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The moment the first note sounded, I had a gut feeling that this was different.

Amane's piano playing was  different from the norm. Something was definitely different from someone like me, who had only learned to play the piano, could read music, and could play accordingly.

I wonder if this kind of sound was called the real thing. Read only on https://royaltywrites.com.ng/

It was a sound with overwhelming depth, breadth, and thickness, unlike the emotionless sound of a hammer interlocking the strings in tandem with the keyboard.

But it is not just a strong sound; it was soft, gentle, and hopelessly sad.

It was like water sinking into my eardrums and into the skin, coursing through my body with ease, and I couldn't help but be moved by it.

I found myself staring at Amane's fingers, forgetting to even blink. Slender, long fingers that moved around lightly and gracefully like butterflies fluttering around spring flowers.


I mumbled unintentionally, and Akari glanced back and nodded at me.

This was the first time I saw him play. I was so impressed with the way he played with his whole body, staring only at the piano, as if he could not hear anything around him.

Watching him, I realized for the first time that the piano was not something that was played solely with the fingers.

One had to concentrate all of their mind, heart, and body on the piano and put all of their energy into the tips of their ten fingers to make a "real'' sound. Read only on https://royaltywrites.com.ng/

Just reading the score, moving your fingers according to the notes, and hitting the keys was not piano playing. That was no different from playing a machine.

This was what it meant to play with all one's heart and soul.

It was not about the fingers moving very fast or about the volume being incredibly loud.

Rather, the sound was whispery and subdued, and sometimes  the fingers got stuck as if jammed.

But the music was so beautiful that it didn't matter; it sparkled like spring light falling from the heavens.

Gentle, peaceful, beautiful sound. Beautiful music that was out of this world.

Until Amane's performance ended, I kept staring at the back of his head in stunned amazement. His piano playing was that shocking.

After he finished playing, Amane slowly lowered his arms from the keyboard and hung them down, looking somewhat soul-less and blank for a while.

The audience in the restaurant, who had been watching him in a daze, slowly began to applaud, and before long, the applause became a huge whirlpool.

But the person receiving the applause seemed to be oblivious to the applause as he strode back to his seat.

"Thank you, Amane."

He looked at me with vacant eyes as if he were in a dream.


His glassy eyes seemed to be looking past me all the way to the other side of the room.

"Is everything okay?"

He didn't respond.

I reached out and grabbed his shoulder, shaking him lightly. Read only on https://royaltywrites.com.ng/

I had this weird feeling that he had gone somewhere far away and would never come back here again.

I shook his shoulder, calling his name again and again, hoping to somehow pull him back.

Then the light gradually returned to his eyes.


Amane smiled softly at my call.

Then he slowly looked down and wrote in his notebook.

[I'm sorry, I was spacing out.]

"...Are you all right?"

[Yeah. I've not played in a long time, so maybe I'm a little tired.]

He hadn't played in a long time, but I couldn't believe how good he was.

I inwardly marveled at that, and then reconsidered, or maybe not.

Perhaps it was because it had been so long since I had played the piano that my love for music was overflowing from that performance.

Perhaps there was some reason he couldn't play the piano. I had no evidence to support this, but I felt that way.

I was not sure what the reason was, but I couldn't ask him, so I just told him my honest opinion in a low voice: "You like... Piano, don't you?"

The moment I said that, Amane's eyes widened.

Then, he quickly lowered his head and started moving the pen.

I looked down at him and noticed that Amane's hand was shaking slightly. Was he nervous?

I looked at his face in surprise, but I could not see his expression, which was hidden by his long bangs.

I looked at his hand again and saw that his handwriting was a lot messier than before. He had scribbled the words, "I don't like it."

If these words had come out of his mouth, I was sure his voice would have sounded faint and shaky, as if he were moaning. Read only on https://royaltywrites.com.ng/

The words were that painful.

"I see. I can play the piano too, but I don't like it at all."

I knew it was too brazen to talk about Amane's piano and mine side by side, but I wanted to do something about his confusion and upset, so I took the liberty of agreeing with him.

"In my case," I said with a chuckle, "I didn't dislike practicing, but I was worse than the other kids, and I didn't like having to play in front of people even though I was bad at it."

I chuckled, but Amane did not laugh.

He just stared at me with his greenish light-brown eyes.

It was uncomfortable to be enveloped by his quiet gaze, as if he could see into the depths of my heart.

As I stared at the ice cream in my cream soda that had completely melted, Amane's fingertips tapped on the table.

I looked up to see him writing something in his notebook again.

[Don't compare yourself with others,] He wrote.

Unlike before, his handwriting was clean, neat, and strong.

[I don't think you need to think about whether you are good or bad compared to others. If you like piano, you can play as much as you like.]

The moment I saw that, I felt as if a fog had lifted from within me.

At first I liked playing the piano.

I liked listening to my neighbor's sister practicing the piano, and I wanted to play it too, so I asked my mother if I could learn. Read only on https://royaltywrites.com.ng/

When she took me to class for the first time, I was so happy that I jumped up and down.

I read the sheet music and practiced over and over again, and when I could play the piano without getting stuck, I really enjoyed it and played it over and over again until they told me it was okay.

But as I got older, I began to compare my performance with those around me and realized that there were many children who could play much more difficult pieces much better than I could.

I began to hate playing at recitals when I saw a child in front of me or next in line, and I really wished the recital would be cancelled.

Until then, I had been happy that my parents and grandparents would come to see my recitals and that I could play the piano in front of them in my dress, but before I knew it, it had become an event that I hated, thinking how disappointed they must have been to hear me play. Read only on https://royaltywrites.com.ng/

A short time later, I quit piano lessons.

Since then, I just opened the piano at home once in a while when I felt like it and played my favorite songs at random, but I never played in front of others.

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