous and she really captures all the nuances and details of the character in her fantastic voice."
8 years ago
Susan Donim said "Great Audio - I really loved the audio of this. I felt the narration was perfect and really brought Daphne Kim's writing to life. The story was beautiful, and very touching. A skilfully written and narrated story. "
8 years ago

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