Christian Courier published a (very) short story I wrote. You cannot access it at their website unless you have a paid subscription, so I’ll reprint it here…
Teeth clenching his pencil, one hand is hovering the bass range of the grand piano’s keyboard while the other is carefully clasping the upper right corner of the sheet of music on the music rack. Stephen is staring at the music, carefully, painstakingly handwritten. A bead of perspiration forms on his forehead.
It is half past supper dishes and quarter to bedtime. It is a precious moment of peace and passion.
Nearly rhythmically, the pencil moves from his mouth into his hand. It stands poised, millimetres away from the paper, ready to add a note, or adjust the key, or change the tempo, or perhaps even scratch the entire measure. Any addition, correction or deletion is weighted with purpose. Twelve pages of music scattered around the piano prove it. He has been working on this in free moments for as many years. It is complex. This is Stephen’s opus.
Pencil lead suddenly makes decisive contact with his composition. Stephen tightens his grip, prepared to translate the full orchestra in his mind into the language of staves and notes on his paper.
And the telephone rings.
The pencil lowers without leaving a mark. Stephen reaches for the Talk button. His pastor’s call is punctual if not painfully predictable. The voice on the line is cordial, maddeningly grateful; it is hard for Stephen to be angry with the interruption.
“Numbers 287, 135, 547, 512 and 288, please.” Hymns for Sunday’s service.
Phone call over, Stephen rubs his eyes with the thumb and index finger of his left hand. The other hand still holds the pencil, filled with unknown potential, having just jotted down hymn numbers.
Sheet music is gathered up again and carefully placed in the black folder. The pencil now neatly rests on top of it. It must wait for another day, or, more likely, another week or another month.
The notes in the hymnal are large, the melodies simple. Stephen practices, but certainly not out of necessity.
He is looking forward to Sunday morning.