Now she darts a glance at me as if to ask, What, you laughing at me?
No, I wish to say. What I want is... Well, I am not really sure: perhaps, just to lay my head here, on your shoulder. Perhaps, to lean my brow against your lips. Perhaps, to touch the tiny freckles on your cheek. Above all else, I want—but cannot bring myself to tell you—I really want to hear you laugh.
Just like here, this note. Listen, can you hear it? This soft sound, rolling, rising, ringing up here?
Anita shakes her head, as if she could detect the whisper, the quiet whisper of my thoughts. To me, her pose is so alluring when she bends down to the floor, in the shadow of the piano, to pick up some crumpled piece of paper. Then she starts twisting away under me. For all I know, she is aiming to get up, to leave me here, alone.
Is this a game she is playing with me? I do not have the faintest idea. But if it is, perhaps I can beat her in it.
So then, bang! I pound the keys, this time fortissimo—with full strength!—as if to cry, Stop! No more darkness, no more gloom! There’s a thud, there’s a boom! Hear this, right here? Hear my voice? Tell me, Yes—you have no choice!
And before this phrase fades out Anita straightens her back, and places her hand on the keys. Then, to my astonishment, she plays the next phrase of music, this time with raw, intense force, which I never knew existed in her, bringing it to the verge of destruction, making it explode all around me. And I, in turn, explode with the following one, because how can I let her outdo me? I am, after all, The Entertainer...
Here I come! Here I drum! No more woes. Let me close! Let me in, hold me tight! Don’t resist me, do not fight—
Ben in The White Piano (included in Apart From Love)
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