I wanted to leave

by Helena Krmpotić (15)
Coordinator for Savremena gimnazija:
Olivera Marjanović
School: Savremena gimnazija
Belgrade, Serbia

I was walking home from the store, a paper bag full of groceries in one hand, and today's
newspaper in the other. I took a look at the front page, my friend was on it, and a big smile
covered his face. The title said “The new music genius wrote the best composition of all times”
and then the first sentence after that was “People love it, they say it knocks them off their feet”.
I lowered the newspaper, a sad smile could be seen on my face. A single tear rolled down my
cheek. My song. He stole my song. I was furious, he was going to regret this.
I continued my walking, trying to compose myself. I couldn't believe it, how could he do this to
me? I was approaching his house, my steps were quickening, and I practically ran there. I
knocked on his door not so gently. When he finally opened the door I pushed him to the floor
grabbing his shoulders so he couldn't move too much. My groceries were everywhere but I didn't care.
‘Why would you do this to me?!’ I yelled in his face my breathing quickening. A smile was
visible on his face ‘What are you talking about?’ I can't believe it ‘Oh… So you're playing dumb
now, this is what I'm talking about I took the newspapers from the ground and threw it in his
face. I stood up looking down at him with disgust in my eyes. ‘Oh, this… yeah.. ‘ ‘How could you
do this to me, when you know the only reason I let you hear AND play my composition is that I
wanted to dance with my wife… I trusted you!’ ‘Well, it certainly isn't my fault that you wrote
such a good song and did not publish it!’ ‘You know I write them just for my wife not for the
whole world to hear!… you know’ the last sentence was barely above a whisper. The tears were
racing down my face as if to see which one will be the first at the finish line – my chin. I just
looked at him for the last time and walked out of the door slamming it against its frame.
I will never forget what you did and I will never forget this year – 1957.
*
I shivered at the remembered memory. I looked across from me, seeing my wife eating her
breakfast peacefully. She looked tired, she probably barely slept last night. The faint smell of
green tea filled the cold room. The crackling of the fire could be heard. It was peaceful, and that
gave me an idea. The soft, peaceful sensation. That's how the song should sound.
I got up and made my way to the living room where my piano stood lonely. There were papers
scattered on top of it, some full, some empty, waiting for beautiful notes to be written on them. I
sat down at the old instrument in front of me. I sighed, I haven't written compositions since that
dark day. Has it been two years already? It doesn't even matter. What's really important is what is
in front of me. I took the notebook with trembling hands. I went through the old notes,
remembering the warm sound. I flipped through the notebook until I reached the end. I took the
chemical pen, which was among all those papers, and started to fill in the blank sheets.

Inspiration did not stop. I wrote and scribbled in the notebook until I was done. I think it's been
at least an hour and a half since I started. I took a new notebook and started to write down my
new composition so that I wouldn't make any mistakes when I play.
I put the score (sheet music) on the stand. I adjusted my glasses, bringing them back to the bridge of my nose. I moved the chair I was sitting on closer to the piano and slowly put my fingers on the keys. I mentally prepared myself to press them and hear the soothing sound coming from an old instrument.
I closed my eyes and relaxed, but it didn't last long. As soon as I heard the loud sound of the
piano, I froze. I read the notes and continued playing with a light touch. I didn't take my eyes off
the notebook. I was motionless. I couldn't believe I was playing. My brain couldn't process it.
My hands seemed to play by themselves. As if they had a will of their own. Thought for
themselves, let us say it like that. It was as if they missed the touch of the piano. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my wife enter the room. She looked shocked. She approached me slowly, stopping little by little on that short trip. She probably thought that if she came any closer, I would stop playing.
When she finally approached the piano, when she was right in front of me, we made eye contact,
not one of us breaking it. She slowly closed her eyes and took a few steps away from the piano. I
thought she was going to leave, so I slowed down my playing, I thought it was a silly idea and
that I should stop. But as soon as I saw that she started swaying from one side to the other, I
instantly understood what was happening. I continued, I couldn't stop now. I watched her dance.
She distracted me with her movements, I couldn't look away, and even if I could, why would I?
Her perfectly blended gestures with the rhythm of the music were magical. Anyone would fall in
love with her gentle steps. Her movements are like a drug to me, and I hope my music has the
same effect on her.
My eyes shined with tears that would soon escape from my eyelids and begin to flow down my
cheeks straight onto my thighs. It's been so long since I've seen her dance like this, and even
longer since she danced to my music. I couldn't stop them and I wouldn't. I want my wife to see
how upset I am that I can't dance by her side.
We made eye contact again. She saw my face, her eyes widened for a split second. She gave me
a small but genuine smile showing that she understands my situation.
She spins on her axis as if she has no worries in life, but I knew what she was doing. She was
trying to hide her tears from me.
When she finally stopped spinning I saw her red cheeks. Despite the tears streaming down her
cheeks, she had a big smile on her face. It broke me even more. Watching my love dance without
a warm embrace beside her. Is there anything sadder than watching someone you love, dance
alone and you're right next to them, not even three meters away? Watching them brake inside
because they can't reach you.
Now I know what it means when people say “so close yet so far”. I want to scream and cry as
loud as I can but the only thing that comes out of my mouth is a soft and quiet sob. She couldn't hear me and I'm glad. As the song was coming to an end all I wanted to tell her was I wanted to
leave the piano so I could dance with you. To make you happy.