The curtain rises. There’s a piano. An empty spotlight cone. And in walks the pianist.
The last people paid their respects and left the room. Under the sudden absence of murmurs and sobs, the silence strained. Like a metal rod being slowly bent beyond its fracture limit. She looked at the table atop which were her father’s ashes in a brown earthen pot. Yesterday a person, today a pile of dust waiting for its absolution in the holy water. The salty air of Kolkata lingered casually by the little open window. The wood studded room shone of her father’s late craftsmanship and smelled like the polish of his passion. His passion to scrape. To carve. To create the most beautiful angles. Wood was like his flux of life and this room, his final words.
Chatter dies as she cracks her knuckles. The intro creeps in like a thin drip of water flowing down the crack in the ceiling, along the walls, filling the room with impenetrable destiny ahead. The melody is slow and mostly empty. During the resonated spaces, her hand gently hovers over the entire range of keys, occasionally bending to touch a few keys here and there in lazy affirmation. One can see the hint of a smirk at the portfolio of her face, bobbing ever so gently, yet never breaking contact with the motion of the fingers.
As she looked at the immovable earthen pot, lifeless like the black sky that holds the slug clouds and the flaunting stars alike, she realized how every passing moment bore some irretrievable burden of fencing holes in her reality until every color drained drop after drop. The clock ticked in black and white successions. The fire crackled lazily like a grey beast half asleep. At last, she decided that she would stand up and break out of this reverie by moving, by walking, by saying something out loud, as if physical non-conformity with the truth could alter her metaphysical reality. She looked at her hand resting on the arm of the wooden chair, but it did not move. It was as if the draining colors had, in an attempt to leave their last mark, painted her body as a picture against the canvas of the still room. And now she had lost all control over her own limbs. Death had finally caught up with her flesh and bones. She only existed as an idea trapped in a mourning room. Her rested hand held her gaze for an indefinite amount of time, before the creak of the door opening behind her sent shivers down her body, as if her mind had, in a moment of dangerous reckoning, deployed waves of anaphylactic shocks to restore her untimely half-death.
She slams her hands against the keys in peculiar fashions. One can see the hint of madness lurking from the edge of her shiny temple. The chords intoxicate the audience like a constant pump of concentrated morphine. The stillness of the chamber stands stunned, while one artist dances along the line that separates woman from beast.
She turned around and merely looked at him as if he were now a new addition to the painting of the wooden room. Clad in remorse for the most part, his eyes had hints of moist unknown emotions that made her look away instantly, almost like a survival reaction. She looked back at him, meticulously avoiding his eyes. She looked at his neck where the skin-cloth bifurcation and its calm demeanor under the white cotton fabric looked to her like a panther’s fur had been redecorated for emotional purposes. He held his pose for a moment or two, as if giving her eyes time to finish their oddly ephemeral quest. And then without notice, he stepped inside, closing the door behind him, restoring full life back into the room with a thud. He walked in gently, mildly aware of his slow pace, as if allowing his feet to live every moment of touch with the wooden floorboard below him. With every step, he inched closer to her and her heart raced against all her commands. Before she could fathom the intensity of the whole process, it was over and he was standing right next to her chair. And then he put his hand on her shoulder and their skins met in the most mundane way, like when an implosion meets its source. The touch sent heavy gushes of life flooding through their bodies, while death remained lingering in the air like the scent of a woman in a room full of men.
Thunder roared across the room as if a gigantic boar of sound was shot, skinned, cut and carved into little hails of destruction and sent around a room full of deeply spellbound people, witnessing a firsthand duet between pianist and death.
His hand merely rested on her shoulder like hers still rested on the arm of the wooden chair. She thought of how her body was almost helplessly at the verge of devoting all her possessions, worldly and otherwise, to him right at this moment. Her pulse’s rhythm. Her naked heart. Her room, her chair, her wood, her hand, her crackling fire, her lost colors. Her floor under his feet. Her shoulder under his hand. Her dry eyes. Her father’s ashes.
And then she slammed at the piano one last time, a muscular stroke of beauty and torture that left its bloody fragrance on the flesh of every person who existed in that room. One can see the outline of a thick vein by the side of her neck, pulsing restlessly, resisting the onset of reality and the end of music.
She knew nothing and felt nothing in that moment. A moment of true neutrality. And yet her biased body, loose in demeanor and relaxed in emotional asphyxiation, fell to one side on the wooden floorboard.