The explosion had not come in the middle of the night–that would have made it a cliche, this disaster–but during the middle of the day. There had been an explosion and the sound of a shriek, followed by a rush to clean up the immediate fire and glass before the entire basement was burning.
It was when one of them fell to his knees with his hands covering his face, that the true extent of what happened became apparent.
During the times his Beloved could not speak, the violin became his guide.
He had asked for a song, one autumn evening–the paperwork had come back, a potential experimental procedure that he was qualified for, and he needed to take his mind off all the fear and hope that was rolling around in his stomach. He felt hands grasp his own, and his Beloved began to sign.
Do you want to try playing, he paused, or should I?
“You do it, I simply want to listen.”
I’ll be back. There was the sound of footsteps on the porch, then the screen door closing softly. There was a pause, the door opening, and the footsteps returning again. There was a clunk and the sounds of a violin case being opened, and the instrument being unwrapped.
“You need to tune first,” he said.
Whatever dry comment may have been made in the pause was lost as a single screeching note filled the air. There were three more off-key notes, each in rapid succession, each one making him wince.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it,” he asked, “since you’ve played?” He leaned back against the porch swing, holding out his hands as his Beloved began signing again.
Yes. The pause that followed lasted too long to be comfortable. I…was composing a piece, when your experiment exploded.
“Darling, I didn’t know….”
Let me! The words were signed too quickly, his Beloved’s hands shaking slightly even as the words were formed. Let me play for you. Please.
A single slow, mournful note filled the air. It shifted into a second, a higher cry of longing. The piece was discordant, a display of all the empty spaces between them, of all that had happened before and since those tragedies.
He remembered his Beloved in a hospital room, utterly broken beyond repair, slipping away into what he had thought was his true death. But the Land and the Far Ones had brought him back, and his rage upon waking was only stunted by the Land’s energy rolling through him, refusing to let him go.
Darkness must like its King. The first words he signed were bitter, sarcastic. His scars–what would be his scars–were glowing, spilling golden light. His golden eyes were filled with rage.
The room had been completely dark, the curtains and blinds pulled for privacy. He had slipped away into death late in the evening after the doctors had left, but now he was breathing and his Heart was beating.
It was dawn, and the King’s life had begun yet again.
They were no longer by the sea, no longer in that cramped white room, but the song that his Beloved played on his violin held those memories.
“Was that what you were working on,” he asked. “They day I…lost my eyes?”
No, that…was something happier. The violin case was closed, and he felt a hand resting on his shoulder. He leaned into the touch, and warm arms enveloped him.
The click of his cane on the tiled floor echoed. He hoped he would no longer need it, but giving it up right away would be like suddenly losing his watch, awkward and constantly feeling like he was forgetting something.
He could, at least, detect the light from behind his closed eyes. His new eyes. It felt strange, these wires and bandages, but there was a promise of hope as well.
There was a loud clunk when his cane hit the door, and he paused.
“Do you want me to get that,” his Beloved asked.
He could hear the door opening, could feel the rush of wind on his face. He reached up and slowly, gently, removed the bandages that were covering his eyes. Slowly, he opened his eyes.
He was standing in the dim corridor of the Singing Halls, not out in the full sunlight. His Beloved was leaning against an apple tree, watching him quietly. His Beloved stepped forward and held out a hand, the mosaic design on his shirt shimmering in the sunlight. He took his Beloved’s hand, and was drawn out into the sunlight.