Dante pressed his finger against the piano key. The sound echoed in the silence. He looked to the door. No one was coming. He was finally alone. He couldn’t keep his heart from racing. He wasn’t supposed to use the new piano, but he needed something to take his mind away. He played another note, then another, and another. His fingers slid through the white keys like water through rocks. The notes floated and blended into each other. The music seemed to take a life of its own. It enticed him like a siren. The notes danced around him. Their warmth crawled onto his skin. He could feel their hands on his cheeks as they cupped them and whispered.
He closed his eyes yet the melody didn’t stop. His fingers seemed to know what to do. The image of a woman came to his mind. Each note painted a streak onto her body. He pressed the keys and she opened her eyes, green emeralds. Another note flowed from the piano. Golden hair cascaded from her head an onto the floor. With another, a green dress covered her and her skin shone like gold. She smiled through red lips. Her feet touched the floor and spun. The notes swirled around her. She danced with them and watched as each one made its way back to the piano. The song ended. He opened his eyes.
A woman gasped as she pushed herself off the floor. Dante fell back. His head hit the wall. He held back a scream. The woman looked around as she grasped the floor. Her body was shaking. He could not take his eyes off her. She looked exactly like the music. It couldn’t be. Perhaps he had just hit his head with too much force. Perhaps the lack of sleep had finally caught up to him.
Her eyes fell on him. She gasped and so did he. She was real. “What?” He muttered.
“What?” The woman repeated. Her voice was soft and smooth. She scrunched her eyebrows at the sound. It was as if she had never heard her own voice. “What?” She dragged out each sound as if trying to decipher them.
“Who are you?” He pressed himself against the wall.
“Who…” she repeated, “Are… You…” He stared at her confused. Had she never heard anyone speak before? Of course not, the song was wordless. She stood up. He pushed himself onto his feet and slid to the door. The woman didn’t seem to mind or care about him. She touched the keys in the piano. A single note flew out if it. She closed her eyes and wind flew through her hair. She played one more note and the wind blew again. He realized she really was a song.
She slammed her hand on the keys and a shrieking note bled out. She jolted back and screamed. Dante watched her, paralyzed against the door. He wanted to leave but he simply couldn’t force himself to do it.
He stepped toward the woman. She looked at him and took a step back. “It’s ok.” He raised his hands. He tried to keep his tone soft and calming. The woman kept her eyes on him as he approached her. He didn’t think she could even understand her. But she understood music. He sat on the stool and pressed his fingers against the keys. A soft, gentle note flowed out of the piano. Her face seemed to light up.
He played a chord and the woman smiled. She took a step toward Dante. He played another chord but no sound came out. He tried to play it again. Nothing. The woman placed her hand over his. He looked up. She opened her mouth and let a single note escape it. It was perfect, the exact same note he couldn’t play.
He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know who she was or how she appeared out of thin air. He played a note and let it die off. He hummed the same note. The woman looked at her and smiled. He hummed a soft melody. The woman watched him intently. He wondered if she understood his melody like words.
He moved over and let her sit next to him. He touched his chest, “Dante.”
“Dan-te.” She sang every inflection. He touched her chest. She pressed her hands over his. She hummed a soft melody of three notes. Dante hummed them back. “Mi-la-ti,” he sang. She smiled and nodded. “Milati.” He repeated.
His cellphone beeped. He pulled it out and looked at the hour as Milati hummed the note of the beep. He looked at the time and gritted his teeth. He had just a couple of minutes until the piano teacher arrived and caught him. “I have to get out of here.” The notes in his speech were too fast for Milati to catch. She stared at him confused.
An idea occurred to him. Perhaps he could play her into the piano again, if he played the right notes, the ones that sounded blank.
He pressed his fingers against the keys and played the chord of mi. Milati let a hum slip through her lips. It filled the silence of the piano. Dante watched her skin shimmer. He played a la. Milati sang the missing note. It seemed her body was creating light. He went on and played a ti chord. She sang and Dante gasped. Her skin looked like stars. He knew he had to keep going.
He closed his eyes and let his fingers guide him through the melody. Milati sang every note perfectly. Her voice was like a siren call. It made Dante forget everything around him. He didn’t care that not a sound came from his fingers. He fell in love with her voice.
His body shivered as every note went by. Milati’s voice blended in with the notes of the piano. He couldn’t tell if she was still singing or if he was just playing the wrong notes. For a moment, he hoped he had gotten the melody wrong. He didn’t want to let his siren go.
Milati appeared in his mind just like the first time. She smiled and stepped close to Dante, her voice singing every note. He thought she looked odd, like a sand figure that the wind was blowing away. She leaned into him and touched his ear with her lips. He went cold. Her body was disappearing. She hummed the notes into his ear. His heart slowed down. His mind cleared. He wasn’t afraid of losing anymore. She had calmed him with a single tune.
His fingers played the last note. Milati hummed it. She was almost gone. She leaned into Dante and gave him a soft kiss on the lips. He felt the tingle and opened his eyes. He was alone. She was gone. He laughed.