In the spring of 1983, Margaret arrived at the Southeast Senior Center for Independent Living to begin her physical therapy. As Millie, a long-time staff member, introduced Margaret to people at the center, she noticed the look of pain in Margaret’s eyes as she gazed at the piano.
“Is anything wrong?” asked Millie.
“No,” Margaret said softly. “It’s just that seeing a piano brings back memories. Before my stroke, music was everything to me.” Millie glanced at Margaret’s useless right hand as the black woman quietly told some of the highlights of her music career.
Suddenly Millie said, “Wait right here. I’ll be back in a minute.” She returned moments later, followed closely by a small, white-haired woman in thick glasses. The woman used a walker.
“Margaret,” said Millie, “meet Ruth.” Then she smiled. “She too played the piano, but like you, she’s not been able to play since her stroke. Ruth has a good right hand, and you have a good left hand, and I have a feeling that together you two can do something wonderful.”
“Do you know Chopin’s Waltz in D flat?” Ruth asked. Margaret nodded.
Side by side, the two sat on the piano bench. Two healthy hands – moved rhythmically across the ebony and ivory keys. Since that day, they have sat together over the keyboard hundreds of times – Margaret’s right hand around Ruth’s back, Ruth’s left hand on Margaret’s knee, while Ruth’s right hand plays the melody and Margaret’s left hand plays the accompaniment.
Their music has pleased audiences on television, at churches and schools, and at rehabilitation and senior-citizen centers. They had much to give, but neither could give without the other.
Sharing that piano bench, Ruth heard Margaret said, “My music was taken away, but God gave me Ruth.” And Ruth said in return, “It was God’s miracle that brought us together.” Margaret and Ruth, later called themselves Ebony and Ivory.
We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can only fly embracing each other.