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Melodie

I perform there every Friday at four pm sharp, the sun baking in the sky and the boardwalk full of sneakers shuffling closer to the piano. The water around us is silent, and listens to the music too. The boats in the background add a touch of scenery for the audience listening to me. The audience is small, about seventeen people. The piano is grand, just sitting on the edge of the boardwalk and if I took a step backwards, I would drown in the water.

Life is completely still as my fingers trample through each key. When I finish, pause. Not a sound of breath or a wave is heard. Now the audience starts clapping politely. Pause. Everyone stares at the seagull that has landed on the piano, and the melody I just created vanishes from people’s minds and they focus on the seagull. The little kids throw breadcrumbs. Parents push plastic chairs back, trying to pry their kids away from the seagull. I slowly walk away to go home.

I love playing the piano, but it gets boring. Seeing the same audience. Playing the same melody. Expecting the pause. Predicting the seagull. Envisaging me walk away. It all takes less than a half an hour.

One Friday, life was not completely still when I played the piano. My melody was interrupted when I heard footsteps of sandals. A girl who I never saw before stood there and paused. Then she sat cross-legged on the boardwalk floor listening to me. She distracted me and I repeated the note, cursing in my head. I finished and another pause occurred. Everyone clapped. A seagull flew on my piano. Everyone forgot about me and paid attention to the seagull. But not the girl, whose oversized brown eyes stared at me acutely.

She returned every Friday in the middle of my melody. She captured my attention because I got the notes wrong and had to compensate for them, trying to make a tune that is still pleasing to hear so I can continue to have an audience. She made me do more work, and at the risk of losing my seventeen people. She wore the same faded blue shorts. Her olive skin glowed under the sun, her frizzy, curly hair unable to be controlled under the scorching air, though.

She annoyed me a little and I almost wanted to barge in her face and snap at her, asking her why she just didn’t just come at four pm to see the performance from the start instead of messing me up. But I didn’t because I was afraid of her. She stood, walked and sat with stiffness and never blinked. And I felt bad for her that her left sandal was missing the strap and her sole was peeling off.

A few weeks later, thirty people congregated in front of my piano and since there were no more plastic chairs, people began to sit on the sandy boardwalk, crossing their legs. That girl returned again in the middle of my melody. How rude.

After the seagull captured people’s attentions, I began to walk home. The audience also left, and the seagull cried out a sound. But after about fifteen steps, I heard music. A melody was playing on my piano, and soft singing went along with it. I turned around and marched back, and my face went still in shock at the olive skinned girl who was invading my piano. Her fingers did not bend and her eyes were bodacious. They’re more like a golden color, when reflected directly under the sun. Her mouth moved softly and the melody she played was similar to the ones that I have played, but not exactly the same.

“That’s MY piano!” I shouted at her. She continued singing, almost “whisper” singing. The chords on the piano became more upbeat but still moved a slow speed. I grabbed her stony hand and whisked it away from the piano. Her hand was colder than ice, although the bright ball that heated the earth was overhead her. She looked up at me, her mouth slightly open on a word and her tongue trembled.

She harshly spat back, “My name is Melodie.”

Pause. We stared at each other for a split second, and it felt like time had stopped. A boat’s flag stopped waving from the wind. The foam at the mouth of the water below us did not move. A seagull did not flap its wings. The sun stopped shining rays. Her eyes burned through mine and she left the piano.
She never came back on Fridays.

I resumed my music, but I repeated the song that she last sang when I forced her to leave. I couldn’t even recall my own melody that I used to play before I saw her. But I had over thirty people visit me at four pm on Fridays now. I now realize who she was, not simply human, not simply a raider, not simply a song, but she was my Melodie.



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