"I brushed my fingers over the cold ivory, suddenly liking the way it felt under my slender fingers, and pressed on the key more toward the middle of the piano." It's the summer of 1918, and Edward is learning how to play the piano.
1. Chapter 1
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I lingered in the chair by the window, my eyes drawn to the sun that was setting outside. The sky was a brilliant canvas of orange and pink, the sun disappearing behind the horizon. I sighed with the knowledge that another uneventful day had passed...boringly. I was another day closer to my eighteenth birthday, another dawn closer to being in the draft – this being the fact that kept me optimistic on such unexciting days.
I sighed again, pulling my eyes away from the window and resting them on the book I was holding in my lap. It was a rather thick book compared to some, and fairly aged looking; it had character for a book, to say the least. I hadn’t actually started reading it yet, putting it off for whatever reason I came up with at the time, but it looked interesting enough. I flipped through the aged pages lazily for what seemed liked the hundredth time in an hour, contemplating whether to finally start it or not.
I gazed at the worn cover, the binding, the pages, before choosing the latter option of putting off reading it. I stared at it for another moment before Mother’s voice floated in from the kitchen, breaking my thoughts. “Edward?”
I stood and tossed the book to the piano resting in the corner of the room, hoping it would land on the top of it. Instead, it skidded across the shiny surface and fell over the edge, hitting the keys. The “chord” rang out in the air, leaving a harsh trace of tension.It was silent for a minute before Mother appeared around the corner. “You know, Edward, you might try playing that one day instead of trying to harm it. And you might try reading that book instead of flinging it at the piano,” she was mechanically drying a cup, her eyes focused on mine. I smiled sheepishly, picking up the book from the floor and setting it down on the piano, where it should have landed in the first place.
“I’ll read it eventually. Father wants me to anyway,” I sighed, fingering the tired corners of the book. Father wanted me to be a lawyer, like him. Being a lawyer never really held any interest for me, though. Honestly, it seemed slightly boring. I tended to shy away from his questions about “taking over the business,” and tried to stay on focus with awareness that I’ll be able to fight in another year. Mother wasn’t very happy about that, of course. I sighed, idly wondering what the book was even about.Mother broke my thoughts. “And the piano, Edward. You should try, really. You would like it a lot. We didn’t get it for decoration, or to have books thrown at it, you know.” Mother smiled and disappeared around the corner.
“Yes, Mother.” I whispered under my breath. The sleek blackness of the grand piano screamed at me to sit down and play. And in a way, I wanted to. The elegance of the black, glossy exterior, and the complicated interior was merely captivating to me. Strange how the piano has stood in the same place for years, silently waiting for someone to play its keys, but I never noticed it – fully – until tonight.I stared at the piano for another moment, deciding if I should try it, like Mother said. She must have known what I was thinking, though – Mother has an odd way of knowing what people are thinking. I inherit that from her. “Do you know middle C, Edward?”
I looked up, but only her voice echoed from the kitchen.I hesitated briefly before answering. “Um…it’s this, isn’t it?” I moved over to the keys and pressed on a note toward the beginning of the row of black and white keys. It was low, but had a certain sound to it. A nice sound. I smiled lightly.
“Too low – go up an octave.” I brushed my fingers over the cold ivory, suddenly liking the way it felt under my slender fingers, and pressed on the key more toward the middle of the piano.“This one?” I called to the wall of the kitchen. This note was sweeter, and sent an air of pleasure through me. I was quickly reconsidering my thoughts on my learning the piano.
“Yes – middle C. Remember that,” I nodded to myself and pressed down on the key again. They were all shining slightly in the supple moonlight and the bright light from lamp. I hit it once more, the note from before blurring in with this one. I trailed my fingers to the right side of the piano – the higher notes, I assumed. I hit one, and a shrill-like note chimed. Each note seemed to bring a different mood through me – this note was sweeter, much happier, as opposed to the note I first played, which sent a thrill of mystery, almost, through me.“High E,” Mother called. I chuckled and ran my fingers the length of the keys one more time.
Smiling, I walked to my room, grabbing the book on the way.***
It was a long time before I fell asleep that night. The notes rang over and over in my head, and mixed with the raging wind through the trees, it made for a cluttered mind. And besides that, the book continued to stare at me, almost as if it was daring me to read it. I decided not to.
The piano, the book – they seemed to hold some sort of importance. The way my mother wanted me to play so badly – she had honestly been pestering me since I was little to “give it a try” – and the way Father tried to force my nose into a book that looked overly written. It was strange quirks like these that kept one up at night, thinking about everything that was utterly possible.
Though I lied in bed for a good amount of time, just thinking, I did eventually drift into a strange sleep.