Happy, For Now

I sit on the piano bench, let loose my fingers on the black-and-white keys. For a moment I feel detached from myself – listening to the music as if I’m not the one creating it. The melody washes over me. I breathe slowly, feeling a powerful calm, treasuring the moment.

Two songs later I pause for a break, and he takes advantage of the moment to say, “You should stop now.”

I feel my face flush. “I know.”

He stares at me, amber eyes burning, and gives a wry smile. “You aren’t going to stop, are you?”

I laugh and lay my fingers back onto the keys. Another song fills the air, charged with sorrow and pain, almost haunting. I fumble on some of the notes, the piece still new to me, and struggle to turn the pages of my sheet music while retaining the heavy emotional mood.

Behind me he says, “You’ll pay for it later.

I ignore him and continue on. I wish he would make himself useful and turn the pages for me.

When at last I land on the final tragic chord I look over at him and say angrily, “I’m not stupid.”

“You sure look like it,” he retorts. “What are you doing with yourself?”

“Making myself happy,” I reply. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Making yourself happy? You won’t be happy tonight when your shoulder hurts so bad you can’t sleep. You’re an idiot.”

I’m happy right now,” I say. “Isn’t that enough? Wouldn’t you rather be happy now and miserable later than miserable all the time?”

He quiets for a moment. “I don’t understand how you live,” he says.

For some reason I find the statement ridiculously funny. “I don’t understand how I live either,” I say amusedly. “But why do I have to try to understand anything? Why can’t I just live?”

He reddens and looks away. “If you’re going to keep playing, shut up and play.”

I shut up and play, and the day wears on.