Two strangers found support and comfort when they needed it most.
A recent story on TikTok showed how two neighbors found companionship and a new lease on life during the pandemic, thanks to a shared love of the piano.
The heartbreaking story started when Giorgio Lo Porto heard his neighbor playing the piano through their dividing wall. Lo Porto is an Italian living in London, who decided to reach out to his neighbor and left a note asking him or her to play “My Heart Will Go On,” as reported in Upworthy.
The mystery neighbor duly obliged, leading Lo Porto to suggest they play a duet together from the comfort of their own homes. He began his tune at 2 p.m., and when he stopped his neighbor continued. Over time the duets between two complete strangers became a regular weekend engagement.
On February 14 Lo Porto shared: “It’s Valentine’s Day. We’re in lockdown. This was our way of saying, I don’t know who you are but I’m here. You’re not alone.”
A week later there was an update on the story. The pair had finally met and “it was better than expected,” shared the TikToker. The mystery pianist happened to be a 78-year-old Polish man named Emil, who was living in temporary accommodation until his home is sold.
“He lost his wife in December due to COVID and all he has left is the piano. And the reason why he plays at 2 p.m. every weekend is because his wife loved it,” shared an emotional Lo Porto.
While Emil didn’t want to appear on any of the videos, he did share his gratitude with Lo Porto for keeping him motivated during a most emotional and lonely time. The young man shared his intention to keep up the musical rendezvous until Emil found a permanent home.
While the pair offered each other company, Emil also inspired Lo Porto to write his own song, “Dear Emil.”
“When I wrote this piece I started picturing Emil’s life. A 78 y.o. widower who lost his wife due to this stupid virus. Spending days at home alone due to lockdown. Looking forward to play her favorite piano songs at 2 p.m. every weekend, until a note appeared on his door. A letter showing he was heard and not alone. And a new friendship started. Two pianos between a wall, not knowing who was playing. But it didn’t matter,” shared Lo Porto.
The pair played a final duet together — Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata — before Emil moved out at the end of February. While Emile continued to avoid the camera, he did report being happier and was grateful to those who watched their duets.
As Lo Porto pointed out in his video: “You can be the light of somebody else’s darkness. So keep shining.”
While this is heartwarming in itself the story has a heartbreaking ending: On March 14 Lo Porto shared that his old neighbor had passed away in his sleep, “and now he is reunited with his wife.”
The bittersweet story shows the incredible impact two complete strangers can have on each other. As Lo Porto wrote: “Dear Emil, I knew very little about you, but you changed my life. You gave me back my passion, and we shared that with the world. You’ll be in my heart. I’ll keep playing, thinking of how powerful music can be. You said I was your light, but you’ve been mine too. Bye, Emil.”