The Piano and other Short Stories

(The Piano: **Published in Miracle E-Zine Issue 5** A short story about an old man and his piano. Inspired by "The Piano". I added the animation in case you haven't heard of it before, it also sounds nice playing the song whilst reading. I found this piece when I was looking through my old school books, I edited and tweaked it (a lot!) and added flashbacks in. I know how to play this song on the piano! :P )

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1. The Piano

Alone in a solitary room, sat an elderly man on his treasured piano. The room may have been bright and colourful with collected antiques, an amber warm fire and a loving family. However in his world, the room was vast and deserted; all the happiness had faded...

  Frail, old fingers continued to walk up and down the old ivory keys. The piano was ancient, passed down for generations, from his great- grandfather, to his grandfather to his dad and now to him. But now there was nobody it could be given to. He had no children.

  As he watched his fingers walk along the keys, his gaze fell onto his forefinger. He remembered being once told that the forefinger had a vein that led straight to the heart, and on that same finger he wore the ring, matching the one belonging to the love of his life.

  The lavender smell tickled his nostrils which he recognised at once; it was her turn.

Her cold, pale hands and his own moved along the keys exactly how they had done sixty years ago on their wedding day.

 In a worn out hospital lies an ageing women, he's seconds away from losing her. But what can he say, when she doesn't even know him anymore?

  "Who are you?" she whispers, watching with her grey eyes that are shining with tears.

 "Your husband," he answers. His voice cracks.

  "Who?" She asks.

  He's about to answer again, like he had done for the past two years. Each time it kills him inside, how she had just forgotten. But her eyes are slowly shutting; she's only seconds away from leaving him. So he leans down softly kisses her on the cheek, and then parts from the love of his life.

  As she finished her part, she watched him wistfully with her shining grey eyes, kissed him softly then faded into nothing.

  The lump continued to build in the old man's throat, but he was used to that, and continued to play the simple tune nevertheless. For many, the easier option would be to stop playing, to bring the song to an abrupt end and try to forget about their unfortunate past. But the simple tune was a remedy for him; his worm-hole into the past was the only distraction from the present.

 He knew that the words of his old friend were the only reason that he kept on going, the only purpose he kept living.

  His ears explode from the sound, rattling in his ears. The roaring of the bombs are driving him insane, he can't keep going on much longer. He's surrounded by death beds, the lives of men he had known and the men he was forced to kill...taken. Lost forever. Then he thinks, what is the point in it all? What is the point of life? Why bother experience the anger, despair and sadness of life when you could finish it all in seconds? He thinks of the quick darkness that will approach him if he could end it. Then it would be over. Finished. He pauses pointing the gun towards his head, one click and everything would be gone. But the words of his partner, his companion, his best friend stops him.

  "Keep going, don't give up...there's always sunshine after the storm." The dying man coughs for the last time as he lies in the dirty, disgusting mud.

  He watches his best friend gasp his last breath then become lifeless. His partner, his companion, his best friend...dead.

  The man's eyes brimmed with tears. He couldn't play much longer, but he couldn't leave the song unfinished. Not when it was the last time. Keep going; don't give up...sunshine after a storm he muttered to distract himself. Only a little left to play. His eyesight began to fade into a dark blur, but it didn't matter, the song was so familiar he didn't need to see, just allowing his hands to play the song. He continued as the sound of the piano becoming quieter, his worries and sadness gradually began to fade. The room darkened into black as he played the last soundless key.

Peace once again.

 

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