Melody of my Heart

Sand & Water

Wil rocked side to side as she waited to upload her composition. After finally dragging herself home from the club, she had collapsed into bed and woken hours later to spend all weekend holed up in a rehearsal room finalizing her first official composition. Her hands almost shook as she approached the professor's desk; everyone in the class seemed calm and collected, she thought, and began to doubt herself for even taking the course. It was times like this she missed Andrew most.

"Don't worry, dear heart," he'd murmured to her many times before when the jitters caught her. "You are marvelous. Beyond marvelous. You can do anything…"

The TA cleared his throat, and she startled, coming back to reality. Plugging the thumb drive into the waiting port, she nodded, and the young man in front of her pressed a button. A few seconds later, he thanked her, and she pocketed the drive as she made her way out the door. It was done, good or bad, and if it was bad she didn't actually need this course for her degree; it was just something Andrew had talked her into the year before that she had always wanted to do.

"I felt like I was handing over my first born," a woman from her class announced, falling into step beside her. Mary, Wil thought, though she wasn't brave enough to voice it. She was a pleasant woman with tight curls and warm brown eyes that often took a seat beside her. "That was rough."

"Tell me about it," Wil chuckled, offering Mary a slight smile. "At least it's over, right?"

"Yeah," the woman agreed. "I'm gonna go grab a coffee – want to join me?" They pushed through a door and started down the stairs to the main floor.

Wil raised her eyebrows for a moment, quickly catching herself and shaking her head. "I'd love to, but I've got to meet up with someone – catch me another time?"

"Sure thing." They reached the bottom of the stairs and she nodded, turning out the closest set of doors. Watching her go, Wil hesitated, then turned down the hall and started to cross through the building. She went slowly, wondering for a moment if she shouldn't have just gone for coffee.

Then, she heard it. At the end of the hall, from the same room, came the soft sound of piano music. It was a new song, another composition she was unfamiliar with, gentle and loving and incredibly complex. It seemed to breathe with a life of its own, and Wil went to the door, sitting outside and letting the music wash over her. Last time, the song had been a sort of affirmation, validating her emotions. Today, instead, it was a balm on her soul, so filled with love and hope that she warmed to the sound.

Slowly, it changed, and again it was a song she knew. Softly, she sang, once again letting her grief out in ways she never allowed herself.

All alone I didn't like the feeling
All alone I sat and cried
All alone I had to find some meaning
In the center of the pain I felt inside

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water, and a million years gone by

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I heal this heart of sorrow
All alone I raise this child
Flesh and bone, he's just
Bursting towards tomorrow
And his laughter fills my world and wears your smile

I will see you in the light of a thousand suns
I will hear you in the sound of the waves
I will know you when I come, as we all will come
Through the doors beyond the grave

All alone I came into this world
All alone I will someday die
Solid stone is just sand and water, baby
Sand and water and a million years gone by

Once again, as the words and notes floated away, the music flowed gracefully into another song. Wil did not listen for long, the classical notes washing over her as she rose and gathered her belongings. From her purse she pulled a small bag of Kleenex, and she dried her eyes before heading toward the exit, leaving the music behind with a whispered goodbye to the pianist.

As she went to push the door open, it disappeared from in front of her, and she stumbled forward. She came to a halt with a vicious thump, and a pair of hands grasped her shoulders, steadying her as the door closed behind her.

"I'm sorry," a rich voice said, pushing her back onto her feet. She stumbled again before catching herself, and she rolled her eyes. Nothing like looking like a total fool…

"No, I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention," she muttered, shifting her tablet bag on her shoulder as she stepped backward out of other's grasp. As she looked up, she found herself staring into deep, and familiar, amber eyes. She couldn't help the small gasp she gave, immediately regretting it when Hotness chuckled.

"No blood, no foul," he assured her, holding up his hands once he was sure she had finally caught her balance. He had a slight accent that made her think of cowboy hats and times long past, though she thought that may go back to the song he'd sang the other night. From afar, he hadn't really done anything for her, but up close she could see exactly what Rhonda meant – and why she was so infatuated with him. Not, of course, that she had any interest in any man but Andrew.

She could still appreciate a fine piece of art though.

Ducking her head, a slight blush crept into her cheeks and she excused herself. She stepped around him quickly, hurrying down the sidewalk and wishing she hadn't heard his laugh behind her.

Well, she consoled herself as she made her way back to her apartment, at least now she had a way to get Rhonda off her back about breaking Hotness up with his girlfriend. There was no way he would be interested in the crazy woman that practically threw herself at him outside the music building. A frigid wind cut through the campus, sending a shiver through her, and she hunched her shoulders against it. She shut the doors in her mind before the memories of similar winter walks with Andrew could come creeping in, choosing instead of sprint the last stretch to her apartment building and escape into the warmth it offered.

Someone else had just arrived, and she waved her thanks as he held the door open for her, ducking through and taking the stairs at a sprint. Wil rubbed her hands together before reaching for her keys.

"I'm home!" she called as she kicked the door shut behind her. There was no answer; the girls hadn't made it home yet. Quickly hanging her coat, she headed into her room, throwing her tablet bag onto her bed.

It wasn't much, but her bedroom offered her the most solace she found these days. No one came in but her; it was an unspoken rule that her room was sacred, and the others respected it. A black metal daybed, covered with a thick green comforter, took up easily a third of the space; three pillows sat at the head, each with a different colored pillow case: red, yellow, and blue, solid and bright. Andrew had always mocked her for refusing to color-coordinate, but the splash of color made her smile, and the cases were the softest flannel she'd ever found. The side table was a matching black stand with a glass top, holding nothing but her alarm clock; everything else lived on the armoire-style desk against the opposite wall.

An ornate jewelry box sat on top of the desk, a gift from her mother on her sixteenth birthday. The desk itself was covered with sheet music. Text books and notes were all electronic, but there was something about the texture of true sheet music that she preferred to the scanned copies. A single picture frame hid in the shadows at the back of the desk: she stood with Andrew in front of the fountain where he'd proposed, their arms wrapped around each other, her smile brighter than it had been in half a year.

She barely gave it a second glance most days, but his presence helped her sleep on lonely nights.

She hung her purse on the hook she'd placed on the back of the door, then cleared a spot on the desk, stacking the sheet music carefully in a pile. Taking her tablet out of its bag, she set it down, plugging it in to let it charge. Then, after a moment's thought, she picked up the photo and traced the line of Andrew's jaw.

"I will see you again," she told him softly, placing a kiss on the glass and setting the photo down. "I don't know about the light of a thousand suns…that was when you were here. But I'll see you all the same."

She heard the door open and gave the picture one last, lingering glance before leaving the sanctuary of her room.


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