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It Should Have Been You

Once I decided to kill her, the rest was surprisingly easy.      

I waited in the dark, my back pressed against the cool exterior stones. When she stopped playing, I knew what the silence meant. She was scribbling another note in the margins of her music.

            I tapped on her studio window. She startled, dropped her pencil, and snapped her head toward the sound. Rising from the piano, she took a few tentative steps, the hike in her shoulders disappearing when she saw it was me. Her hand lifted in greeting and gestured towards the back door off of the kitchen.

            I stepped inside. She smiled. Only the slight twitch in her left eye let me know she was less than thrilled to see me.

 She led me back to the love seat in her studio.

            “You scared me,” she said. ‘What’s up?”

            “Sorry, I didn’t mean to. I was on my way home and thought I’d return this to you.” I pulled out the biography of Horowitz.

            “It’s good, isn’t it?” She walked over to her bookcase and shelved it with the other biographies of renowned pianists. She had an extensive collection. Alphabetized, of course.

            “Extremely well written. So where is everybody?”

“My parents are at rehearsal, and Clara’s up in her room listening to that insipid jazz she’s so crazy about. She knows not to bug me when I’m practicing.”

“I didn’t mean to interrupt either. How’s it going?”

            She shrugged. “Good. Having a little trouble with the last movement, but…”

            “Mind if I sit and listen for a minute?”

            “That’d be great.” She jumped up and eagerly moved to the Steinway. I wondered if she was relieved she didn’t have to make any more small talk. Who knew where that would lead?

             I studied her as she launched into the opening notes of Barcarolle. She was beautiful. Not as beautiful as her music, but close. Her dark curls cascaded down her long spine. She swayed to the music, lost in its beauty and power.

            I congratulated myself on how thoughtful I was, letting her die doing what she truly loved. All those dramatic speeches I’d fantasized giving her weren’t going to happen. Surprise was everything. She’d never know what hit her.

            Moura played on, oblivious as usual to everything except her music.

Like I said, it was surprisingly easy.

It Should Have Been You
by by Lynn Slaughter