Jack opens the door, ‘It’s in here I think…’.
They step into the room.
Craig looks around.
In the middle of the room, stands the piano…
The memories come flooding back; Hours sitting, forgetting the world, fingers living the music, every inch of him becoming the scales, moments of truly living. Memories of playing for her, her skirt floating as she danced, or playing just hoping she would visit.
Jack walks across the room and lifts the lid, ‘It is the piano, isn’t it?’.
‘Yes it is, it is…’ Craig says walking around the piano and then absent-mindedly touching the keys.
‘You should keep it mate,’ Jack says, ‘It’s probably worth something. I have to clear the building by the end of the week. Has your dad still got the van?’
Craig looks up, ‘Yes, he’s still got it…’ He runs his fingers over the keys again. He can see her hair pulled back, her feet moving across the floor, black shoes and bar legs, eyes that could steal your heart… ‘and did’ he thought. She would sit and watch him across the marble floor, and he would play and watch her in return whilst playing, she would smile and then after a drink she would dance and the world would watch. In time others would dance, but it was like it was just him and her, and him and her, and him and her…
She would always leave before his set finished, but she would return.
Craig steps back and the keys go silent. ‘I don’t really play live anymore, I wonder if it’s a bit of a thing of the past.’
‘Well it’s yours if you want it, it looks beautiful.’ Jack says, still poking around inside, looking into the grand piano. ‘Why did you stop playing? When we were kids we could never pull you away, we always joked you were married to your piano! Did you finally grow up, or just get old?’
Craig laughs, ‘I think I had to grow up really, I needed regular money. The teaching job is full-time plus if you get me, I’m not sure long nights getting paid nothing was sustainable forever.’ But that wasn’t the real reason, Craig thinks to himself, the real reason was that she stopped showing up, and the music stopped with her, the excitement, the moments thinking of her. She just stopped…. And in time the music stopped…. That’s the truth…
Jack pulls out a scrap of paper from inside the piano. ‘One of your admirers?’ he laughs and passes the piece of paper to Craig. Craig stares at it…. Slowly reading it and then reading it again… ‘I am the one who dances in the black dress, do you think of me? Call me…
Craig just keeps staring at the tattered paper in his hand, and the hand-scrawled words.
‘You alright mate?’Jack says.
Craig stares and says nothing…