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Little Boy

The burial had been taken care of an hour ago, people had moved their umbrellas from underneath the pouring dark skies towards the safety of the house where the reception was being held. The blue summer humidity hadn’t lasted for long; Leanna had been buried in her least favorite season.

The quiet chitter chatter of the guests filled the space with the occasional tinkling of cutlery and dishes. The death of the red-haired woman had been a long and tiresome affair, seemingly endless and exhausting to some, a subject of gossip to others, and deeply painful to a few.

Perhaps, the most hurt man was the one who stood in her small music room. With the various instruments lined across the wall, papers scattered throughout the room and the lingering smell of cigarette smoke, the cozy space was everything she was. His hand lingered above the piano before carelessly playing a few soft notes. She thoroughly despised anyone touching her things without permission, which she granted to absolutely no one, the hoarder. Come to think of it, as a child she’d always given him the impression of a dragon. Now he understood why; she was a hoarder who liked keeping everything to herself.

The slight remorse from touching the piano left him within the next heartbeat. He proceeded to brush his hand across every surface he could come across, fully aware of how she’d feel were she there. Long ago, he’d done the same, only to be caught in the act and had received the thrashing of his life. This time, there’d be none of that. Leanna wasn’t coming back.

Shivers trailed down his spine as his gaze fell upon the violin where it sat on a cushioned bench. Her cousin had said that was the last instrument she’d played. He was more concerned with the bench. That bench had memories, pleasant and unpleasant attached to it. Everything had changed there. From adolescence to early adulthood, this room held the spectres of his past he’d almost gotten rid of; almost, but not quite.

Just as he was about to travel the path of recalling her wandering hands on him, he heard a sound from near the door. Panicking for some unknown reason, he quickly moved forward to stand closer to the cellos, hoping to be shielded by them. He wasn’t really a tall man either, so it worked in his favor.

The person who entered was someone he’d seen on occasion, another student of Leanna’s. This man stood fixated by the piano, not unlike him a few moments ago.

A shiver trailed down his spine as he recognized something familiar in the way this man’s fingers touched the piano, as his eyes focused on the cushioned bench.

The other man’s eyes spotted him as he slightly moved forward from behind the cellos.

They quietly looked at each other, and then almost eerily looked at that bench. Recognition of must have happened – been done to – both of them settled into their eyes.

“I was 14,” he said to the other man.

“16.”

They stood silently in the room of their childhood abuser, realizing there was someone else to share the pain with, but unable to form words, as per the norm for the men in the world they lived.

Music flowed from somewhere in the house, Leanna’s famous composition, the album which had brought her the most accolades. It was titled, Little Boy.

There was more than just one.

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