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Floating World

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Eddy wakes to the sound of the rain drumming lightly against his window and the soft piano from the flat next door. He’s never particularly liked rainy days, a bit too dreary for his tastes. 

He stays in bed for a bit longer than usual. Eddy normally does when he wakes to his neighbor’s piano rather than his blaring alarm. Unable to shake the strong sense of unplaceable nostalgia that washes over him. He tries to remember who or what the rain and Satie’s piece reminds him of, but it escapes Eddy every time. 

As the piece comes to a close Eddy finally pushes himself out of bed. Walking around his messy room, piles of sheet music scattered about, dirty clothes in piles on the floor, and washed clothes not yet tucked away. He tells himself he’ll tidy when Sunday comes, but a part of Eddy knows he won’t. For the past few weeks he’s promised himself he’ll tidy when Sunday comes, and yet several Sundays have come and past and still, no progress has been made towards cleaning his cluttered bedroom. 

When he reaches his small attached bathroom Eddy can hear his mysterious neighbor begin again. Striking each note with a bit of hesitation. There’s a floaty quality about the sound Eddy can’t really place, perhaps it’s due to the music coming through the wall and the way his neighbor holds certain notes, adding silence so the rain may fill those gaps. Either way, he hums along to the quiet piano and thrumming rain as he brushes his teeth.

A memory bubbles to the forefront of his mind. There’s a figure next to him in the bathroom, the two just having woken up and prepared for the day to come. Yet, Eddy can’t seem to place who that person was. But, it’s quite clear they were close.

Breakfast is a quaint affair, some yoghurt and tea to begin the day. Eddy’s neighbor has shifted from playing Satie’s gymnopédies to Debussy’s Suite bergamasque. 

Eddy doesn’t quite notice when he began to finger an accompanying violin to the somber piano that drifts through his flat, but he isn’t quite surprised by the motion either. It feels like a practiced motion like he’s used to filling the elongated silences his neighbor leaves while playing. Now that he realizes it the gaps in the piano are meant for a second player. Though the pieces are meant for solo piano his neighbor leaves space for another. Perhaps for a partner long gone.

Eddy is tempted to get his violin, to play what he was fingering on his forearm. To fill the gaps of his neighbor’s mournful piano. 

Every time he hears the ethereal strokes and hanging silence filled with the rain his heart pulls. Memories of him and this mysterious figure come and go, never staying long enough to see his partner’s face. 

Eddy begins to wander through his flat. Letting the music guide him. Fliting through his living space, as if searching for something. Swaying to the soft lilting music he finds himself in his messy bedroom. He’s found what he’s been searching for, a violin case buried under a pile of clothes. He bends down to unlatch his violin case, pulling the instrument up to rest on his shoulder.

The violin lets out a sharp whine. Eddy winces at the sound, having forgotten to tune his instrument before playing. Quickly tuning the violin Eddy readies himself to join his neighbor’s lonesome piano. 

When he does join the piano stops. Eddy freezes. Wondering if he shouldn’t have joined. If he had accidentally trodden on sacred ground.

These thoughts are dashed when his neighbor instead begins once more, but his neighbor doesn’t return to what he was playing. It’s something familiar. It’s the piece Eddy had begun unwittingly fingered an accompaniment to, Clair de Lune. 

Eddy plays for the first time since he’s left the hospital. His fingers feel stiff but muscle memory seems to keep pace with the slow melodies of the piano next door. The two halves join, fitting nicely together not too dissimilar to a puzzle. Eddy feels like he’s finally home. No longer occupying the space of a long-loved friend and son, but just as himself, Eddy. A place where there are no expectations of him. The only things that matter are him and his neighbor.

They continue for a bit. Until the sun breaks through the grey clouds and the rain stops.

Content with the recent development Eddy packs away his violin and begins to tidy his messy room. Maybe hoping to invite his mysterious neighbor over for a duet someday.

--

Brett sits staring blankly at the shared wall between his and Eddy’s flats. It’s been months since Eddy was discharged, still confused, and unsure of his surroundings. 

It’s been months since Brett started to play at the upright piano between their flats, to see if Eddy still remembers their rainy-day sessions. Every rainy day Brett sits at the piano playing to see if his dear beloved would pick up his violin to make their duet whole again.

And it's finally happened. The dulcet melodies and rhythmic harmonies of Eddy’s violin have finally returned. 

Tears well, and Brett quietly sobs. Finally able to hear his cheerful beloved’s lilting violin again.