Hello, Internet! Kim Fielding brings us a good one for Flash Fiction Friday! After a man faces a tragedy, he must accept it’s a new day and a new chance to heal.
The Violinist by Kim Fielding
Dmitri sat motionless in the chair by the window, the morning sun casting a pool of light onto his lap. The warmth felt good, a slight balm for the aches in his body. He’d been awake all night but didn’t remember watching the dawn. Everything had been dark, but now—all of a sudden, it seemed—there was light.
“You want some breakfast, Dee?” The voice was soft behind him. Hesitant, just like everything else Sam had said to him since the accident. Well, not everything else. Sam had been insistent with his I love yous.
“Some coffee would be great,” Dmitri answered.
“And some toast?”
Dmitri turned his head to see Sam grinning hopefully. “I’m not wasting away to nothing,” Dmitri pointed out. “In fact, until I can start working out again, I’m going to be a lump.”
Sam bent to drop a kiss atop his head. “I don’t mind you lumpy. But you need to eat.”
“Fine. Toast.” Dmitri smiled to himself as Sam walked away. Dmitri had lost this little battle, but that was usual with Sam, who could out-stubborn a mule. This was the first time since the accident that Sam had argued with him—a sign they were both recovering, perhaps.
An oak dominated the backyard. Right now the tree was full of birds, their chirps and rasps audible even through the closed window. Dmitri watched the flurry of wings, the darting of tiny bodies. He found a beat in their sound and movement and tapped the fingers of his right hand on the arm of the chair. He hummed a melody too, something a bit reminiscent of the Sibelius concerto he’d performed a couple of years earlier.
“It’s going to be a gorgeous day,” Sam said as he reentered the bedroom with a tray in his hands. “Think you’ll be up for a walk?”
“Don’t you have to work?”
“Nope. I only have the one class today anyway, and the students are working on an online project. I’m all yours, if you want me.” He set the tray on the little table at Dmitri’s side.
Dmitri smiled at him. “I do want you.”
“Yeah?” Sam asked, uncertainty tingeing his voice. They hadn’t made love since the accident, had barely even touched—except clinically, as when Sam helped him dress.
“Yes. I’m…. The bits below my waist have healed fully, I think.” He’d been fortunate, the doctors said. Only some deep bruising of his legs and pelvis, plus an assortment of scrapes, gashes, and spots of embedded windshield glass. No major damage to his internal organs. Within a few weeks, he’d be good as new—if you didn’t count the stump where his left hand used to be.
Trying to mask his discomfort, Dmitri looked at the tray Sam had brought. Coffee steamed in a bright blue mug, scenting the air with its rich aroma. On a matching plate, two squares of whole wheat toast smiled up at him with peanut butter mouths and banana-slice eyes. “My toast has faces,” he said.
“Remember our second date?”
Of course Dmitri did. In an attempt to impress the guy he had a mad crush on, Dmitri had picked an expensive Italian place. Sam played it safe, ordering pasta, but Dmitri had opted for fish. When the waiter set down their dinners with a bit of dramatic flair, Sam had taken one look at the intact fish and squawked, “It has a face!” Everyone in the restaurant had turned to stare, and although Sam had blushed fiery red, he’d also given the room an awkward little bow. That was probably the moment Dmitri fell in love with him.
“Come here,” Dmitri said, patting his own lap.
“I won’t break.”
Sam settled down on him, gingerly at first but eventually resting his entire weight on Dmitri. He gave a deep sigh and buried his face in Dimitri’s hair. “I love you.”
“I know,” Dmitri said, giving his waist a squeeze. “Even if I’m lumpy.”
“Even if I can’t play anymore.”
Sam pulled back to look at him. “Babe, I loved listening to your violin. You were magnificent. But the music? It was never just in your hands. It’s here”—he tapped Dmitri’s head—“and here.” Sam pressed his palm over Dmitri’s heart. “You’ll find another way to let it out. And I’ll love you regardless—even if all you do is whistle while you walk.”
Maybe it was the bright sun and noisy birds, maybe it was the silly faces on his breakfast. But probably it was the warm solidity and confidence of the man on his lap. The aches in Dmitri’s body faded, and his maimed limb suddenly seemed not so much an obstacle as a challenge. And Dmitri had always relished a challenge.
“I’ll sing to you in bed,” Dmitri said, groping Sam’s ass with his remaining hand.
Sam laughed. “I’ll make it so good all you can do is scream, babe.” He reached over and grabbed the plate with the toast. “But you’ll need some sustenance first.”
With Sam still on top of him, brushing the crumbs from Dmitri’s chin, he ate his breakfast. Somewhere in the back of his head, a melody was taking shape. Perhaps by the time Sam was done with him this morning, Dmitri would find a way to set the song free.