Best Friends’ Crisis
Justin Lo // 7343
Chapter 1 – Amy.
There isn’t any wind outside, so the rain falls straight down.
In the repetitive pitter-patter, it seems as if the same drop of rain is splashing onto the ground over and over again. Nature is a broken record, I conclude on that old, beat-up loveseat in the family room.
I rest my chin snugly on my lower arms, folding them the same way Kazuki would whenever he got tired or lazy. I could never truly put him out of my mind because he died when I was so young and unprepared – damn him! But it has to be that way. When an angel comes to visit, he is like the brilliant guide-star in the nighttime sky; all too soon, his brightness comes to a swift end, yet all the while afterwards you can only remember his burned-in portrait in the back of your mind. And that’s what Kazuki was to me; as a child born to strict foreigner parents, only that handsome golden retriever would care for me when the tears came streaming down my face. Tears just like the rain dribbling down the window glass.
I stare back outside. The rain has spread across the poorly-drained soils and now has amassed into puddles with bits of freshly-cut grass floating at the top like stranded passengers from a capsized boat. They spin around and around, dipping in here and there whenever a raindrop plops onto their long, delicate bodies.
Years ago, I would go outside in the rain with Kazuki. With athletic vigor, he would bound out unrestrained while I hastily and sloppily dressed and ran out after him. He would rarely wait for me, even though he knew I was still young and completely uncoordinated in my rubber galoshes. But once he reached the oak tree, he would stop and turn around, gazing at me with those blank, innocent eyes as I splashed my way over to catch up.
I brush my hair out of eyes, breathing deeply. It is so gray outside, so unashamedly forlorn. I tear my head away from the window, throwing my body down onto the seat cushions. The lamp on the adjacent table rattles slightly, then falls silent as I begin to sing to myself in a faint voice:
“Ame ame, fure fure, kaa-san ga …”
Memories fade with time, but the feelings within them are like these children’s songs that stay with you across continents and seas. I breathe, making the melody disjoint, but the world waits patiently for me to continue.
“… janome de omukae ureshii, na …”
Even though I am here now, my soul feels like it has floating away with the coming of the rain – isn’t it as if storms are banks of old memories, dripping a few back into our lives with each passing? I’m dreaming, dreaming. No matter what, it is so gray outside, only interrupted by the crystalline raindrops that fall straight down because there isn’t any wind.
“… Pichi pichi, chapu chapu, ran, ran, ran ….”
Chapter 2 – Bryan.
I’m in front of the piano for the tenth time today, frustrated as ever. On and off, I’ve been sitting down on this bench, trying to get something – anything – to flow, but it just doesn’t have that heart and soul that any real jazz needs. Even just improvising some free material on some old Ellington tunes feels boxed in and flat.
Come on, just a rhythm, just a short riff, that’s all I need to break out and strike gold, I tell myself as I heave a deep breath and set my fingers down on the old rickety ivories and ebonies.