The beautiful, haunting chords of music floated into the night sky. They gripped my heartstrings with their mesmeric and tranquil melody.
This has become my new opium of choice. I went to sleep and woke up with the tunes on constant replay in my head. My sleep was sound and my dreams were blissful. I had taken to humming the tune unconsciously even as I clattered away rapidly on my word processor at work. I was having a love affair.
I took to sitting on the bench under the Maple tree by the Hudson river walk path, right beneath the line of sight of his apartment window, where I permitted the poignant tale by music to soak into my dry, love parched heart. Even my pooch’s ears always twitched in appreciation.
The dips and high notes told a story of strength, of sadness, enduring love and passion.
I didn’t know who the pianist was, but for several weeks, Bella and I would take our walk down to the bay-side just to listen to the love notes of his talented fingers; his music a balm to my bruised soul.
It happened to me by chance. Falling in love with an unseen stranger.
I had grown bored of my usual walk route, my restless spirit decided to try the less trodden river path.
The depth of feelings which emanated from the music that floated down sounded like a version of Marvin Gaye and Barry White blues rolled into one. It was smoky, dreamy, deep and satisfying. I was hooked. Bella yipped softly along to this pure sound of music, her little tail stuck in the air. We were both lovestruck as silent unbidden tears trickled down my cheeks in throes of undistinguished emotions.
Walking down that path became a ritual. A daily fix like an addict, to fingers that coaxed the piano into giving so much and a deep, rich and sexy voice that caused my stomach muscles to tighten. My yearning to see the face behind these beautiful ministrations grew immensely.
I painted a picture of this elusive enigma and my mind willed him to take a look out of his window.
The window directly overlooked the river – with its constant stream of ferries, yachts, gliders and float planes. I was sure that the view would be awesome.
I felt as if the pianist had cast a spell on me; and that I would awaken from my slumber, thoroughly ravished and looking up into the compelling eyes of my lover. I knew that it was just a matter of time.
Our eyes had finally met, held and connected with a sizzle.
That evening, the air smelled like rain, yet I could not resist the siren call of my pianist.
I knew that he would be playing by now, and would be waiting for his one woman and dog audience. Tonight would be different I felt. So, I dressed in my soft cashmere pink sweater, figure enhancing stretch pants, hair packed in a chignon with a few tendrils left out to create a softer look, a dash of shimmery lip gloss and mascara – no saggy old sweatpants and rumpled tee-shirt; no, not tonight.
His apartment block was a flurry of activity. The flashers of an EMS van and a police car lit up the surroundings. Some people were gathered beside the sidewalk observing the goings-on and discussing in hushed tones as a gurney was loaded into the ambulance.
The unidentified victim was covered from head to toe in a white sheet. My ears strained above the din, to hear the sound of music, but the night was still; it was filled with all other sounds except that thrumming that I had grown to love.
I walked across the pavement, studying the faces as I approached, but none possessed the dark piercing eyes which had stared into mine three nights ago.
What happened? I asked one of the ladies out of curiosity. She turned to look at me with a face that looked pinched and eyes filled with despair.
A young man killed himself, she said. I don’t know him very well, but we have shared the lift occasionally and he was always very polite. It’s not so long ago that he moved in here, she continued.
A young man? I repeated. Which apartment? I asked in quiet fear.
502. She replied – pointing up to that window that I had gazed at intensely for the past few weeks.
I stayed up at night to listen to him play. His music touched me, she said. Sometimes, he played till the early hours of the morning. I wonder what was wrong? Why did he not seek help? She asked rhetorically.
He seemed like a beautiful soul. What a waste of human life! She intoned.They said he took poison and called 911.
A buzz was rushing in my head and her voice voiced wobbly in my ears as if it came from afar through a bull horn.
My heart was screaming its pain into my head. This was not how I envisaged it to end. My love affair had been nipped in the bud before its first blossom.
Tonight, I had felt sure that at last, he would invite me into his warm apartment for a cup of hot chocolate. He would play, I would listen and we would get to know each other.
I mumbled incomprehensibly to the lady; looked up at the apartment window for several minutes and with heavy laden feet, I walked into the night.
The wind had picked up, lifting dead, fallen leaves into the air.
Through the whistling of the swaying pines, I could hear his melody carrying through the night, through my heart and buried in my soul.