A Man For All Seasons

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A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Harold was already at his keyboard by the time the first drops of the audience found their way into the blackbox. They had come for the play, directed by Harold’s brother and starring the mediocre local amateurs, but they were early and they didn’t seem particularly aware of Harold’s presence playing away on stage. Maybe they hadn’t received the email that the director’s sad sack musician brother was going to play a set before the first act tonight. Maybe they thought it was just someone practicing. Either way it didn’t matter, Harold decided, if that was their attitude then he wouldn’t be particularly aware of their presence either.
Harold suspected that everyone knew he was the director’s brother and dismissed him as a favor. As he unloaded his keyboard from the back of his car, the early December air nipped at his nose and ears. It didn’t smell of good smells like burning hearths; it smelt of nothing, indicated no season and for that Harold felt cheated. He loved to smell the changes in season. He liked to think he was in tune with nature and he smelt the changes, and imitated them on his piano. For the fall, the songs’ notes ranged as much as the leaves’ colors did. In the winter, they stayed low like the deep, smoky smell of winter and muffled like the snow kissing the treetops as it falls. For the spring, Harold plinked across the middle-high rainy notes and for the summer, he played high, sun-tired songs whose tempo mirrored the lazy rhythm of the season. This air gave him nothing. With such a neutral odor, Harold couldn’t feel a song. He would have nothing particularly potent to play his audience that night.
As it turned out, as the meager audience settled in their seats, they didn’t seem to notice his presence at all. But still, Harold didn’t mind. He bowed his head and closed his eyes, tensed his arms up at his shoulders and played the nothing day anyway.
Harold painted a picture on the back of his eyelids. He saw an audience who had come to just hear him. They were rapt. And their number was swelling - seats were filling with fans and rows of more seats with more fans sprung forth and all the fans were listening, starry eyed as Harold played. Harold work clothes transformed into tight, black jeans and a tight, black shirt. His fingers pumped up and down the keys, weaving high notes with lows, slowing down and speeding up. He didn’t have a sound or feeling in mind, he was playing the song as it came to him and shaking his head and tapping his foot and pressing the keys with hungry fingers.

Harold stopped playing and snapped his eyes open. His robust, attentive crowd gave way to the handful of people in the audience talking to each other and saving seats, waiting for the show to start. Offstage to Harold’s right his brother signaled they were ready to begin. Harold shut the top to his keyboard and went up to the microphone at the mouth of the stage. He tapped it four times before the audience looked up at him and then he told them, “The show’s about to start.”

THE END





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