Thursday, February 26, 2009

Miriam Part Two

She came to the doors and cautiously peered around the corner. Seated at a beautiful concert grand was a young man with his back to the door, playing with grace and passion. She could only see the back of his head, but the cut of his wavy brown hair and his posture were familiar enough – could it be? Her breath caught in her throat and her hand flew to her mouth, but her heart was racing. What if it was? Could she – after all this – ? Part of her wanted to turn away and return to the party, pretending that she'd never followed the music down the hall. But a stronger part wanted to know, to at least see if it was him, and if it was, maybe –

She walked quietly into the room, trying not to distract him. If she was quiet enough, maybe she could catch a glimpse without his noticing her, and then leave without having been seen. She could see more of the pianist's profile now. He was playing from memory, his eyes closed, swaying as he played, entranced with the music. She was almost alongside him now, and could see most of his face. He was still caught up in his music, oblivious to all around him. Her heart raced faster – it was him.

Images raced through her mind, images from a life she'd almost forgotten, a life she'd tried to forget. His deep brown eyes smiling into hers as they walked along the beach. His slight wisp of a smile, with the ever present edge of sadness. The brief touch of his hand – all the contact he'd ever ventured, yet, somehow, all the contact he'd ever needed. No, no – her heart turned away from the images, and she made a slight turn back toward the door.

"Hello, Miriam", he said without opening his eyes.

"Oh!" she caught her breath at the sound of his voice – that familiar, comforting, yet slightly disturbing voice. "He – hello, Josh. I – heard the piano – that is, I was just wandering by, and the music – I – I didn't know you were here. That is, I didn't see you at the party."

"I wasn't invited to the party", Josh replied, opening his eyes and looking at her as he continued to play. "But I'm an old friend of the family, and I have a standing invitation. I'm staying in the guest house, and happened to be over and decided to try tickling the ivories a bit."

Miriam heard him speaking, but was only half attending. She'd forgotten how penetrating his eyes could be. Calm and deep, yet when he looked at you, you could feel like you were the only one in the world. Yet at the same time they could discomfit you, make you feel like he was able to see thing you'd rather remained hidden. Josh was the only man she knew who could comfort and unnerve you with the same glance.

"Miriam" is a short story by Roger Thomas, author of The Last Ugly Person: And Other Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment