Concerto in a key of melancholy


Silent 'Mr. X' came from the sea, plays piano


LONDON - Since he was found, sodden with seawater and dressed in a dinner suit, on an island off southeastern England nearly six weeks ago, the mysterious, sad-faced man has spoken not a single word. No one knows his name or his nationality.

All anyone can say is that he plays the piano very well, with a repertoire that ranges from Tchaikovsky to the Beatles to his own compositions.

The case has riveted the British public. Hundreds of tips have flowed into the national missing-persons hotline. But none, so far, has panned out. And until his identity is established, the piano man, also known as "Mr. X," remains locked in a mental hospital, withdrawn, fearful and clutching his sheet music to his chest.

British newspapers have variously reported that the piano man was found April 7 or 8 on the Isle of Sheppey, a small, quiet island and sailing resort near the mouth of the River Thames.

He is tall and fair-haired, in his 20s or 30s and, to judge from his clothing, he had emerged from the sea.

He simply appeared, dripping wet, in a black dinner suit, white shirt and necktie. Curiously, all the designer labels from his clothes had been ripped out.

Mr. X was taken to a local hospital. He was unable to speak, or at any rate declined. Interpreters were called in to try different languages but elicited no response.

He cringed when people tried to approach. Therapists speculate that he has suffered some sort of emotional trauma.

After a time, his caregivers handed him paper and a pencil, hoping he might write something. But, instead, he drew a detailed picture of a grand piano.

Michael Camp, a social worker assigned to him, led him to the piano in the hospital chapel. There, the man relaxed for the first time since his arrival. His demeanor became calm.

And he played and played.

"I cannot get within a yard of him without him becoming very anxious," Camp told the Times newspaper.

"Yet at the piano, he comes alive. When we took him to the chapel piano, it really was amazing. He played for several hours non-stop until he collapsed."

Agencias: Cox News Service
Autor: Don Melvin
Medio: azcentral.com
Fecha: Miércoles 18 de mayo de 2005
Notas: Copyright © 2005, azcentral.com. All rights reserved.
ID: 1551 Editar

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