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How Was Your Day?
They were quick and to the point, yet the melody lingered, bouncing off the walls. Like thin pieces of thread, each note delved deep, pushing past my ears and down into my chest to twine and tangle ‘round my thudding heart. They had me hooked and began to reel. Another note, another step down the hall and around the corner.
But then my eyes caught him.
He was bent over the keys, appearing as though he was watching his hands like a hawk, but I knew too well. Even from my distance and past the curls of dirtied blonde hair I saw his chocolate eyes to be closed. He needn’t dwell over which keys his fingers struck or whether the next part was going to make sense or not, for this was not the work of the mind. There were no calculations to the rhythm or to the notes. Even then as I thought, which was difficult to do underneath the spell the tune cast, I could not imagine any work of art being born from cold calculations nor from methodical and meticulous thought. How lifeless would a work of art be if that were the case?
Where art is concerned there is nothing but pure feeling.
Where Timothy was concerned there was no thought.
For so long I stood transfixed, my feet nailed to the floor with the sheer power. The piano always had a way with me. So simple and mysterious my lover was, and every time I ever drew near or happened to hear its sweet sounds I was enveloped in complete wonder and bliss. It called to me. It demanded my attention. It grabbed me by the very heart and yanked me forth mercilessly. I could not stop it. I did not want to. Now much like my beloved piano the very boy I had once spilled ice cream on drew me to him like the powerful undertow of the sea. He and the piano was the ocean. Each roll of notes a cresting wave that crashed and rushed up upon the land. Cool, nimble hands grasping at the sand and pulling bit by bit back into it. I continued my approach forward. I could never understand Timmy. In our thoughts we seemed completely different. I couldn’t understand why he did some of the things he did, though I knew the confused feeling was mutually felt. I never could sum him up.
And that was where I stood at fault.
I kicked mindlessly at the water each and every time, never bothering to truly understand the ways of the tide, until I drowned. I banged away at keys, furiously guessing and contemplating what would sound good, until I broke down to tears. Good. What was good? Could I not just play what I felt? Just what was I looking for? It never appeared to give me any sort of satisfaction. It was at that moment as I watched him vomit his thoughts out onto the keys that I truly realized. I cannot fight feelings. I cannot fight the piano. I cannot fight my heart. I cannot fight Timothy. With every thought I had to bring against him, each question, I drowned instantly. I was lost. I simply could not let go.
How could I ever sum up the piano, what it made me feel, and how it worked far beyond its simple mechanics?
Like the piano, whose keys I abused for so long, I would have to let go of every question and every thought before playing before I could ever feel anything proper.
Before I could Truly Live.
I would succumb to him. I would put forth trust. No calculations or worries. I would take and accept his feelings with no rhyme or reason just like he would mine. He always has, and he always will.
The tune grew frantic. My heart grew frantic. His hands hurried this way and that. He had always been there. Always listened to whole lines of rambled junk I didn’t even really want to say. What I wanted to say was so much different. I wanted to say that even with all the questions and misunderstandings I had developed, I could never imagine him any other way. I would never want him any other way, because in him was so much life so many take for granted. He did what he needed, said what he wanted, and accepted. He just lived. He didn’t ask questions whereas I always wondered or wished for more detail. I wanted to tell Timothy that since I met him I’ve felt more alive than I had in a long while. He and the piano. They were life. They helped me let go. They aided me in taking a step back from it all. Everything that was simple and free and wanted was in Timothy. He woke parts of me that had been sleeping. I felt for him. Not desire, or lust, but pure love. Nothing of astronomical proportions. It was not the kind of fairytale love nor the kind seen in romance movies. It was simple and quaint, derived from a friendship. Almost, I began to think, like mutated love of a friend, for it did not feel much different. I never wanted to turn my back on him. I desired to be there for him. To be with him. My desires for him weren’t very different from any of my other friends. Why would they? I simply wished to surround him with the same support he gave me, as with all of my friends. Because of him and newly discovered friends, I was happier than ever.
The only difference was…a feeling. Even as I felt it, I doubted I would ever be able to explain it. I didn’t mind.
I didn’t want to question. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to worry.
My fingertips dared to touch the smooth, varnished edge of the piano. He shifted, but did not look up. Did he know who it was? Had he, once again, expected and knew all along whom it was that was going to come? Perhaps he was simple uncomfortable. Perhaps his leg fell asleep.
More importantly, did I care?
He held me prisoner just like the piano did. This I accepted.
I sat beside him and the world he had engulfed himself in. I knew the feeling well, and I could spot it a mile away. When a person sits at the piano, a bubble, if you will, suddenly arcs over, and within this bubble is all the bliss, the feeling, and the thrill. No one can help but get lost. Wasn’t that the main purpose…to lose yourself for a little while? There was just enough room for the both of us on the seat, and my shoulder brushed his. I had entered his world. Thus I had entered his full awareness. The storm of music subsided, reduced to a calm sprinkling shower, as he shifted his head toward me ever so slightly. We didn’t speak, but we exchanged our hellos. He continued to play as I watched his hands absently, taking in every strain in his muscles and every change in the shadows upon the top of his hand caused by the movement of his fingers. The skin was dry and his fingers were rough with calluses. They were beautiful. I’m sorry for everything I might’ve said out of angry impulse. Sorry for mistrusting. I say one thing when I mean another. I have put upon you my many worries. I have shown the cynical side of me, for better or for worse. I do not mean to doubt you. I know in time things may change. He had heard me ask for forgiveness before. I didn’t expect him to think it anything new if I said it from under the quiet melody. Whether it was for the right reasons or not, I did. It was not fair for me to say such things, but this was not the time. What’s needed apologizing for has been, and I meant to say more than just hollow pleas for forgiveness. Never once had he held me in contempt.
Instead of speaking, a hand came from my lap and rested on the keys. I played. At the first note, which fell in with his, Timothy looked up. He stared at my hand a moment before glancing to me and catching my eye. He had given me permission to remain there in his world, but only now did he no longer treat me like an object in back. I was beside him and taking him aback a little. He looked back down and moved to the lowers noted keys, giving me room. I didn’t ask if I could. I didn’t stop playing. Instead of silly words we just played in the comfort and company of each other’s silence. For that little moment time could have stopped. It did for all I was concerned. It seemed that we understood more then than we ever had before. The music I played was my voice, and the music he played his. We danced with one another. We spoke. All I needed was the slight brush of his shoulder and the keys before me. The first human sound to shatter the silence was a slight huff of a laugh. He nudged my shoulder as he slowed to a stop. He pressed a few keys, but looked to my hands. I smiled, playing along. I based my moves around his and vice versa. It was a fun game. Once again he was able to make me smile. He had the gift of evoking both happy and tearful thoughts within me. I was always torn between the two, but a single smile was well more than enough to last me an entire day.
Who said anyone needed fervent kisses, mindless clutching and grasping, or sex even to form a strong love? Who said anything less was weak? Are they not both just as passionate and satisfying if they both have feeling? Some of the simplest of things can evoke the greatest of emotions. This was much more than a drawn out, messy, and hormonal make-out session. In my mind I thought, what could be any better than this? No amount of wishy-washy, immature, irrational kissing or nastiness could ever match. I mean not to be misunderstood, for not all things of that nature are in fact mindless or devoid of any true love; however, I see simpler things just as grand and awe-inspiring when fed the same affection. I wished to tell him how I liked him and how much I appreciated him, but all of this said enough. Besides…why spoil it? I can help but feel my smile grow a little glum. It was quite bittersweet. If nothing more could ever become, well, I would rather die than sacrifice the great friendship. He was there and he was true. I knew I could trust him, and I’d rather not ruin anything by pressing any matters of the sort. If he knew or had an inkling of his own, so be it. I was neither hid nor pursued. I continued and will forever continue being what I am to him: a friend. I find myself more than satisfied even by that. It was a minor torture I was willing to take. It was, after all, but an annoying itch or ache to me when it all came down to it. So long as everything stayed open.
Before long, my left hand was arrested by one of his own resting atop it. He was smiling slightly, and I was glad to have brightened up his day a little. It was most likely a mix of both the piano and myself, but I was happy either way. “Hey,” he said quietly, moving his right hand off my left to tousle my hair. My hair was messed, but I didn’t mind.
“Hey,” I said, “How was your day?”