The house looked cozy from the outside. When Jack walked in, however, his face was met by another wave of cold air, even more frigid than the outside. “Well—at least there’s no wind in here.” Jack laughed.
Mike and Jack sat together on a dusted couch. The heat from the fire could only be felt this close away, the house took some time to warm.
“So, Jack, tell me what you live for, what keeps you alive these days? You got any family?”
This was the first time in a long time that Jack had felt a real sense of happiness. He didn’t understand what he had been missing out on in all that time, interacting with people as friends.
Jack smiled, “I have no family left”. He left the rest of his answer blank.
“HAHAAA! Well—I’m glad that puts a smile on your face.”
“How about you? What keeps you alive?”
“Well…” Mike stayed quiet for a second, thinking. “I guess there’s work. Damn, I can’t wait to go skiing tomorrow! You know they said this might be our last winter on Earth that gives the North good snow. Crazy, right? All right, well, you better get a good night sleep if you want to show me up tomorrow on the slopes, my man! Your bed is right downstairs, first door on the right.” He gave Jack a firm smack on the back and paced—rather quickly—into his room. But, right before he closed his bedroom door he said, “Thank you, Jack, for coming with me here, not too many people to make friends with these days.”
Jack nodded at Mike as he closed his door. Jack thought to himself, I wonder what that was all about… None of my business, I guess. His eyes quickly fell heavy and he passed out into a heavy, dream-filled slumber.
Song and Secret
A ray of light flashed between the window blinds waking Jack up from his long sleep. He hopped right out of bed, stretched and walked over to the window. It had down poured all night. The winter had turned to spring in just a few hours; what was once snow had been melted to piles of slush and pools of water. The sun hadn’t missed a spot.
Jack thought, Well I guess that’s it for skiing—forever.
A feint humming sound caught Jack’s attention from upstairs, he followed the sound. He made his way passed the dusty couch near the fire place, but the sound only grew just a bit louder. It sounded to him as though it may have been coming from Mike’s room, he moved closer. Now, he could hear booming and stomping like Mike was being attacked by some type of burglar. Jack felt awkward opening Mike’s bedroom door.
Should I do it? I mean what if he’s… ughhh. But, what if someone is murdering him? I have to…
He cracked the door open and stepped into the room, heel to toe. And that’s when heard what the sound was, finally. It was a piano. Jack walked into what looked like a storage room with boxes stacked to the ceiling, but what he saw between all of those boxes was Mike playing a beautiful, large red piano. His back was turned to Jack, and he continued to play his song. His feet thrashed against the pedals vigorously, his fingers danced around the keys slapping deep and high notes, arms spread like the wings of an eagle.
“The anger, Mike. You might break those keys.”
Mike paid no mind to Jack sneaking up on him. He answered, “No, Jack, the passion.” And proceeded to play the loveliest melody Jack had ever heard in his life.
“Beethoven?” Jack asked, unfamiliar and uncultured.
Mike put a short pause on his song for a second to say, “HA! No, my own”, then continued playing. “You know Jack, isn’t it funny how things play out? Last night, if I do recall correctly, I had told you that this might be our last winter here, up north. And guess what?! The sun rose this morning with such a temper that he went and burned all the great snow away in just a couple measly hours. Climate change isn’t real! HA! I say, HA! What a joke. Anyway, the weather may have fallen to gloom, but nothing in the world could turn my attitude to ruin today.” Mike’s fingers started to crash upon the piano, each finger stabbed at different keys. “Why? Because today is a great day, my friend.” His fingers now settled and dragged across the keys ever so gently, tentative to each note. Then, he finally finished his song in a slow, saddening set of notes.