Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
His left hand reached for the door handle while his right wrapped around my own. The room he led me into appeared simultaneously empty and full, bright and dark. Through an open window I smelt the night air and the clarity of the sky made it seem possible for me to reach out and grab the moon.

He sat me in an armchair and gently released his grip. His footsteps echoed into the ‘dead space' of the high ceilings as he made his way over to the grand piano, the centerpiece of the room, which was planted on a heavy circular carpet. With a match, he lit three candles on the candelabra situated atop of the lid. It was as if the fire from the flames roused the piano from a sleep, its glossy black finish now gleamed as it reflected the light.

I watched as he sorted through papers. He began playing and, though I was no expert, I realised his fingers pressed the keys with a certain level of mastery. First slow and choppy, then a melancholic melody haunted the air in the room.

I sat in stillness, moved by the music. He was not posing at the piano and seemed to play neither to impress me, nor to satisfy some inner vanity. I felt his own humanity rise as the music climaxed and then slid, reaching its last breaths. In that moment, I felt a will to be nowhere else in the world. All that I was and all that I had been through with him was justified, because it had gotten us to this point.

"You play and words lose their power," I said.

He turned his head to meet my gaze. His eyes gave nothing away and it was as though his soul remained in a parallel universe. Then a soft smile reached his lips.

"I'm glad you liked it," he replied.

I knew love's pain but had never experienced it like this. As my dream ended I woke up, a million miles away from the music.