The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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1. The Piano.

I remember her hands, as they lay on the back of mine, gently pressing down each finger, one by one. The key would push the hammer, which would strike the string, and through the room, sweet sounds would roll out.

At first, she would repeat the one note. Her soft warm hands, gently laid over my child's fingers, pressing the same key in a gentle rhythm, hauntingly so.

Down; her finger pushing mine, pushing the key, pushing the hammer, striking the string, vibrating and pushing the air around it, swelling us in the simplest of music, over, and over, calming my soul. And then, she would lilt her hand a little, and my next finger was pressed, turning a new, heartbreaking note into the logical next step, as if ghosts were dancing around us. As if we were playing for a ballroom of spirits, giving them a chance to dance once more.

And when I was too tired, I would slip my hands from under hers, and turn a little in her lap, press my head against her chest, and listen to her heart as it played along with those wonderful hands. I never dreamed so wonderfully as in those moments.

When she died, my father sold the piano, and I was alone. I would sit in the room, watching the space where she used to sit, where our piano used to be, wondering if I would ever see the ghosts turn with grace again. I never could go near that empty space, never step into it. On the floor, small dents from where it had sat for so long, and a fresh wound on the wood from where they had dragged it an inch or so when they took it away.

Time cloaked the past as it does, and I grew up, thinking of the piano and my mother less and less. I thought of her only when I heard Bach, or when her birthday came around, learning that sadness is better kept to a minimum.

When I was older and I had a chance to leave my childhood in a toy box, locked in my father's attic, I left it all behind. I travelled to the other side of the world, never truly knowing why. I reasoned that it was the state of almost all people, that most of what we do comes not from a place of knowing, but rather because we are lost. And, in that united loss, there is a common, united cause. And I met many lost souls, trying to be complete, in almost every country.

When I met her, she set my heart back seventy-feet, and I knew she was what I needed. It was heavier than any drug I had taken to plug my sadness, more toxic than any wine I'd drank, looking to ignite a smile. She was simply a siren in my bleak sea, and whilst I doubted everything that I had to offer, she accepted every ill in my soul, taking me in, taking me on.

And we fought, like all the great lovers do, and we forgot to be free. And we bought a house, terrified that we loved each other enough to do this, but did it anyway, because, like everybody, we were lost souls, trying to be complete.

And when we were married, I still wasn't sure we could be forever. After all, everybody leaves you eventually, one way or another. But we learned to submit. To go with our fear just enough, and each day it felt a little like one day, we'd get to the shore okay.

But the day that changed it, the day when she gave me a son, my heart broke like a dam, and all the pain I'd had since my father sold the piano poured out of me. Finally, it wasn't me anymore, it was us. I had never felt so afraid and yet so brave before in my entire existence.

When we bought the piano, she couldn't play a note. But I placed my hands gently over hers as she nestled back into me, and note by note, key by key, showed her how to play. The sounds gently woke the dead, and as our son slept gently inside of her, growing, it felt like we were joined once more by the ghosts in the room. They danced as we played, and I know she sensed them, as the back of her neck goosebumped beautifully. I kissed it, and she played.
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