Her name was Adriana, and she came on a bus to El Calvario with her young mother and the other asylum families after ICE released them for processing. They had survived the dangerously long walk from Honduras, filled with hope for a new life in the United States. The church’s old piano had seen much better days and sat neglected in the corner. She walked slowly towards it, almost reverently. Her small hand tentatively touched the scarred wood, as she looked up at me, her eyes shining.
“Que es esto?” She asked.
“Es un piano,” I answered. “Te gustaria tocar el piano? Would you like to play it?” I sat beside her on the bench and played the only song I remembered from my lessons as a child, “Michael Row the Boat Ashore,” as I sang the lyrics. Her innocent dark eyes glistened as a huge smile lit her face. When I placed her little hand on the keys and pressed down, she literally shook with joy.
Several little boys joined her to inspect this strange toy, pounding loudly on the keyboard; but they quickly lost interest and went back to playing on the floor. Adriana spent a long time experimenting with the old yellowed keys as she imitated their tones, softly humming to her music. I was touched by how spellbound she was, her face radiant with joy as she swayed and sang in Spanish.
“What is your song, Adriana? It’s very beautiful. Es uno canción hermosa.”
She looked up at me from her seat at the piano, black eyes shining. “Estoy cantando sobre mi casa nueva. Estoy cantando sobre mis nuevas amigas. Esto mi canción feliz.”
“I am singing about the new home I will have. I am singing about my new friends. This is my happy song.”