He tripped somewhere near the top step. With a sound which came out like a yowl, he barrelled forward into the door. Instead of smoothly opening it or the like, instead he bashed his head into it. He took a few steps back, shaking his head. No one saw it, it was fine. Just a reminder.
“Is this the way out?” he called back behind him.
The emptiness behind him said nothing. Yet he felt the void in front of him, not from the nothing from behind. Behind was comfort, behind was where he came from. Sent forward for…
The void was ahead, clawing out everything he had been told.
“This is the way out.” He said it aloud to reaffirm himself. As if to agree, the door opened. He walked forward where the future waited.
Then the door shut behind him.
Where there’s smoke, there’s usually something smoking. Most people considered that to be fire, but Vidvan was certain it could be otherwise.
“If someone can conjure fire from what appears to be nothing but energy, couldn’t they conjure the effects of fire without the fire?”
His teacher looked down at him. “Explain.” She had the type of face that probably should have had spectacles. Vidvan thought she squinted a little too much.
“If the process is that fire creates earth, creates ash, then…”
He had it. He’d had it. Then it was gone. The idea had been brilliant. And he knew that it had been, if he hadn’t somehow lost the threads of his thought. He had to find it again.
After all, where there was smoke…
His lungs were still filled with air, but his mind blanked.
The piano stopped. “What happened?”
He cleared his throat. “I… nothing.” He had forgotten the words. The words he had memorized backwards and forward. The words he had to present to the entire auditorium tomorrow. The words he couldn’t possibly have forgotten now.
“Then let’s start from the refrain.”
Not from the chest, but from the stomach. He reminded himself of this simple concept. The words had to be there. It was nerves. “All right.”
From amateur to professional, stage fright always found a way back to him.
I always forget that I have put on the kettle.
Earl Grey is my poison of choice. Steeped for longer than it probably should be. Loose leaf, in a stylized strainer. A little milk and too much sugar, if I put anything in at all. I rather like drinking tea.
But I forget that I’ve put the kettle on. I leave the kitchen, I go somewhere else, I forget that I’m thirsty.
The screaming of the kettle always catches me off guard. I always have to run back to the kitchen, find my mug, if I even left it out and prepare everything as a harried mess.
Then it is too hot. For ten minutes it sits. Sometimes I forget that I have it there and it goes cold.
For those times I actually can drink my tea, remembering it when it is at the perfect temperature, ready for me. Sweetened or no.
Something finally seems right.
The music stopped. He looked at her and waited.
Slowly, she lowered the flute from her lips. “What was I playing?”
He had known it was coming, but it hurt to hear her say that nonetheless. “Poulenc’s Sonata.”
She began again, from the top. He waited, hoping she would be able to finish.