Music of the Night – Part 1   

          by Sara


Dr Luka Kovac turned up the collar of his coat, tugging at the fabric to shield his neck from the biting cold of the night air. Chicago in Winter was certainly an experience!

He exhaled sharply in irritation, cursing the con-man who sold him his second-hand Saab - back in the repair shop for the third time this month. He could have been home by now, if he had only been sold a reliable car. Luka watched his own breath form a visible cloud in the freezing air as he trudged through the snow to the train station. For a moment he couldn’t resist blowing a few extra puffs, feeling like a little boy again, pretending to be a steam train. Luka smiled to himself at his own silliness, and quickened his step as another blast of wind stung his face.

Just around the corner from the entrance to the station, Luka noticed a side-street bar he had not seen before. The door was open and bright yellow light streamed out. There was raucous singing going on, the unmistakable sound of drunken music-making mixed with laughter. The place suddenly became so tempting to Luka, with its promise of a good time, a warm seat and a hearty drink.

Inside, Luka found a cluster of people with various musical instruments – guitars, a couple of violins, some strange-looking drums and even a man with bag-pipes. They were playing some kind of rousing folk-song, accompanying the loud, tipsy singing of the other customers. Even the bar-tenders were joining in, and as he made his way to the front of the crowd he saw it would be a while before he got served. Luka couldn’t help smiling at the happy throng around him, the jovial atmosphere was infectious. He didn’t know the song and he had no idea what the words were, but he was soon tapping his feet along to the beat as he tried to catch the singing bar-tender’s eye. The song ended to a burst of wild applause and cheers from the crowd, and Luka was able to grasp the moment and place his order for a bottle of Tuborg lager.

Armed with his favourite Danish export, Luka spied a free table near to the musicians. As he approached, a sudden hush fell over the room and the group of musicians parted. Luka stopped in his tracks. There, in the midst of the musical group, was a rickety old upright piano. He had not noticed it when he first came in as it had been hidden from view by the crowd. Now that it was revealed, Luka stared, transfixed, as a young woman sat down on the piano stool and, head bowed, began to play. The piano was covered in dust and stains, and had obviously not been tuned in years. But the sounds this woman was able to bring forth from it were so wonderful; the entire room sat in awe as she played. Luka watched her as she swayed gently in time with the music, her long, delicate fingers tripping effortlessly across the keys. Strands of her long, dark hair kept falling into her face, but she did not seem to notice. Eyes closed, she was lost in the music. Luka had never seen such a beautiful woman before, and her playing held him completely under her spell.

Almost as suddenly as she had begun, the woman stopped playing. She opened her eyes, and for a split-second, Luka caught her gaze. He stared into her deep brown eyes and felt almost dizzy with desire. A moment later, she dropped her head and looked away. Luka felt as though he had been hit by a ten-ton speeding truck, and he sat quickly down on the nearest chair and took a drink of beer. Composing himself, he got up and went towards the piano. But the girl had gone, and the other musicians were beginning another rowdy chorus.

to part 2

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