The sorrowful melody of the piano shattered the eerie silence that hung over him. There had been no sound for some time; it had felt like forever.
But maybe, how much longer is forever than mere seconds in the mind of a tattered person? His breathing was shallow, inaudible, the beating of his heart slow.
He should have been able to hear them, but he didn’t. The ringing in his ears never went away.
Not until a small ray of sunshine broke the darkness and that first beautiful note of the keys of the piano was played.
Suddenly, he could hear his own breathing and his heart beating faster, thundering inside his chest. The melody turned from sorrowful to desperate. No hope; nothing. It was devoid of light.
There was no darkness in the room, but there was inside his soul and that melody of the piano.
His fingers moved slowly over the keys, trying to keep the melody together, make him feel something, anything… There was nothing more there.
Inside his mind there was chaos, despite his silence, despite his lack of feelings.
How long had it been since he had talked? Probably almost a year… He knew the exact time, but he didn’t dare think of it.
The melody was coming to an end. It grew more desperate. Jay swore he could hear the angels humming it along with him playing it. There was something magical about that piece.
It was a piece that she had composed.
And then it grew slower. And slower… Until the sound ceased completely. The silence was back once again to haunt him. He wiped his dry eyes, that felt swollen and got up from the chair.
He got away from the piano. He got away from her legacy, the pieces of her soul that still lingered there.
Jay bit his lip hard, until he could feel the metallic taste of blood filling his mouth. He needed to distract himself with physical pain.
It was better than just waiting for the memories to come back again, flooding his mind like merciless waves.
He closed the door behind him, exiting the room, and leaving the dusty piano alone once again to its dreaded solitude.
He was alone too, and even though everyone noticed, they did nothing to make him feel better. It was all fake words, ones the air would have no trouble swaying away; they meant nothing.
He only had the piano, his one last memory of her.
Jay walked slowly back to his room, stumbling here and there. His vision was blurry; he hadn’t slept for days on end. The black nags under his eyes had grown numb.
Everything inside him had grown numb. He didn’t care. He didn’t care for anything at all. The one person he had cared about had been taken from him as if she had never been important.
It had been taken from him so easily in just a moment. In an eternity that lasted no longer than a second.
And he was left all alone.
His room was an impersonation of his mind. Everything was messy. There were photographs all around him, some torn, some intact and others crumbled.
Many drawings of the same person, all smiling like she was truly happy, because back then she had been, many unfinished and the ones left on the floor were smudged.
A lone crimson rose lay inside a broken glass vase. It had wilted along with its owner. Some of its petals were detached and the others were leaning down, like they were weeping.
It had accepted death like a gift, when it was truly a curse for the ones left behind.
Jay sat on his bed and fell back on the cold pillows that had been the receivers of many punches and tears in the past. He closed his eyes; he was tired.
Soon, the veils of a troublesome nightmare had their threads around him. ***
The voice of a girl was heard. It was a low and calm voice but Jay heard her either way, even though he was far away.
The girl not older than 25 years old sat there with a smile on her face as she was kneeling before a rose with a butterfly resting on it.
“It’s so pretty.”
She whispered entranced by the black butterfly with the white details adorning her fragile wings that relaxed softly on the petals of the red rose.
Jay inched closer to her and kneeled beside her, taking a look at the small butterfly that fluttered her wings when it noticed him looking at it as well.
“You look exactly like it.”
Jay said and nodded towards the black and white dress that she had been wearing. Her slightly tanned skin shimmered under the sunlight making her look like a beautiful fairy.
Did you know? Fairies are not those small creatures with wings that jump around the woods. Fairies are beautiful ladies that sing like angels and dance around like butterflies.
She smiled even more and looked at him right in his eyes. They were shining like priceless diamonds even though they were brown. Jay smiled as well.
He liked seeing people happy, people he loved and cared about.
He took out his phone and tapped on the camera button, eager to take a photograph of the butterfly before them.
“Maybe you should just live the moment instead of taking a photo of it. Nothing is more beautiful that the scene itself.”
She said and nudged him on his shoulder just as he pressed the button to take the photograph.
The butterfly flew away. The rose was left alone.
“Nini, it came out blurry.”
Jay pouted and she broke into a silent laugh as she saw the blurry photo of the butterfly. It was a smudged portrait of a red rose and something that looked black and white ready to fly away.
It had its own beauty in a way.
“Sorry.” Nini smiled and cut the rose. It was all alone, everything around it was dry. It had been the only flower to survive the fire on that forest.
So it won’t have to live alone, they shortened its lifespan.
“Let’s go, Nini.”
Jay said and got up, dusting off his pants. Nini followed right beside him.
Everything was blurry for a while. Everything was normal. Until that fateful turn and that drunken driver. In one moment everything in the world was painted red like the rose on that photograph.
Red and black and white.
And then there were tears. And screams. And last hugs.
Jay kept hugging Nini’s lifeless body until she grew cold, until her lips turned blue and her eyes wouldn’t shine anymore.
His throat was dry and he couldn’t hear anything besides the thumping of his heart and heart-wreching clamors.
Because there was nobody else there, he realized it was he who was screaming.
And then, he woke up. He was drenched in sweat. He brought his hand to his neck and touched his rough skin.
He couldn’t talk anymore.
Unable to utter even a word.
He started to tighten his grip around his neck, until he had trouble breathing.
The echo of a laugh that resembled an angel’s.
He let go and fell back on the sweaty pillows panting.
'Maybe I should have been the one to die.'
That was his only thought. But it was okay… He wanted everyone else to be happy…
Even if he was the only one suffering.