Gente que Cuenta

Tactile memory, by Leonor Henríquez

Henri Matisse Atril press e1690999219235
Henri Matisse,
Piano Player and Still Life, 1924

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I closed my eyes and let the memories come to my fingertips.

For the first time in many years, I gave myself permission to open a gate that had been firmly closed.

The one of music.

I don’t know where that inspiration came from, perhaps from the wind, from the river, the sky.

It was as if a torrent of water was suddenly released over a silent, arid, and deserted riverbed.

My hands began to move, remembering caresses, walking paths of ivory and ebony, dancing to the rhythm of my own magic.

The happiest years of my life returned in marvelous dances and contradanzas, waltzes, dulzuras, six by eights metrics.

They say that remembered joy does not make you happy. Sometimes quite the opposite and I really certify it, but this time I felt empowered to feel the joy of my music again.

It could be said that it was a moment of almost ecstasy, until an insect called conscience, a minimal distraction, brought me back to reality.

I stumbled.

My hands froze on an F sharp and E flat.

That melodic stream that flowed to the sound of a “Cierto Curita” (*), coming from my reptilian memory, ceased.

If my friend Francisco had been here, he would have quoted our great Aquiles Nazoa saying: “Little girl playing piano, or wish I was deaf.”

But the important thing is my new intention. This renewed enthusiasm I feel to get my piano back. The Venezuelan music that my beautiful teacher Marilú taught me for years, those Mañanitas Caraqueñas, in my house in front of the Ávila.

She achieved the impossible; that my husband, my very phlegmatic British gentleman, quite an Englishman, would enjoy a cigarette humming a joropo (**), the “Jarro Mocho”, to be precise.

In general, memory is lousy, but my tactile memory is intact.

His hands. Venezuelan music. My piano.

Melodies that, like timeless birds, return, this time to make me happy again…

“Your hands are my caress,
my daily chords…”
Te Quiero, by Mario Benedetti

 (*) Venezuelan waltz from late XIX century

(**) Typical Venezuelan music style. In 1882 it became Venezuela’s national dance and music. Formerly, the Spanish word joropo meant “a party”.

www.atril .press Leonor Henríquez e1670869356570

Leonor Henríquez (Caracas, Venezuela) Civil Engineer by training (UCAB 1985), writer and apprentice poet by vocation. From her time in engineering emerged her Office Stories (1997), another way of seeing the corporate world. Her latest publications include reflections on grief, Hopecrumbs (2020) ( and “The Adventures of Chispita” (2021) ( an allegory of life inside Mom’s belly.
Today she shares her “impulsive meditations” from Calgary, Canada, where she lives.

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