She peered out into the audience, scanning the faces in the first row, as she walked onto the bright stage to the giant piano. He wasn’t there. If he was, he’d be on the end, her back to him.
She perched herself before the large instrument, looking calm but feeling a tempest grow within. He’s not here, he’s not here, she kept thinking. He was at her every performance, with his big toothy grin and wide, thunderous applause. It’s amazing how one person can affect a performance.
She tried to focus, tried to concentrate. But she couldn’t keep tears from clouding her vision; she could barely see the keys let alone play them. Then she remembered the locket she wore; he’d given it to her, his large fingers fumbling with the clasp as he put it on her.
She touched the inlaid locket with her fingers, which strengthened her. He may not be here, she thought, but he'll be able to hear me, I know it. Taking a deep breath, she began to play, thinking, This one's for you, Johnny.