“Matyas, what are you doing?”
“Playing Liszt on a sad, old piano,” replied Matyas as he fumbled over the bass clef of an abandoned, battle-bruised upright.
“But, we are in the midst of battle.”
“I play anyway.” He culled from memory the patterns of finger play for the opening bars of the Hungarian Rhapsody. His lately unpracticed, nerve-frayed hands poking at the ivories with determination.
“You will alert the enemy.”
“Yes, to my humanity. I am not a killing machine. I am a man with a heart trained to do the unthinkable.” Matyas pursued the lilting, heart-felt movements with the passion of a man buying time, the tinny sounds of the broken piano resounding plaintively throughout the barren wood. A tear pooled in the corner of his eye. He wiped it away with the back of a dirty sleeve. “I must remind myself I am human. I must show the enemy I am more than a man in uniform.”
“But they will kill you.”
“Then let my last breath be the last note I play. Let me die in the rapture of the music I love.”
“You are a romantic fool, Matyas.”
“I know. Let that be written on my stone.”
©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016