Silent and Spotless

The pristine white keys splattered with scarlet. A single severed knuckle, resting against a black key. “A fitting end,” he thought as he wiped the piano clean of her blood. He had given up on any personal greatness years ago. He was content in the knowledge that sweeping floors was his life now. His entire life was clean, neat and organised, until the day that should have meant a new and everlasting happiness.

“Excuse me,” came a soft voice from the side door of the concert hall. “I was just wondering if it would be okay for me to play a little?” He still stood there in stunned silence. “You see, I have this big performance tonight and I would like to keep my fingers warm.”

He just nodded once, which made her smile the most radiant smile he had ever seen. That smile would have made his day if it wasn’t followed by her playing. The most heavenly noise he had ever experienced. The notes danced through the air like dust-motes. He froze again, mid-sweep, to listen. The melody soared as her long tender fingers floated over the keys. The music made him feel emotions he had long since abandoned and then he looked at her. Her eyes closed as if in a blissful dream. Her shoulders, slightly hunched, swayed with the marvellous melody. Her foot tapping, ever so softly, to the rhythm that seemed to have become the rhythm of his heart.

As the composition soared ever higher, it came to him in a flash: their life together.

He would keep their modest house shiny, clean and empty, only to have her fill it with those marvellous sounds. Who needs money when you spend your days chasing perfection only to hear it coming out of her piano?

But as the melody turned melancholy, he saw how time would do as it always does. Her fingers tired from a lifetime of playing would falter and only play as soft and sad as she did now. Eventually they would fail her and the air would be empty but for the dust-motes. The crushing silence that only comes after having been spoiled by those perfect notes for all those years. ‘If disappointment was to come,’ he thought as he moved closer to the stage. ‘Let it come before his mind was exposed to years of this titillating tones. Let it come now!’

With a loud bang followed by a short shriek the hall was silent again, as it should be. After his thorough cleaning the dripping would stop and leave the hall as he wished it: Silent and spotless.

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