RUSH (City Lights_ New York City Book 3)(132)

By: Emma Scott

I’m writing a memoir. Is there a more pretentious word? I doubt it, but that’s what it is. A memoir of my accident and everything that’s come after. Of struggling across Europe on my own, and of traveling across the world with Charlotte, as she plays to sold-out houses in gilded concert halls. Of our life together that is fuller and more rich than anything I’d known before the accident.

Yuri wants my book and I may give it to him, but right now I don’t care. It doesn’t even have a title yet but it has a dedication. To Charlotte. Of course, to Charlotte. Without her, I’m hunched in a musty room, listening to other people read and dying a little bit inside every day. I’d like to think I might have found my own way out of that pain and grief, but I don’t want to think about it. I don’t need to. I don’t have to curse and scream and shake my angry fist at the big empty sky. Not anymore.

I have found my hope, my gradations of darkness. I don’t jump out of airplanes anymore but I still fly. I feel the rush of adrenaline through my veins when my love for Charlotte overwhelms me. And I feel it now, as Charlotte touches my hand.

“It’s almost time. Are you ready?”

I nod. I close my eyes, waiting, and with a small intake of breath, Charlotte begins to play.

Her violin sings a low but intense note, and she holds it, makes it simmer. In the black backdrop of my universe, comes a faint glow, like an ember that shimmers on the cusp of a horizon. Her note rises, a soft vibrato, then holds again, and I see the light spread. I see it.

Charlotte’s violin paints the slow spill of light over the green forest, burnishing it with copper. I see the white, winding river coiling below, glowing where the light touches it. I see ruins revealed as the light creeps over them. Her violin holds a smooth, low note and then it bursts—her bow flurries over the strings—and I see the sun break free in a corona of fiery red and glowing yellow. My chest tightens and my heart aches with a pain so deep I can hardly breathe.

Charlotte plays the dawn, every rising note a brush stroke over a living painting. The notes flare and explode like fireworks around me, a riot of sound and light, and I feel tears sting my useless eyes. I see the dawn and know, with agonizing finality, that this is the only way I will ever see it again. Whatever was left of my old pain and bitterness is blown to dust forever.

The last note floats in the air as the sun’s light rises enough that the night is dispelled for the day, and I cover my eyes with my hand, my shoulders shuddering. I feel Charlotte’s arms around me. I raise my hand and find her heart-shaped face, her soft cheek and full lips.

“I saw it, Charlotte,” I whisper. “I saw it all.”

I feel her nod, and she releases a ragged breath, and I draw toward that sound, to the mouth that made it, and kiss her, because she has given me everything.

I am blind but I’m no longer lost in the dark. The future with Charlotte is vast and bright, and over that horizon—our horizon—I can see to forever.