A Successful Hunt
They all want me, even the women.
I close my eyes and let my fingers continue their waltz across the keys. My voice is soft, and as the song floats down through the final verse, I hear someone in the back of the room say, “She is awesome, and that dress—Ooh-La-La!”
I should be used to this part by now. Something about being dressed up at the piano makes me desirable. The men leer and ogle, and the women blush and look away. All they see is the beauty, the facade. None of them know the true me, the me that I try to express through my music.
The hungry me.
I open my eyes, and gaze around the room before I begin the next song. That is when I see him; an older blind gentleman, he sits quietly at the table nearest to the raised piano pedestal.
His eyes are filmy cataracts, and his white cane leans against his shoulder. I begin to play, and I see him turn his unblinking face away, allowing his ear to find the piano and my voice. I am intrigued, and flattered in a way that all of the winks and wolf-whistles have never made me feel.
For the next three minutes, I let myself become lost in the music. When I finish the song, the old man quietly turns to back to face me and gently claps. Above the quiet applause and voices in the lounge, I hear him say softly, “Brava.”
Finally! Someone who I know will understand. Someone who might actually be able to truly appreciate my gifts.
I decide then that he will be mine.
After the set, I approach his table and he motions me to sit, before I even speak a word. “You have touched my heart, young lady,” he says. “You feel your music so deeply, that you have brought my senses along for the ride. For that, I thank you.”
This man fascinates me, and when he asks if I will accompany him to the taxi stand, I quickly agree.
This is almost too easy.
We walk out, his arm loosely linked in mine, his cane leading the way for us both. As we reach the curb, I notice the street lamp is strangely dark, and I realize we are completely alone. I reach into my pocket and turn to him, certain my hunger is showing in my eyes.
I see his blank eyes turn directly toward me, and his arm quickly wraps around me with a strength I would have never guessed a man his age could possess. Before I can bring my cell phone out of my pocket, I feel a soft cloth against my mouth and nose.
My head is pulled against him in a vise-like grip, and then there is nothing but the sickeningly sweet aroma of over-ripe oranges as the world dissolves into darkness . . .