Still Life with Strings (39 page)

BOOK: Still Life with Strings
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Bringing my attention
back to the stage, I meet Shane’s gaze, his bow sawing into the strings in
quick, vigorous movements. I mouth the word
at him, apologising
for my unexpected lateness. He only smiles with warm eyes in return, a smile so
hot it makes me feel a burning underneath my skin. Whoa, he really is sexy when
he’s up there performing. There’s a sheen of sweat on his brow, but that only
adds to his appeal.

I relax back into my
seat, unable to close my eyes and let the music wash over me because I simply
can’t stop staring at him. He’s wearing a perfectly tailored suit with a white
shirt, the first two buttons undone, no tie. The vision of his exposed neck
causes all sorts of vivid images to corrupt my thoughts.

He walks across the
stage, playing his part effortlessly, like it’s second nature. The piece of
wood resting beneath his chin is his glittering soul in tangible form, an
expression of all he has felt and all he has experienced. He may be playing
music composed almost three hundred years ago, but this is his interpretation,
and it is an expression of this very moment. It makes me imagine things most would
deem impossible, and that’s why it reassures me. I glance down at the hand
resting on my lap and smile. One of those diamonds that fell from the sky
outside the tattoo parlour that time made friends with some eighteen-karat gold
and found its way onto my ring finger.

Standing at the very
edge of the stage as the piece come to its dramatic finish, Shane is watching
me still.

I hope he never stops.



A single raindrop falls
on my head, but I don’t wipe it away. Statues can’t wipe away the rain, after all.
A light shower came down, covering my body in a delicate coat of water. No
matter. The sun is peeking its face out over the clouds. If I stand here long
enough, I’m sure it will dry me off.


Somebody drops a few
coins in my hat and walks away. A pity they were in such a hurry to move on, or
I might have bestowed them with a precious blue feather.

I decide it’s time for
a change of position as I slowly raise my arms into the air. I hold them out on
either side of my body, like I’m mimicking the branches of a tree. It’s a
difficult position to hold for very long, but the best for getting dry.

Earlier today I got a
surprise to find Patrick sitting in my living room. Alec had let him in. We
hadn’t heard from him since I sent him off to rehab, and to be honest, I had no
clue whether or not he stayed the duration or quit. I decided to avoid calling
to check up on him, because the responsibility was on him to get better. In the
back of my mind I never thought he would actually stick it.

As I joined him on the
couch, I marvelled at his well-put-together appearance. I mean, it actually
looked like he’d been showering regularly. His complexion was brighter than I’d
ever seen it, and his eyes weren’t as dull as they’d been before. We talked for
a long time, him telling me about his journey to sobriety and how he stayed
away until he knew he was on the straight and narrow. He’d been on the housing
list for a while but finally got allocated a small one-bedroom apartment in
Harold’s Cross. I did my best not to well up when he took my hands in his and
told me it was all my doing. If I hadn’t told it to him straight that night, he
probably never would have realised he needed to make a change.

Alec was unusually
silent throughout the exchange, too shocked at his father’s dramatic turnaround
to speak. Avery, who’s been a regular visitor to our house in recent months,
stood by his side, holding his hand. Seeing my brother happy is the greatest
gift in the world.

It seems it’s true that
leopards can change their spots. Not too long ago I’d considered Patrick a
complete and total lost cause. Now look at him.

Rays of sunlight shine
down, breaking through the clouds, the warmth caressing me in my damp costume,
drying the sodden feathers of my wings. Somewhere on the street, music trickles
its way into my consciousness. A lullaby in strings. It’s the song Shane heard
in his head as we made love, so sweet and soft yet full of unspoken

Out of the corner of my
eye I notice a bird land on my outstretched arm. I’ve been so still that it
must have thought I really was a tree and not a human at all. Too curious, I
turn my head to the side and gasp in surprise. Sitting happily on my arm is a
blue sparrow, a bird that must be rare because I’ve never actually seen one in the

Oh, wow. I don’t think
I ever want to move again.

The bird flaps its
wings and takes flight, sailing off into the great big sky. I imagine it’s an
incarnation of my Sparrow, flying happy and free under the golden sun. Reaching
around to my wings, I pull a feather out and make a wish that one day she’ll
get born into a happy life with a happy ending while I seek my own in this one.
Somewhere, someday, Sparrow will die an old lady surrounded by the ones she
loves. I release the feather and it floats away. I keep watching it until it’s
nothing but a speck of blue far, far, in the distance. Now I’m still again,
never moving, not an inch. Come and see the Blue Lady — you’ll get a feather
for your trouble.

Shane’s violin plays on
and I savour the melody. I wonder if I have taught him something about life
like he wanted me to. All I know is that I’ll never let him try to silence his
music again. Looking off into the sky where the blue sparrow has now
disappeared, I wrap this one moment in a box and stick it with a label.

It reads, “The Most
Beautiful Way to Live.”

Thank you for reading.
Please consider supporting an indie author and leaving a review.

About the author


L.H. Cosway has a BA in
English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation and an MA in Postcolonial
Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from
music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing,
dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.
You can contact her at
[email protected]




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BOOK: Still Life with Strings
9.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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