The Art of Mirriam Neal

The Midnight Titanic

piano

A short story inspired entirely by this.

I squinted with sleep-blurred eyes at my clock. The green, glowing numbers told me it was exactly 12:00 a.m. So why had I woken up? I rolled over, pulling the blankets up to my chin, and closed my eyes.

I opened them. Music.

Someone was playing the piano.

What? I threw the blankets off and stumbled out of my darkened bedroom. This was an apartment complex, for pity’s sake; not a theater. I pulled the chain back from my door and stuck my head out. The noise was louder from here, coming from one of the apartments down the hall – although I couldn’t tell which one.

All I could think about was the fact it was midnight, and someone was pounding out My Heart Will Go On. I fully believed people should be allowed to express themselves, but they should express themselves at proper hours. How could I do this without being a jerk? I swallowed to clear the night from my throat and shouted, “Jack!”

The music stopped abruptly. I’d silenced whoever it was, and probably made an enemy in the process. Alas.

And then a wide-awake voice called back, “Rose?”

                A laugh came out of nowhere and I leaned against the doorframe. “I’m trying to get some sleep, do you mind?”

A sliver of light crept into the hallway as a door opened and a guy looked out from his apartment. I couldn’t make out much except a halo of curly hair. “I didn’t realize it was that loud,” he said, a sheepish note in his voice.

“I was about to call the cops.” I was joking at midnight? I never joked at midnight. Maybe half of my mind was still asleep under the warm covers.

“No, you weren’t.”

“Don’t presume to tell me what I will and will not do,” I responded, straightening, as the words spilled from my mouth and I decided that at midnight, I was someone I didn’t know and would probably be embarrassed to be seen in public alongside. “You don’t know me.”

The piano-player laughed and fired back with perfect, laughing imitation, “With all due respect, miss, you’re the one yelling down the hall at twelve o’clock in the morning.”

I covered my eyes, even though it was too dark to see. “You’re right,” I said, my voice a loud whisper. “We’re probably keeping people up.”

He left the sliver of light and walked down the hall toward me. I could see him now; freckles and a crooked nose and eyes the color of laughter. “We don’t have to shout now. What’s your name?”

I took a deep breath. “Shaniqua. What’s yours?”

His grin was brighter than his halo. “Jules.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Jules.” I shook his hand. It wasn’t the long-fingered hand of a piano player; I could feel calluses and veins, the tells of a hard worker.

“And you, Shaniqua. Hey – do you play the piano?”

“No. I don’t play any instrument. I work for Amazon.”

“Do you want to learn how?”

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email