The Solo

His fingers went over mine,

Like we were two pieces of a puzzle.

Our music filled the whole house

As he moved me to the quiet rhythm.

I left the windows open

As the thick Summer heat raided our town.

We sat sipping lemonade

On our front porch as the phonograph played.

Youths carried ice on their backs,

Running down the New Orleans street in rags.

Babies cried from carriages,

Adding to the quick tempo of our lives.

We danced the Charleston

As the over-bearing sun glimmered down.

We licked our vanilla ice cream,

As we frolicked around the French Quarter.

Days were filled with reckless joy;

Nights were a flurry of boas and rum.

We were drunk on that city,

And the joy of having someone to love.

He brought me music to play–

Obscure pieces that got my blood boiling.

He embraced the sad artist,

The girl who was free and lovely and broke.

We played in bars together,

Struggling to pay bills and keep the house.

A house to host fine parties,

To raise the children I wanted to have.

A talent show was coming,

So we practiced together, day and night.

We drank our rum while singing

Age-old French songs we learned from the locals.

Just a week before the show,

He drove into town to get some supplies.

I practiced while he was gone,

Thinking little of his lengthy absence.

Then an Officer came by,

Asking about my wonderful husband.

His face was grave and worn-out,

As if he wished he did not have to come.

When he told me, I fell down;

I had lost my will to stand and fight back.

I was obliterated,

Wrecked by the death of the person I loved.

When I could stand up again,

I ran from the man with Death on his lips.

I locked myself in the house,

And cried until my eyes burned savagely.

Life was blurred with words and tears;

The days passed agonizingly slowly.

The talent show came around,

But I was certain that I wouldn’t go.

I gazed at our fine piano,

Wondering what he would have wanted.

I hadn’t played since he died…

But something in my soul said it was time.

I sat on the creaking bench,

Closed my burning eyes and took a deep breath.

I fingered those yellow keys,

And in that moment it was like he was there.

Then I played my first solo,

Since the day that I met that crazy boy.

A piece of my heart was healed,

And I rested well, knowing he was safe.


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