Afternoon Sun [Short Story]

She put her fingers to the keys wondering if she had lost it. She lets a note ring; it was almost too loud for the deafening silence in the empty room.
     “See?” she thinks as she pushes down on a chord. “It’s just like riding a bike.”
     She wasn’t really surprised; she’s been playing for years and no day would go by without practice. She had just never played on this particular piano before, well, played like herself at least.

* * *

It was her first day in the senior high at a new school. She’s been used to moving around a lot, or at least that’s what she tells everyone. This time, however, she couldn’t help but feel completely out of place.
     She walks into an empty music room, that same afternoon, and slumps down behind the piano. She had just learned that the school didn’t have a school band or a music club she could join. She stared out the window and listened to the din out in the yard.
     The sound of a doorknob turning startled her. She turns to see a boy at the door.
     “Oh! E-excuse me. I didn’t think there would be anybody here.” He stammers, his face looking as surprised as hers. The boy walks toward the piano. “I’m usually the only one who hangs out here after school.”
     He sits beside the girl and turns the lid on the piano. He was smiling now. Without second thought, he starts to play Fiona Apple’s Pure Imagination.
     The boy seemed to have lost himself– forgetting that he wasn’t alone. The girl could’ve sworn it was the afternoon sun, but the boy’s face was brighter as he played. She wondered if she looked as happy as he does when she played.
     “That was wonderful,” she whispered almost accidentally as the boy finished.
     “I could teach you,” the boy offers. She stays silent but she nodds.
     And so, for the next three weeks, every day after school, she would come to the music room and “learn” piano from him.

* * *

Again, she plays a chord, and another, then intricate arpeggios and ostinatos.      Before she knew it, she was playing like she usually would. She keeps her finger on the last note. Then, silence.
     A clap almost made her jump off her seat. She turns to see the boy.
     “I-I thought you couldn’t make it today?” she asks, surprised.
     “I thought I couldn’t,” he says simply and walks to sit beside her.
     “You aren’t mad?” The girl asks guilty.
     “You want to know why I learned piano?” asks the boy instead. “On the last day of the middle school,” He didn’t wait for her response. “I had wondered into the music room and saw a girl at the piano. I watched as she played and thought that the only way I could talk to her was if I could play as well as she did; so I practiced all summer. Little did I know, however, that I had to move away before school started; before I could play for her.”
     “So you knew?” The girl asked, confused, “And I was that little girl?”
     “I had my doubts,” the boy answers, “until I saw you shining like the afternoon sun.”


Word count: 545

A friend noticed that I would usually write my first person narratives as a female character. So instead of indulging him and writing in a first person narrative with a male voice, I instead wrote a third person narrative, still with a female protagonist. Also, I did try to cut down the word count to at least 500 and I probably will in the future, but for now I can’t be bothered.

For some reason, while I was writing this, the song I imagined the girl playing Favorite Things from The Sound of Music.


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