The Melody that Remains

A boy in his twenties moved alone to a new apartment today.

It was a day where almost all cosmos flowers blossomed all over the city. Each of them was ushered by the sound of wind into an open space of plaza where they danced as sprightly and elegantly ass a professional dancer, and released their natural scent at the same time. But to a boy who grew up at countryside, this scenery had been too ordinary, thus to go back to his new home, to tidy everything up and to rest were all he desired. Without a second thought, he walked upstairs to the third floor at one stretch.

He finally got home. He tried hard to grope for the key from his backpack. Before figuring it out himself, he had already been leading a city-dweller’s life and impregnated with impatience.

“Dame it! How much time I have wasted!” A hasty look apparently wrote on his blushing face.

While intimidated by his own weakness, he heard the sound of piano from elsewhere.

“Who else can be so artistic in this dilapidated old apartment?” Out of his strong curiosity, he decided to look for the pianist.

As though butterflies flew towards the source of sweet pollen grains, he too walked closer to the source of sound.

The more he heard, the more his heart was flooded with the melody of the song. A music amateur himself noticed that the minor key was being played. If cosmos flowers represented vitality, the song was perhaps a symbol of melancholy.

Then, through the open window pane of the same third floor, what came into his view was an old man full of white hair playing a never-ending song while looking with his void, hollow eyes at the  white and black keys of piano.

The boy peeked around the room, only to find nothing except the piano, the chair where the old man was sitting, and the doleful melody.

Perhaps before advancing to the very end of life, the boy thought, the old man wished to express with melody his emotions which he could not with words.

[First written in Japanese on 25th October, 2015; rewritten/translated by James on 1st November, 2016]

[残された旋律(メロディー)]

二十代の若者は今日、一人でそのアパートに引っ越して来た。

それはちょうどコスモスが盛んに咲いている日だった。花々が風の音のリズムに導かれ、舞姫のように優雅に踊りながら、自然の匂いを放っていた。しかし、田舎で育った少年にとってこの景色はもはやありきたりの風景で何回も見たものだったので、はやく新たな家に帰って、片付けを済ませて休みたかった。彼は、何も気付かずに一気に三階まで階段を上った。

遂に、家に着いた。カギをバックパックの中で必死に探していた。何時の間にか彼は都会人と同調し、セッカチな性格を持っているのを自分でも理解できなかった。

「ちくしょう、何分何秒かかったのだろう!」と明らかに短気な彼は顔を赤くなった。

自分の弱気に怒っている時、どこからピアノの音が続々と耳に届いた。

「この貧乏なアパートの、一体どこに芸術家がいるんだろう?」好奇心が強まってきた彼は、そのピアノを弾く者を探そうとした。

まるで蝶々が花の匂いの源に向かって飛んでいくように、彼は音の源に向かって歩いていた。

そして、聴けば聴くほどその曲は彼の心に沁みていった。音楽に素人の彼でさえ短調だときこえた。もしコスモスが活気を象徴するだとすれば、その曲は憂鬱の象徴とも言えよう。

そして同じ三階のアパートの開いている窓を通して、彼が目にしたのは、背が曲がった白髪まみれの老人が空洞の様な目で白黒の鍵を見ながら、まるでエンディングが無い曲のようにずっとピアノを弾き続けている姿だった。

よく部屋を覗いてみると、その部屋にはピアノと老人が座っている椅子と悲しい旋律以外には、何も無かった。

恐らく人生の果てまで行く前に、老人は言葉さえ表せない気持ちを旋律で表現したいのだろう、と若者は思った。

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