For many months, on her way to and from school each day, Gloria had
paused at the pet shop window to gaze with a combination of adoration
and desire at the pretty little accordion nestled there in wood shavings and newspaper confetti.
Each night at the dinner table she would beg her parents to let her
have an accordion –and not just any accordion, but the one, lonely
accordion in the pet shop window. How she longed to have that accordion
in her arms, to have it for her very own.
Her father, however, was insistent that they would never have an
accordion in their home; Gloria, he said, was much too young, and an
accordion was a serious and expensive thing. The world, he proclaimed,
was already full of abandoned and unloved accordions.
Perhaps, her mother said, when she was a bit older, Gloria might get
an accordion. But her father looked sternly at his daughter across the
table and said, Not as long as I am in charge of this house. I don’t
have a moment of peace and quiet and can barely make ends meet as it is.
At this, Gloria’s mother winked at her and said, Someday you will be
older and you can work hard and save your money for an accordion of
Finally, one day when she had all but given up hope, Gloria came
home from school to find the pet shop accordion wrapped in a red bow
and resting on her bed. She took it lovingly in her arms and was
startled to discover how much larger it had grown since the first day
she had laid eyes on it in the store window.
And then, as she cradled the accordion in her arms, Gloria found
herself seized with a sort of panic that cast a quick, dark shadow over her
joy. An accordion, she suddenly realized, was a tremendous and perhaps
What, she wondered, shall be my accordion’s name? And what will I feed it?
Gloria studied her accordion intently, and again and again she ran her fingers gently over its beautiful body and sang to it all the prettiest songs she could remember.
And that night, as she curled up next to the accordion in her little bed, she thought, How will I ever sleep again?