There are certain places or certain smells that cause one to think of certain events. They're linked together. For example, I cannot smell raspberry jam cookies without thinking of the Christmas of 1912. I can't see the snowy forest without thinking of the time when Ben, Will and I went sledding and Ben broke his arm. But sights and smells aren't the only things that are this way. Sounds are like this too. Certain melodies can be linked to the holidays, or the sounds of singing birds can be linked to hopeful springs. But there is one song that is linked to a beautiful moment. One quiet, melancholy piano tune that reminds me of a simply perfect afternoon.
Will called it Demain Est Nouvelle, which was French for "tomorrow is new". I never understood why he didn't just call it Tomorrow Is New. I suppose Demain Est Nouvelle sounded more artsy or mysterious. You see, it was a piece that Will had written. He'd always be at our house, playing it on our piano during quiet afternoons. I always assumed at was in a minor key, due to how melancholy it sounded, but Will had corrected me and said that it was in a major key. "It's not so much the key you play in, it's the emotion you play with," he had once said. I never thought much of it before, but I slowly began to realize what he meant. I'd go to parties and listen to other young men and women play the piano. Their playing was flawless, yet it lacked any feeling. It was just notes, rather than a story. And I realized, no one played like Will. Others played the piano with talent, but Will played with emotion.
"Ah, Demain Est Nouvelle?" I said as Will sat down at the piano. He looked up and smiled.
"If you like," he responded.
"I think I would," I laughed.
He didn't have to get my approval. He would've played it any way, even if I had said no. He was in love with the song, and I had begun to fall madly in love with it as well. As he played softly, with an endless amount feeling, my eyes drifted out the window. But they couldn't stay focused on the sights outside. They kept wandering back to Will. Once or twice he looked up, his green eyes communicating more than words could. And in that moment I realized that I wasn't falling in love with Demain Est Nouvelle... I was falling in love with Will.
I smiled unknowingly. I had always been in love with him. Every single day of my life was a chaotic, messy, beautiful whirlwind, in which I was falling deeper and deeper in love. I was trapped and there was no hope for my escape. From the moment I met him, I was meant to be with him. I couldn't be more in love with him. And of course everyone always knew it... Except me. But I knew now. I knew how much I truly loved Will.
I looked up to find Ben standing in the small doorway. He smiled at me as if he knew my thoughts. I smiled back at him in a moment of true beauty. The sun painted the room in pastel light as I stood and walked toward my brother. He put his arm around me and I rested my head on his strong shoulder.
"It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," he whispered in my ear.
I looked at him, not knowing what he meant. "What is?"
"Just the room. Just the light. Just you looking at Will as if you've finally realized that's how you've always looked at him... It's not the first time you've looked at like that, Alice. You've looked at him with that expression in your big eyes since the day you met him."
"I know," I laughed quietly. "I know..."
"I'm glad to see you've realized your feelings before I left," he sighed.
Ah, yes. Reality. It shatters this perfect moment like a stone hitting a stain glass window. Will was leaving an war was coming. I took a deep breath. "I know," I whispered quietly.
"Ah, come then. Cheer up, alright? Remember, you're in love," Ben said rubbing my arm. I laughed and looked into his eyes. He left me standing in the door with my thoughts and the last notes of Will's perfect symphony.
Will looked up at me and smiled. We looked at each other, too afraid to break the fragile silence. I slowly walked toward him and sat next to him on the piano bench.
"It's my favorite song, you know?" I said.
"Mine too," he smiled. We looked at each other in the silent moment. Nothing had changed at all. We were still the same Will and Alice. The only thing that had changed was the fact that I knew now. I knew that I was in love. I think he knew too.