Love Song (January 2019, Round 2, Day 3)
Tasha was so absorbed in her book she wasn’t sure when the music started. The light sounds seeped in around the edges and she looked up midway through a somewhat familiar song, startled to see the back of a broad-shouldered man sitting on the piano bench in front of her. She’d been coming to this forgotten spot in the Humanities building since her first year and had never seen another person.
She held her spot in the textbook with her finger and watched the man. He seemed a bit too big for the space, like one of those charactures of a football player you might find in a magazine that took itself too seriously. With his back to her she had no idea who he might be or if she’d ever seen him before, though given his size she felt like he would have been someone to be remembered. The song he was playing filled the room, alternating from the soft notes that had brought her out of her reading to moments of heavy, loud, and driving music that were dripping with angst. Tasha knew now that she hadn’t heard the song before – she wasn’t even sure it was a proper, official song at all – which drew her in that much more.
The end of the song happened so abrubtly Tasha let out an inadvertant, “oh!” The man stiffened and waited a moment before turning around to face her.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt you.” His voice was almost as compelling as the music had been, and was deep enough to make Tasha need to think to sort the sounds into words.
“What was that? What were you playing?”
He looked down at backs of his hands before turning them palms up and making fists. “It doesn’t have a name.”
Tasha recognized the pain in his face and asked, “who was it for?”
Blinking away tears, the man stood up abruptly. “I’m sorry.”
Tasha was on her feet, too, having mirrored his actions without intention. “Please – you don’t need to apologize. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
The man shook his head and looked down again at his hands. Tasha wanted to go up to him and wrap him in her arms which wasn’t exactly how she normally greeted strangers. There was something different about this man, something important.
“Look – can we take a step or two back? My name is Tasha, and I’m a grad student here.” She waited for him to fill in the blanks and was rewarded with him continuing to stare silently at his still balled up hands. “Would you tell me your name? And how you’re connected to the school? Or anything?”
Without looking up or at her, the man sat back down on the piano bench. “Atticus. My name is Atticus.”
Tasha lowered herself back down to the window sill she’d been sitting on, though she only perched on the end ready to pop up again. “Atticus, nice to meet you.”
Atticus opened up his hands and looked at her.