My soul was disconsolate the moment she pressed my hand and whispered her last words. Immersed in tears and despair in my heart, I promised to find her again, in a future, where I would jump hand in hand with her on our way to paradise. To a paradise that I know, it was painted for us.
And with that last promise she closed her eyes, dedicating to me the last breath of her life.
—Mom… —I sobbed between whispers, my eyes cloudy and the howls of pain burning in my throat.
I remained there, in that cold chair, holding her hand, crying at the loss, aching in my now cold heart. I couldn’t count the time; it was totally useless. Nothing could be reversible now and my tears were over, dry, now permanently molded on my pale cheeks.
When it was time to take her away, I put a last kiss on her forehead and saw her leave, covered with a silk sheet. With this object in my hands, I ran through the long corridors of that enormous place which called itself my house, my home. Now everything felt empty and unknown.
Locked in the cowshed, I ran to a corner and dropped to the floor, with the little music box in my trembling hands.
«I want you to keep it, honey. Now it is yours; take care of it with your life, as I took care of it with mine.»
Her words echoed in deafening echoes within my head, tears coming up once more, as I gazed at the golden and shining object. So brilliant, that for a moment I stopped to appreciate how fascinating it was.
«I don’t want to be alone, mom, you’re all I have…»
«You will not be alone, my love, he will be there for you.»
I could not understand her words, but it didn’t matter either, I supposed that on his deathbed she would say many things, and those would mean many more. I listened attentively and promised to do everything she asked me to, even though I wasn’t sure what it was. Then I opened the golden box and that sweet melody came out of it, I instantly burst into tears out of control. Holding tight the little box to my chest, being the company of my lonely and sad heart. Of my shattered soul…. And now, of my insignificant being.
«Be a good man, Yoongi… be always a good man.»
At that moment, to the extent of my pain, I felt something uncomfortable in my chest, something pricking. When I take the box away enough of my chest, I realized that it was a small and delicate figure of a ballet dancer, spinning to the beat of the song. The song my mother loved playing on the piano. Her song.
«One day you will be a successful pianist, my son, and I will be so proud of you.»
When the melody ceased, I just devoted myself to admire the brilliant box and that piece of porcelain that somehow captivated and filled me with peace.
The weeks passed and my mourning seemed to be endless, my insomnia –as it was to be expected– was totally unbearable, the burden was consuming me, and my liver was beginning to resent all the alcohol that was destroying me from the inside. Like little drops of acid that slowly created a hole in each of the organs of my dreadful body. Nothing was bearable, the pain… It felt like a burning flame, a complex and tired feeling that deteriorated me.
A life full of pain is not life.
That was what I’d told myself that night when I stared at my mother’s pictures and felt I could almost smile. With so much bitterness and nostalgia… cancer was my enemy; cancer will always be everyone’s enemy. She is fine now, I truly believe that, but I… I couldn’t be it without her.
I might look like a ridiculous boy who can’t do anything by himself, and who always needed his mother to solve his problems. No, I was no longer a child, be it my misfortune, but I will always need my mother, because she was the light of my life. And I will never be ashamed of it. So yes, I need her now and always will.
Tired, I went to sleep, or at least I tried. Tomorrow it will be a month since her death, and that same day I would have to go and collect my things from what it was my house all my life. I refused to live there once she was gone; I couldn’t get the idea of going in front of a room where only her essence and not her presence remained.
I put it up for sale and left.
Now I live in a small house on the outskirts of town, not so far from my old home. I was used to the huge and luxurious, but now… I felt incredibly comfortable in my little space with my few things. My enormous brown piano occupied one of the corners of the lounge, which, unlike the rest of the house, was large. There I took my students; I had decided to work at home from now on.
Being 29 years old and a frustrated musician is something to feel pathetic about, a young pianist teacher forever overwhelmed by the loneliness and sadness that surrounded his life. Suffering was my greatest inspiration. Melancholy and the art of sad nostalgia. My students feared me, and not because I’m bad, I’m just gloomy, cold and distant… my life was about only myself and no one else.
Because there was no one else.
That night I managed to sleep for a couple of hours, after resuming my routine and admiring that music box that was special for my mother at the time, and now it is for me. It was a curious object; always so bright and beautiful, eye-catching, fascinating. It looked like the most valuable object on earth. Maybe it was. The best part is the inside. When it is opened, the lid showed a small mirror and a melody that my mother loved to play: Swan Lake. The melody accompanied a delicate figure in that box. The most curious part.
A little dancer in the middle of it, gracefully turning to the beat of the sound, a figure of fine porcelain, so beautiful, that I loved to appreciate. It was not common to find music boxes with a male dancer inside, so it was even more striking. Even more special. I saw it spin until the last of my tears fell and I melted into a deep sleep. For the first time in so long.
That piece flooded my senses, I thought I was dreaming of it since it was appreciated far away and muffled. When the halo of sleep disappeared, I rubbed my tired eyes with a yawn and got up from bed. I looked at the clock that marked two in the morning. Then I realized that the music was still playing. I remembered that I had left the box open, so when I wanted to take it, I didn’t find it anywhere. I frowned, when I managed to remove my sleep completely, I realized that the music was coming from below.
Had anyone entered my house?
With that thought I got up, a little scared. I went downstairs quietly, listening to the music getting closer and clearer. My heart was pounding strongly within my chest. I took the vase lying on a piece of furniture in the hallway, and with it in my hands, ready for any stage, I looked into the living room…. and stayed there, static.
The little music box lay on my piano, open, sounding as it always did. And in the middle of the room, in the large space left over, I saw him… the grace of the movements, the delicacy of the twists, the flexibility in his body, a smile.
A young man with golden hair and incredibly pale skin was dancing ballet in the middle of my living room, to the beat of that melody. The movements were impeccable, perfect… so graceful. His soft curves were marked in every movement, and for a moment I just forgot that a stranger was dancing quietly in my house in the middle of the night.
Then the vase slipped out of my hands; crashing into the ground.
The sound brought me to reality. Stunned, the boy suddenly stopped his dance, the music strangely stopped too, and he looked at me. Frightened, powerful honey colored eyes stared at me.
The only thing that this boy could steal from me that night was my breath.
It looked like a delicate porcelain doll.
His thick and pink lips moved, but I heard nothing coming out of them… a small, pointed nose adorned his soft face. His bulging cheeks are colored in a warm pink equal to the color of his lips. The sharp and shiny eyes are covered by thick and long black eyelashes.
—I’m so sorry that I’d woke you up…
The sharp, soft voice echoed in my ears. Am I dreaming?
—Who are you? What are you doing in my house? —I reacted when the boy tried to get closer.
—I thought that I wasn’t making a lot of noise, I’m so sorry Yoongi, it won’t happen again.
—How on earth do you know my name? Who are you?! —I started to get upset, the boy was getting closer and closer and I was going back scared, without knowing what to do.
—Don’t be scared, I’m not here to hurt you… Yoongi. It’s me… don’t you recognize me? We’ve seen each other for so long.
—What the hell is happening? What are you talking about?
I took the umbrella that was on the side of the entrance and lifted it up, he backed up and covered his face with his arms.
—I don’t know you! —His back hit the fireplace behind him and looked at me in fear—. Answer me! who are you?!
—Yoongi! Look at me! Who am I? —he insisted, and I stopped for a moment. A sensation of heat ran through my chest and I felt dizzy. Then I looked at him carefully, yeah… he kind of look familiar.
—I’ve never saw you in my life… did you come to steal from me? I’ll go for help. —I bent over the door latch, and before taking it in my hands, a small hand grabs the sleeve of my shirt.
—No, wait! Don’t you really recognize me? I’ve danced for you for so many nights… I’ve taken care of you; I’ve been there all the time… —I frowned at him. My eyesight traveled to the music box on the piano, and there I could see it… The box was open, there was no sound now and… the figure of the dancer was no longer there. Then I looked at him again. Agitated—. I am the dancer in the box!
Then my mind processed everything. The little boy clinging to me was familiar, because he looks like the porcelain doll in my music box… but that was stupid, he wanted to play with me… this could not be it.
But there he was, a thin little boy, blonde, pale and beautiful. Same as the porcelain figure. Damn it, he is the most beautiful boy I have ever seen… my hand came close to his face, it was soft and warm… I put my hand on his cheek and caressed, he closed his eyes and let himself be done by my touch. Electricity ran down to my spine on an impressive level.
If this is a dream… I don’t want to wake up.
«You will not be alone, my love, he will be there for you.»
Mom’s words came to my mind and hit me like a bucket of cold water. Now they made more sense than before.
«He’ll be there for you…»
The box. She was talking about the box… she was talking about him. She was right when she said it was special.
—This is not real… I’m dreaming. —I whispered, running my fingers through the wavy blonde hair of his. The boy opened his eyes and came closer to me. My chin was up to his eyes, so I bent down, and he looked at me intensely from below.
—It’s not a dream, Yoongi. I’ve always been here… I just didn’t let you see me. —he was so close. My heart was beating fast, it was so strange to me.
—Are you real?
—If you can touch me, I am. —He spoke and placed his hand over mine, which had cradled his cheek again.
—What’s your name? —I whispered that, my voice trembled, and at this point I felt myself in the clouds. Digressing.
One of his small hands slipped down my chest, leaving it there, near where my violent heartbeat came.
—I’m Jimin… that’s how your mother named me. —I swallowed. My mother?
—I don’t understand… I don’t understand anything, Jimin. —I tasted that name in my mouth, loving every letter that slipped through my tongue. It was a lovely name, for a lovely boy.
—Calm down… as I said, I’m not here to hurt you… I promised your mother that I would take care of you as much as I took care of her, so it will be like that. —Tears piled up in my eyes.
—What are you talking about?
—All in due time, Yoongi. I must return now, but I shall be here every night at the same time. Do you understand? —If I understand?! I am more than confused! Where should he go?
He slowly parted from me, took the box in his hands, looked at me with a warm smile and ran down the hallway.
It took me a few seconds to react, when I ran in his direction, I entered the room, finding the box on my bed, the music had come back and… the little dancer in it.
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