The Piano That Killed Me

By Bibiana Ossai

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It was such a dream. The day of our wedding. Echoes of laughter, songs in the background, foods and drinks. The whole black community in Queens had come to celebrate with us. A dream that fell short of its freedom and calmness when the sky went dark.

Three years after our wedding, Malik lost his factory job and I had none. So, we relied on the money and inheritance my parents left me before they died. Like my Mama, I decided to be a housewife, to care for Malik and Junior, our precious little boy. But, with the loss of his job, invented a whole new Malik, an alcoholic who lost all the care in the world. A violent and devilish doppelganger who lavished all of our money on the most expensive wines.

When we started dating in 1993, Malik was one of the few to be employed in the brewery factory that had just opened 50 miles from where we lived. He was a young orphan, successful, handsome, caring and had loving. We met at a bar a few blocks away from my parents’ home, and I had just come out of college at the time. Malik came in with a couple of his guy friends who knew my friends, we all sat together around the same table, talking and laughing the night away.

At around 11 pm, I got up to leave, and Malik escorted me home. In his words “a young lady like yourself shouldn’t be seen out at this time of night, I will walk you home.”

All of our friends, who I am sure were drunk said in unison “what a gentleman. And a great idea.”

On getting to my parents’ home, he kissed me good night on my blushing cheeks and said “hope to see you some other time Miss. Goodbye.” Our next meeting was our official date, which led us down the path of marriage in 1995.

Then came a cold winter evening in 1997, we had just returned from church and I was playing the old white piano that rested on the white wall several inches beneath our framed wedding picture, for our little one-year-old boy when Malik hit the back of my head with one of his expensive wine bottles. My head slumped onto the piano’s keyboard. It was the last song I played, the last time I felt the rhythm of the piano and the last time I felt my little boy’s palms grab my ankle. My lost love is all I remember of the earth.

About Bibiana Ossai

Bibiana was born and raised in Lagos city, Nigeria. She has a degree in Mass Communication from Redeemer’s University, Nigeria and currently a MFA Creative Writing student in Long Island University, Brooklyn. Bibiana is a writer, poet and professional abstract artist. She is also a freelance writer, who has written for news blogs as well as creative writing blogs. You can follow her on Goodreads.

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