Friday, October 24, 2008

The Page Turner

“Which one?” he asks.

“The nocturne,” Lily says. “I’m still fumbling it. And the concert is on Saturday.”

He tries not to smell her hair as the bench's legs squeak under his added pressure.

“Sounded fine to me, earlier.”

She knocks her shoulder into his and smiles. “You should stick to the trombone, Brian.”

Yet his hands hover over smoke and ivory, not chilled brass. A buzz builds beneath his fingertips. A silent swinging of electrons. A warmth, waiting.

His wrists drop into his lap as Lily smooths the sheet music. Releasing a breath, she relaxes her shoulders. And strikes the first timbre.

He closes his eyes as a piano surrenders its secrets.

She works the instrument like she plays upon my being—

fingers on keys a scalpel dissecting night terrors
foot on soft pedal the teethmarks on a pillow
ripples in a bench the moonlight earthquake of a soul

Brian's eyes open twenty measures in. He’s been counting. And composing.

Leaning in, he waits to turn her page.


Anonymous said...

I like the interweave of their compositions. Two threads of inspiration feeding each other, different in form, but together.

A great moment. Done with great delicacy.

Charles Gramlich said...

Delicate is definitely a good word for it. Fine stuff.

Sarah Hina said...

Jason, I wanted music to be the thing that broke through his walls. There's such a current in music--and maybe piano music in particular--that it's hard not to be inspired to respond in kind.

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Charles, thank you. :) This one almost didn't see the light of day, but maybe there's something in there worth sharing.

Aine said...

I love how this short vignette captures a unique relationship which feels real. With just a few details you create characters-- they way she knocks her shoulder into him, the way he attends to turning the page. His devotion to her is beautiful. They have a lovely resonance with each other.

Sarah Hina said...

Aine, I liked the idea of something intense happening within a character who's off to the side. The reverberations of her music (I had to make the pianist a she due to the photo--but alas, my own playing is not so inspiring! ;)) were more far-reaching and profound than she likely knows.

Thank you so much for your lovely words! They always hit the right chord (oh yes, lame pun intended). :)

Billy said...

Charming vignette, Sarah. So much in so few words. The piano was the perfect vehicle for this. ~Billy (C&V)

Sarah Hina said...

Billy, the piano does provide an added intimacy, I think, which is crucial for this scene.

Thank you!

Vesper said...

You often use music in your writings in such a wonderful, exquisite way. Sweet moments captured with great finesse...

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

This is exquisitely sensuous. Your characters really come to life on the page, Sarah. I love the title - it's perfect! Really, finely beautiful.

Sarah Hina said...

Vesper, thank you for noticing that! Music is a wonderful prism through which we can isolate, and magnify, our emotions. And such a tempting tool to use in writing. :)

K, I was a little uncertain about this piece because it felt incomplete to me. But I'm glad you felt like it captured a genuine moment between these two. :) Thanks!

ChrisEldin said...

I also love your music pieces (writing, that is!) 'Sensuous' was going to be the word I also use to describe this vignette.