He sat down and dragged his fingers across the keys. The dust he rubbed between his thumb and middle finger felt like fine sand and reminded him of flicking his toes together on the Kalama beach last June sitting next to Loren Hobbs in her red and orange skirted bikini, skin smelling like sun and wind-blown sand caught in her hair and no one ever moved as graceful as she had as she’d gotten up and walked herself down thigh-high into the water and bent down and washed her hands and splashed the cold waves against arms and neck.
The heavy velvet curtains were always drawn, dimming the room. The misty gloom covered the old wooden writing table and the piano sat against the far wall, neglected and forgotten. When you first passed through the doorway, the temperature seemed to drop, making your hair stand on end for a few seconds before you realized it was only the darkness that seemed medieval.
“Finnegan, have you finished packing yet?”
“Give me a few more minutes, sir.”
He stood and scooted the bench back under the piano and took the stairs two at a time.
“You’re friend said he’d be here ‘round noon, didn’t he? It’s almost half past one and he’s not here and you’re not packed – says a lot about your generation, that does. No respect for time, for keeping appointments. If you’re on time you’re late, that’s what my father always said to me. If you’re on time, boyo, you’re late.”
Fin tucked the last of his books on top his clothes and shut the big suitcase, buckling it tight. He took one last look around his room and yanked the window shut and tugged the curtains close and locked the door behind him. His uncle was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Fin dropped the key in his hand. The old man hit him on the shoulder as he walked past to sit on the porch and wait for Keith.
The sun was filtered by vapor clouds. An old buck darted across the fields and disappeared over the hill at the sound of Fin’s syncopated steps on the wood as the suitcase bagged against his right leg. It knocked against the bruise he’d gotten from tripping over deadwood that morning. He set the suitcase down on the grass; set himself down on the bottom step; squinted up at the sun and stared ‘til the clouds went off looking for another sun to bother.
“I got a sandwich for you.”
Fin turned around and almost missed the catch. Red spots were everywhere he wanted to look.
“It’s chicken onion.”
He lumbered back in to the house and shut the door behind him.
Fin looked back up at the sun, waiting.