Author Topic: The Crying Pianist  (Read 366 times)

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The Crying Pianist
« on: April 21, 2017, 10:27:48 PM »
Title: The Crying Pianist
Categories: Original Work/Realistic Fiction
Written By: Lucy Hart

The keys bowed at her fingertips as she pressed down with precise precision and purpose. Nothing but the notes filled her ears and nothing but the ivory and black filled her vision. Deliahla let her fingers sweep across the keys on the piano knowing that the music that was filling her ears also filled the small room that she was playing for. The carnival taking place just outside the large windows seemed miniscule and meaningless when compared to the music that she created at her finger tips. She didn’t care too much that it was because of the carnival that the small piano bar she played for was receiving a constant stream of customers, just as long as she could play the piano.
Memories of her grandparents and parents were streaming through her mind; she could feel her eyes stinging, her throat burning, and a pain in her chest. She made sure that the room knew her pain, knew her loss, and knew her love through the music she created. Her emotions came out as a somber and jubilant tune that filled the room and turned heads. She could feel tears sliding silently down her cheeks now, her emotions coaxed on by her music.
The song slowed as the ending neared, playing her remorse until with a final twirl of her hand she had played the last note. There were several seconds of silence then applause sounded around her. Deliahla took several tissues from the tissue box resting on top of the piano and wiped her face before she turned and took a deep bow. She scanned the crowed and felt a deep warmth in her chest when she noted that several of the people where quickly wiping their faces or dabbing at their eyes with their napkins.
“Another great job,” came a voice to her left and she turned to see the manager of the bar, Jacob, walking over to her with a glass of ice cold root beer.
“Thanks,” she took the glass and took a grateful gulp. “Sassafras has never tasted so good.”
Jacob shook his head. “You always call it that, why not call it root beer like everyone else?”
She shrugged and handed him the now empty glass. “My grandfather used to call it that.”
“Deliahla?” She turned to see a man who looked as though he were in his late teens standing just next to the stage on which the piano rested.
She stared, baffled, at him for several long seconds. “Evan?”
He smiled a little. “I thought it was you. You haven’t changed much since juvenile hall.”
She glanced down at the sleeveless black satin dress with red lining she was wearing that exposed both her tattooed arms and back. She looked back at him and saw he still had the piercing in his lip, eyebrow, and both ears and she could just make out the tattoos that showed at his wrists and neck line. He wore a long sleeved knit top, rather battered blue jeans, and one sneaker, due to how his left foot was in a cast. “You haven’t changed much yourself,” Deliahla said after another few silent seconds.
Evan shrugged slightly then jabbed his chin towards the piano. “I didn’t know you could play.”
She stared at the piano. “I picked it up. What are you doing here anyway?”
Evan nodded his head towards the carnival. “I live nearby and thought I’d check it out. I was just wandering around when I heard your playing. I couldn’t believe that it was you playing when I first saw you, but your tats gave it away.”
Deliahla nodded just as Jacob spoke up. “A long lost friend, Del?”
“You could say that,” she looked at him with a small smile. “We were in juvy together, in the same gang actually. Although, we were much younger then.”
“Ah, yes,” Jacob nodded with a small smile. “’Deliahla the Delinquent’. I remember the stories, so this must have been the youngest in the group you told me about?” He jumped down and held out is hand to Evan. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Ever since Del has started working here as our pianist we’ve become increasingly popular. Any old friend of Del is a friend here.”
Evan looked slightly taken aback as he hesitated to take the handshake, but did so though with uncertainty. “Thank you, sir.”
Jacob waved a hand. “No need and you can call me Jacob. Del, why don’t you take a fifteen minute break? You can catch up with Evan here.”
“Sure,” Deliahla hopped down and gestured that Evan should follow her. They moved through the bar, several people stopping them to talk to Deliahla for a while before they made their way out the back of the building.
“You’re pretty popular,” Evan said sounding surprised.
“They like my music,” Deliahla said as she reached into a hidden pocket of her dress and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. “Do you want one?”
Evan held up a hand. “I quit.”
“Oh,” she stared at the pack then up at him. “Do you mind if I smoke?”
“Not at all.”
She pulled one out, lit it, and took a long drag before exhaling slowly. She put the pack and her lighter back in her pocket. “So, when did you get out?”
“A couple of years ago,” Evan said digging his shoe into the ground staring downward. “I’ve been trying to get my act together.”
“I think we all are,” Deliahla said quietly leaning against the cool brick building. “What are you doing these days?”
“I’m working on getting my GED so I can go to college,” Evan said a note of pride in his voice. “I’m going to become a doctor.”
Deliahla stared at him. “Really?”
“Yes,” Evan looked determined. “I want to help people. I want to prove that I can be better than I was before and that I can get my life together and achieve great things. I’m going to prove my family wrong,” he added in a quiet undertone.
Deliahla exhaled a puff of smoke. “That’s a really good job to go for. I’m proud of you.”
“Thanks,” he leaned back against the wall next to her. “What about you?”
“Yeah. Why did you pick up the piano?”
She took a slow drag in the short awkward pause that followed his question. “My grandparents taught me when I was six,” she said finally. “They died when I was seven, didn’t really get back into it then. My parents tried, told me I was a natural, but I never did. Then I joined the gang and well,” she took a drag. “Playing the piano didn’t seem important.”
“What happened to make it important? You were crying at the end of that song you played,” Evan asked curiously.
Deliahla looked at him. “When I got out of juvy, I found out that my parents were dead. They were trying to come visit me or bail me out, I wasn’t really told what happened, when a drunk hit them. He was driving at night without his lights on. It was a head on collision,” she looked away and put her cigarette to her mouth. “It killed all three of them instantly.”
“I’m sorry,” Evan said after a few minutes of silence.
“Things happen when you mess up in life,” she shrugged a shoulder. “I’ve decided to dedicate what’s left of my life to music,” she said tapping the cigarette with one finger to remove the ashes. “I started to teach myself and picked it back up. I miss them like crazy though… and it hurts like hell constantly…” she murmured leaning her head against the building. “You should try patching thinks up with your folks. And even if they don’t reciprocate your attempt, you can say you tried at least.”
Evan nodded slowly. “I’ve been trying, believe me I have,” he sighed. “I won’t stop trying either. Just because they’re refusing to see me for what I’m trying to be and only see me for what I was, doesn’t mean I’m not going to stop.”
Deliahla nodded. “That’s a good state of mind, kid,” she reached over and ruffled his hair. “I’m glad you’ve wised up.”
Evan smiled. “Thanks, you too.”
Deliahla smirked. “I’m a bit late though. By the way,” she pointed to his booted foot. “What happened?”
Evan held up his foot with a grimace. “I run in the mornings now, I slipped and sprained my ankle a few days ago. One of the main reasons why I wanted to check out the carnival, I had to get out of my apartment.”
“That does suck,” Deliahla said, marveling at the changes he had gone through in only a few short years. “I hope it heals quick.”
“Thanks, Deliahla.”
They stood for the next several minutes in a comfortable silence, together contemplating their lives in both the past and what lay before them. “Want to hear something interesting,” Evan said suddenly.
She looked over at him to see that he was staring at a dumpster only a few feet away. “Shoot.”
“I found out why things rust,” he gestured with his chin at the rust covering the bin. “It’s called ‘oxidation’. Well, to be more specific it’s called redox as it’s oxidation-reduction. I learned it in one of my biology courses. Like with iron, it’s when electrons leave the atom and then oxygen takes those electrons leaving the iron looking like that because it now has a positive charge. It happens when fruit gets brown too, that’s oxidation, because the oxygen is taking the electrons.”
Deliahla smiled as she dropped her cigarette and crushed it with her heel. “I don’t understand a word you just said, but I’m glad that school is something you enjoy so much that you remember what you learned just by looking at things.” Evan shrugged a shoulder looking away from her. “It’s not bad,” she shoved his shoulder gently with hers. “My break is just about done, let’s head back in.”
As they headed back inside, Evan bumped her gently with his elbow. “Do you take requests by chance?”
“For the piano.”
“Oh, sure, what would you like?”
“Do you know the second movement of Chopin’s ninth nocturne?”
Deliahla stared at him for a few seconds a little disbelieving. “I didn’t know you knew Chopin?”
Evan smirked. “I’m taking a music class as an elective.”
She smiled. “Alright then. Normally we play jazz here, but I don’t think Jacob would be opposed to something like that.” Moving into the main dining room they made their way to the front where the piano was. Just in front of the stage there were several people arguing with each other. “Oh no,” Deliahla frowned slightly. “They always do this.” She moved towards them to separate them when Evan stepped forward.
“Excuse me,” he said in such a polite voice it made her stare with raised eyebrows. “Would you gentleman please take your controversy elsewhere. There are people who are trying to enjoy a quiet evening here.”
Before the three could pounce on him, Deliahla stepped forward. “We go through this every evening guys. Take your arguments outside.”
“This young punk-!” Shouted the shortest, glaring at Evan with bloodshot eyes.
“He told you what we’re all thinking in a very polite manner,” Deliahla stated shortly. “Now get, before I call over Erik.”
Erik, the large muscled bouncer, looked over at hearing his name and the three men faltered.
“Alright, Del, but just for you and not because that kid said so,” retorted the tallest. The three of them moved grudgingly to the front door just as several people all dressed for the carnival outside, complete with bright colored clothes and masks, made their way inside. As the new customers settled into place, Deliahla turned to Evan.
“I see school has expanded your vocabulary as well,” Evan shrugged one shoulder again then moved to find a seat as Jacob made his way over to them. “Jacob,” Deliahla tilted her head at Evan’s retreating back. “Mind getting him something to drink? Like an apple cider or something? He’s old enough to be here, just not drinking age yet,” she added after seeing one of his eyebrows go up.
“Alright, apple cider coming up. You want some more ‘Sassafras’ as you would put it?”
Deliahla smirked. “Please.” As he walked away she moved towards the piano, murmuring as she did so. “Alright, Chopin’s ninth opus, coming up.” She seated herself at the stool and lightly brushed the keys. She could feel her emotions once again rising to the surface as she thought back to the practices she had with her grandparents and those she could have had with her parents. She took a deep breath, recalling the notes to play for this piece and then began to play, the room going quiet after the first few notes. Allowing herself to be pulled into the music she played, feeling her emotions beginning to spill over as tears welled in her eyes. The soft music floated through the room as she played hushing every other noise. The keys blurred in front of her as tears fell from her eyes, the people in the audience watched her play holding their breath. The room fell into the sorrowful trance that Deliahla had created, all staring in awe at the crying beauty sitting elegantly before the piano.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 11:11:28 PM by Lord Palatine »


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