Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nocturne

Slow and quiet the music poured into the silent room. Her fingers moved, coaxing beauty from the keys. One hand crossed the other to touch lightly, giving precisely the right weight to a grace note.

The room closed in until there was only the music and her gentle swaying.

The music slowed, the final notes hanging in the air. She lifted her hands from the keys and the last note faded to silence.

"That is so beautiful", she said. "So beautiful."

"It should be," he said. "I wrote it for you the night you were born."

She smiled.

"I've played it very often but tonight it seems entirely new."

He nodded.

"It's you who are new. After tonight everything changes for you."

Her face clouded over and she looked away.

"There's so much to look forward to. This concert. It's what you've been working towards for so long."

She made a face.

"He will be there. And she'll be there with him."

He sighed, a soft breath on the air.

"Yes he will. And she will. It's as it should be."

She pouted.

"Don't. Your face will get stuck that way", he said as he used to when she was a little girl.

"She left us. She left you."

He shook his head sadly.

"Haven't you got that a little backwards?"

She looked at him sharply.

"It's not like you had a choice. She did."

"And she chose life, to go forward. As you have to."

Now it was her turn to shake her head.

"I don't see why she had to go. And I don't see why I have to be part of it. I'm doing fine by myself. I have you, your music. That's all I need."

He sighed again.

"The music, yes. Me, no. And you've done very well getting where you are now. But, she's your mother and it's her life."

"She left us. She left you."

"No. She hasn't left you. A parent can't leave a child." He smiled. "I'm here, aren't I?"

She almost smiled even as her eyes moistened with unshed tears.

"I am still here. I will always be here. In my music, in your playing, when you need me most. But, you're not fine."

"I --"

He held up a finger. She fell silent.

"I know everything you know. I feel everything you feel. You're not fine. And you need to be."

She opened her mouth to speak again.

"I'm not finished. You need to be. For your music. For your mother. And for yourself."

Her unshed tears spilled over.

"I miss you."

"I know you do. I know you do. And she misses you. Very much. And she needs you."

"She has him."

"Yes, she does. And she needs him. And he her, just as I needed her. And she needs you."

"Why did you have to go?"

"As you said, it's not the choice I would have made."

Her voice broke.

"I really miss you."

"I know. It's hardest for those left behind. Though," - a wry smile - "the leaving wasn't much of a picnic either."

Tears welled up in her eyes again.

"Hush now. It was a long time ago. It's over. Now you need to think of yourself. And your mother. It's time for you to move on too."

She hung her head and there was silence in the room. Slowly she lifted her hands again to the keys. The notes were tentative at first, then stronger, more confident.

"That's it. Yes. Pour your loss, your pain, your love into the music. Let it flow through you."

The young woman kept her eyes closed, her hands moving smoothly over the keyboard, her fingers drawing pain and then joy from the heart of the nocturne.

The music swelled and filled the room as she sat alone at the piano, remembering her father.

12 comments:

  1. Bittersweet, beautiful writing, Kevin. The pain of it poured out from deep inside the well.

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  2. Very nice piece. I love how the feel of it changes about halfway through, when the reader realises it's not divorce, but death

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  3. Haunting, bittersweet, lovely.

    Wonderful dialogue between father and daughter. I did have a laugh at this bit of humor amid the melancholy:

    "...the leaving wasn't much of a picnic either."

    I, too, thought divorce had broken the family apart.

    Of course the title put me in the mind of the music of Chopin.

    Well done, Kevin.

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  4. This is very lovely. I like how you progressed gently through the scene between father and daughter. What really impressed me is how you captured the sadness and then inserted that little bit of humor without loosing the sense of loss.

    Nicely done!

    Laurel

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  5. Thank you all for the comments. I'm fond of Nocturnes, first created by an Irishman, John Field - though Chopin took the concept and ran with it, creating some of the most beautiful music there is.

    @Laura - bittersweet was what I was going for. I'm glad it came through.

    @Mazzz - originally her father was actually there, but it changed for me as I revised, deepening the impact, I think

    @Marisa - I was hoping I didn't strain the dialogue, given what it has to unfold. Glad it worked for you. And the humor, well - sometimes out of the depths...

    @Laurel - Glad the gentleness came through. I wanted to write a nocturne, a quiet gentle piece, but with emotional impact (and, since I cannot write music... :) )

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  6. How sweet and sad. I like how she talks to him through the music. It's beautiful.

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  7. I think you got bittersweet just right.

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  8. Beautiful piece, Kevin. As he said, it's hardest on those left behind. At least she will always have his music.
    ~jon

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  9. I think you did write music Kevin.
    Lovely piece.

    Karen :0)

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  10. Beautiful ebb and flow in this piece, just like the music. Very well done.

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  11. Everyone's said it already, but I'll say it anyway - this is beautiful Kevin. I could hear the music as I read.
    Sorry it took so long for me to stop in this week.

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  12. Again, all, you do me great service for reading this piece and stopping to comment. I appreciate it greatly.

    And if it seemed I wrote music, or it sounded so on the ear, the air, the thanks are more to the attentive reader than to the stammering writer.

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