Saturday, 18 June 2022

'The Sound of Dust' by Slawka G. Scarso

When I climb into our flat for the first time since we left, the first thing I do is check that the piano is still there. I sweep the stool with a handkerchief, open the music scores in my bag, and sit. At first, my fingers are stiff, my fingertips slip. With each stroke, they collect dust, plaster and cement. I tell myself it's ok, and I keep playing.

I blame myself, not the dust, for the muffled sound. I blame my rigid fingers. Soon pigeons coo to my music cue, joining me as I play and I play so long the sun turns around the house and it's now flooding me, flooding the score, the piano, the room and I feel more at ease, even if there's so much dust everywhere, and inside the piano too – I don't need to look, I can hear it – even when a sudden breeze lifts a cloud of dust, and plaster and cement, so that I can sense it on my tongue while new specks fall like snow onto the piano and all around the room, dust onto dust, because the hole in the wall through which the sun is flooding everything is bigger than an open window, and I remember how we always imagined what the view from that wall would be like, wondering why nobody thought of putting a window here, so that we could see the sunset, and it's only as I finish the score that I look outside, at the people watching, listening from the street, I look at the new unframed window, carved by a bomb to bring the war inside our house, and the music out. And the sunset is beautiful, just like you imagined it would be.

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