Lazarus slumped into his sofa, the vodka bottle firmly in his grasp. He half closed his eyes and swore loudly at himself for being so stupid. Way to screw things up! But how was he to know? He was a recluse, unused to any company at all, let alone company that burst into tears on him. He had meant to comfort her, but instead he had upset her even more. He slapped his forehead with the base of his palm. How was he supposed to patch things up?
He glanced over at the piano. He hadn’t composed anything in over a century. He hadn’t seen the point. The weak winter sunlight filtered onto the work keys, as if highlighting their presence in the room. They tempted him over, and he obeyed the pull. The notes came naturally. He composed it with a violin accompaniment in mind, adding room to the score to allow for the next part to follow. The manuscript paper was old and yellowed, age attacking its particles. The ink seeped into the paper as he scribbled down with a sense of certainty what he played out. He would have to find some new manuscript paper and rewrite it some time.
He filled in the last crotchet on the paper for the piano part and looked up, stretching to work out the dull ache in his muscles. He looked out of the window and realised how dark it had become outside. He glanced at the clock and realised he had been sitting at the piano for hours; it was five in the evening. The ugly orange lights outside illuminated the streets around the apartment block. He wondered if Melissa was out there, hunting right now, or if she was in her apartment sitting quietly, memories playing out in her mind.
He shook his head and shivered. The window was open, letting in a cold breeze. He got up, wincing at the cramp in his legs and stiffly shut the window. He hadn’t remembered opening it. Strange things happen without explanation when you’re a drunk. Lazarus smiled to himself. He had been semi sober for nearly two whole days now. It sickened him that he was proud of this, as if it were some kind of achievement. He turned back to the piano and considered the composition, listening to his memory of it and how he imagined the violin playing over it.
He didn’t hesitate to mark in pencil the imagined violin part, playing it on the piano as he went. The tip of his tongue stuck out as he concentrated on not slipping and marking in the wrong note. He paused and decided to quietly play through the whole thing once, humming the violin’s part over the top to himself to check it through. A smile worked its way onto his lips as he reached the final cadence.
“For Melissa” he scrawled at the top. He sat back and sighed. He was happy with the piece; he just hoped Melissa would be. He lifted the vodka bottle from the top of the piano and put the rim to his lips, tipping it back sharply. The last dribble of liquor rolled into his mouth and he grumbled, getting up, cursing as he fumbled around for his wallet. Picking up the manuscript paper, he left his apartment, slipping the composition under her door as he left the building for more alcohol. This has gotta stop. He thought to himself as he wandered out into the cold night, hardly able to remember where the off licence was even located.