Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2014 - Page 44

44 | Psychopomp Magazine

From somewhere behind, there is his exhale and a fleeting recollection of sitting in front of a piano on a stage, the two of us playing together.

But someone is stepping up to the podium now and people are shifting in their pews. Someone I have never met is standing in front of the podium. My parents are sitting in the front row and my mother stoops over, shakes across her shoulders. I am having trouble keeping up with his words and my mother continues to weep. Her shoulders continue to shake; my father places his arm around her. The man I have never met walks down from the stage and my father brings her up and into the aisle and people begin to search for their bags and coats from under the pews.

I lie in bed upstairs for a while, in that old guest bedroom, until the last sounds of the reception come to a close. When I make it to the bottom of the steps, I see the girl sitting at our couch with her face intermittently lit a pale blue, a white-yellow, a flashing of red from the television that dimly sounds in front of her. She is still as beautiful as I remember her being.

I had heard of Cynthia from Mason back when he had been playing regularly. I met her once at a bar Mason was playing at perhaps five, six years ago. I was in an unfamiliar city and had not seen my twin brother in months, had heard a few words. We sat together and you could see her eyes go wet watching him up there, and my eyes were wet. I wanted to get up there and play something with him, almost did before convincing myself my fingers had grown too stiff. The piano sounded like it might have been out of tune and I didn't want to half-ass a piano.

I remember more than anything the way she spoke to me. It seemed as though she was trying to learn something about him from me. She never mentioned the obvious—the replica of this man she was tearing up over and the one clear difference of our eyes. I valued that from her, and the way she sought out particular phrasings from me, tried to catch me mirroring him. But I was not a jazz musician; I wasn't even a musician anymore, and she knew things about him I did not. I remember there was a flicker of jealousy toward him for qualities I was incapable of imagining.

Thinking of these things, how I so wholly stole him away from her that night, and seeing her here now, I think I am rousing him from his dormancy. As I walk to the kitchen and pour two