Sand squelched between Megan’s toes, gritty and grounding as she waded further from shore. Gentle waves lapped at her ankles, calves, knees, and she simply stared out at the blinding ribbon of pink that encompassed the final chapter of sunset.
Further down shore, Megan could barely make out the gleeful squeal of over-excited vacationers, igniting smoky plumes of bonfire and living these precious few moments of sundown without a care in the world. She envied them.
For her, these final moments of day represented a losing battle—failing health, lost partnership, and the empty pang of a lost love that rattled in her chest like the chirping of cicadas—ever present, unavoidable, and certainly something she could never grow to forget.
It began with a frantic call from the Maestro—a gruff and hurried order to come at once, rousing Megan from a fitful night of sleep with the internal knowledge that you can do anything and this is your big break.
Which of course dissolved into a rocky partnership with him: a selfish, ungrateful prat with blinding blue eyes, soft flaxen hair, and the kind of open, guileless smile that could turn even the Maestro’s willpower to jelly. And this aesthetically pleasing man was all hers, at least for a short while. Because Arthur was talented, too, and when they played together, oh when they played together it was magic.
Megan closed her eyes, and she was transported just as the first note of the violin struck home, sharp and sudden. The stage was warm instead of harsh, the lights focused in a way that haloed Arthur’s hair and made her piano shine. Megan could imagine what they looked like to the people in the back row: two figures, minute, producing more emotion than any organism made ou...
... middle of paper ...
...floating just far enough from shore that no well-intentioned passer-by might bear witness to her anguish.
She thought again on Arthur, and of the soft, pleasant glow of their sparse university practice room—homey upright, slightly out of tune, worn, loved, accompanied by a small stand which stood with the promise that its player would never play alone.
But she was alone, here on this beach, as she thought on the keys of her keyboard—each of which were perfect and adorable and always grinning up at her—of the lazy twirl of chords and the sneaky quirk of semiquavers as they sank into her hair and clothing like rich perfume.
These memories should appear tainted by the brilliance of stage, of Arthur, of his, “No, Megan, we can’t keep on doing this. You can’t keep on improvising!” And instead they glowed sharper and clearer than ever.
And in that moment, Megan smiled.
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