the magic of music

The magic of music by

Charisma radiated from Maria Luciano, as she gave an astonishing virtuoso performance. Each note filled with emotion.


Maria let her pastel pink fingernails dance over the piano keys, allowing the music to flow in a rainbow of sound. Her delicate fingers caressed the ebony and ivory, giving life to Chopin and Rachmaninov. Joyous applause echoed around her, as she took a bow. The sea of people was cloudy; the lights dazzling. A tingling sensation flowed through her, followed by a gasp from the audience and darkness.


The smell of disinfectant roused her. A lady in blue placed a beeping thermometer in her ear and an inflating cuff around her arm. The man in the white coat shuffled papers and shone a bright light in her eyes.

‘You have Optic Neuritis, Mrs Luciano. There’s no treatment, but if you rest, your sight should return in four to six weeks.’

Impossible! Her first European tour playing Greig’s piano concerto in A began the following week.

‘There will be other tours,’ Nico said, kissing her hand. She was blessed to have him as her rock. Her constant in her changing world.


Maria lay on her purple chaise longue. Bach fugues and Scarlatti sonatas played in her head. Her fingers itched to play. Using the wall as her guide, she tentatively made her way towards her piano. Taking a deep breath, she stroked the keys and performed the elaborate melodies as if nothing had changed.


Three weeks passed; her vision cleared little by little, but her fingers tingled. Pins and needles. Then they were numb, refusing to co-operate. Who could play Mozart without trills and acciaccaturas? Maria sank to her knees and sobbed inconsolably. Music was her world. Without it, she was nothing.


With headphones over her ears, she lay completely still, gripping the panic button tightly, as she entered the MRI tunnel. So loud! A cacophony of industrial noise. Trapped, she wonders if they have found something sinister. Was this the end of her journey?


Sixteen days of wondering. Her legs had joined her arms; no longer following her directions. Nico wheeled her into the neurologist’s office. With a picture of Maria’s brain illuminated on the screen, the doctor pointed to the scattered white lesions.

‘You have multiple sclerosis, Maria.’

Tears trickled down her cheeks. Relief that she was not dying from a tumour, regret for things she had not done, and recognition that her life was changing.


Infusions of magic medicine offered hope for the future. There was no cure. DMD’s they called them- disease modifying drugs. Maria’s sight returned. Her wheelchair resided in the attic, replaced by a pretty, purple cane. Her fingers no longer had the dexterity for the piano, but she found her voice. In stunning evening gowns, she performed passionate soprano arias.

Maria rested her head on Nico’s lap, as he ran his fingers through her curls. She stroked her swollen belly. Tiny feet dancing inside her. Perhaps her new life was only just beginning.





Fiona Campbell is a single mother of three living in Aberdeen, Scotland. When diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she decided to take a sabbatical from teaching music and follow her writing dream. Having achieved a merit grade for her Masters in creative writing, she went on to publish short stories, flash fiction and poetry. Her debut novel is on submission.



Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash



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