Just as soon as he began, a swinging drum beat joined in. The unexpected addition jarred me from my delusional fantasy. I hadn’t even noticed the player sitting on the stool. The intense reflection coming off the drum set prevented me from seeing her face clearly, but her basic features of sandy brown hair and uncanny resemblance to Caitlin allowed me to guess that she was an Evens as well.
About five seconds in, the rest of the family joined in. Eventually, as the song continued, the sound of his piano was the only thing that drifted into my ears.
I stared at him as people got up to dance to the music. I didn’t even bother looking to see if my Papa had gotten up to dance with my Mama, or, knowing him, someone else. He was always ‘accidentally’ with some other woman and making my Mama mad.
I didn’t really care though, mostly because there were so many other times when he made Mama happy. Sometimes he even made her smile without her knowing it, like I was at the moment.
I began swaying in my seat. It made me want to get up and dance, but I didn’t really want to dance alone. And I didn’t really want to dance with either of my folks, because with just one glance to the right, I could tell they were arguing in hushed whispers. I sighed and returned my attention to the stage, but the song had ended just as I did and the room was full of applause.
James had his hands levitating slightly above keys, as if waiting for another chance to play again. Caitlin walked over to the piano to shut the cover as James hopped off the bench. As soon as he hit the ground, James gave a curt bow and a small smile before his Mama whispered something to him. He gave her a nod and walked away—his small smile completely gone.
As soon as the music started again, there were already a couple girls snaking their way through the dancing crowd, making a prominent bee-line towards James. A cute, little, blond girl with long curly hair got to him first. I watched in amusement as the girl nervously played with her hair by twisting it with her finger. The more she spoke, the more James seemed to look away.