Chapter Two

Sleep was rare on most nights.

Bo found the silence of the apartment much too loud, if that could even make sense. The way each creak of the floorboard seemed to be a ghost making its way down the hallway, the echoing sounds of the City just as haunting.

The nightmares of his car accident had faded, though the missing indentation in his bed could sometimes bring them back.

Too much of one noise and Bo would be trapped in a loop, a never ending cycle that turned the world upside down and left him stuck wondering which way was up.

He often dreamed good dreams, of Broadway Stages and an unrecognized face telling him that everything would be alright. Though Bo found the most hope in the dreamless nights, in the way that his vision would fade to black and then it would be suddenly morning. Lights streaming in crooked through the curtains that he could never quite get closed all the way, the smell of the morning in the air.

But that would not be this night.

He had tried for hours to fall asleep, laying on his back with blank unfocused eyes gazing up at the ceiling, laying on his side (always the right, never the left) with a forearm thrown over his face trying to create a sense of security.

The hollow silence of the apartment is all too haunting and aggressive for Bo’s mind, though God forbid he try and play some music to ease himself to sleep. The composer in him would take to analyzing every note rather than using it as it should be, a channel at which he could fall asleep through.

Friday nights were the best nights for a perfect dreamless sleep.

The slight hum of music from the next door neighbors who never seemed to tire from throwing extravagant parties every Friday night. They had originally felt the need to extend an invitation to Bo the first few Friday’s after he moved in, though after the fourth time Bo turned them down, the couple had decided to stop attempting to create a friendship. Though Bo had regretted turning them down for some time, he made the realization that their company was not one he needed, especially at such an early time in his recovery.

Bo was rather frazzled, wishing more than anything that he could have just gotten to sleep without all of this hum-drum, he muttered under his breath as he started to push himself up in bed. The springs creaked loudly, echoing through the silence of the bedroom.

His leg was still by his front door as he had not thought to grab it before settling into bed with a cup of tea and a decent book, and now he found himself deeply regretting the lapse in judgement. His downstairs neighbors had already complained multiple times about Bradley’s cane making too much noise in the morning, despite it being a necessary thing some mornings. The man reaches for his cane, finding comfort in the familiarly smooth wood of the handle, it taps against the ground as he pushes himself into a standing position, tottering down the hallway at a slow, but constant, pace, making a point of keeping the sound light against the ground.

It’s much too early for anything, the sun hadn’t even started to rise, the deep navy blue sky a testament to that.

Bo has always loved the morning.

The way that the entire city seems to still be sleeping, and the air held some sort of secret story that could only be heard by those who pulled themselves from their room at an early enough time. Sunrises had to be his favorite part, the way the sun peeked through the buildings and took it’s time to rise. The birds joined suit, before the people could even wake fully.

Those working the midnight hours would be just getting home, and those with early morning shifts would leave minutes later. Their commutes following the same path, all tired and half awake, nearly all having one last cup of coffee before reaching their respective destinations.

That was the life that Bo had first romanticized when arriving in New York.

Graveyards shifts and empty subway platforms. Early morning coffee shops and twenty-four hour diners.

It was the life that drew Bo in and kept his interest.

There was Juniors, on 49th street, that was always open late and was a staple food during his Broadway runs, though he rarely went now.

Bo made his way into the kitchen, clicking as he went, though he made an attempt to keep it as soft as possible. He flipped the kettle on as he passed by, pulling a mug from the cabinet.

You may say I’m a lover.” Bradley smiled as he mumbled the words under his breath, the lyrics coming naturally as he spoke, “But damn I gotta disagree-e-e-e.

It was comical, the image of a one legged man singing alone in his kitchen at just after five a.m., the kettle just barely begging to whistle along in an awful tune. The man barely resisted the urge to harmonize against the horrible pitch.

The piano was calling his name the moment his tea was made, and he went there without a fight. His fingertips dragging along the keys at a slow pace, a smile decorating his face as he did. Bo played delicately, stroking the keys in a way that made the notes dance around the small apartment.

Bo was careful to place softly, his fingers just barely tapping against each key, a missed note here and there from the delicate pressure that he used.

This was the one thing that consistently brought comfort to Bo. The way that no matter what piano he sat at, his, the public one a couple blocks from here, a thousand dollar grand used solely by the greats, it would always sound the same. Beautiful harmonies and wonderful melodies, dancing across the rooms and echoing through the caverns of wherever he was performing.

A piano was always played the same.

It would be a wonderful day, that much had already been decided.

The brilliant cup of tea now cooling on the piano top, Bo had remembered to stop by the store on the way home, and the cup almost surely made up for the coffee yesterday. Getting the chance to play the piano was always a plus as well, and there was a meeting later today for people like Bradley who had lost a limb in any sort of accident.

A support group, in a way, full of snarky people missing limbs all with awful and dark senses of humor. Bradley looked forward to going, as hearing about the lives of everyone was rather encouraging for his own life.

Bo’s phone buzzed, and his hands halted on the piano keys, the sound jarring and much louder than he meant for it to be.

Unknown:

is this Bo?

Five Fourty Three a.m.

Unknown:

its Oscar-Michael Torres

Five Fourty Three a.m.

Bradley smiled, getting much too excited about the text for someone who wasn’t sure about the original meet that they had had.

Bo:

It is.

Five Fourty Four a.m.

Bo:

What the hell are you 

doing up so early?

Five Fourty Four a.m.

Bo set the phone down, telling himself that he wouldn’t answer as quickly the next time it buzzed, but the moment he did he snatched the phone up. His elbows thunking against the fallboard as he leaned against it.

OSM:

language

Five Fourty Five a.m.

OSM:

early morning meeting and I 

could ask the same of you.

Five Fourty Six a.m.

It was unusual for Bradley’s heart to pound in such a way, tapping in a rhythm that threw everything off. So much of his life relied on the way that his heart tapped in his chest, the internal rhythm a wonderful metronome.

Bo:

Couldn’t sleep.

Five Fourty Seven a.m.

OSM:

how about breakfast then?

Five Fourty Eight a.m.

He was always quick to reply, at least so far. Which meant that he was most likely someone who takes the Subway when the need be. If only Bo felt as confident to do that, but the idea of sharing the same seat as hundreds of other someones made his skin crawl.

Bo:

What about your meeting?

Five Fourty Nine a.m.

Bo had taken a moment to reply, before setting the phone flat against his sheet music, watching as the text bubble just continued to appear and disappear.

OSM:

after then?

Five Fifty Two a.m.

It was a small message but based on how long it took to type, Bo could only assume that it meant many times to rephrase, which he could entirely understand. Not wanting to come off overeager was Bradley’s middle name.

Bo:

And what's to say you

aren’t some serial killer?

Five Fifty Three a.m.

Bo:

Besides, we met for like

three minutes yesterday.

Five Fifty Three a.m.

Bo smiled in a way of suppressing a laugh that threatened to pass through his lips. It was dramatic, but in his sleep addled mind it was a viable question. Some part of him hoped the conversation would continue, and that over time Oscar would convince him to feel comfortable with dinner.

OSM:

true

Five Fifty Four a.m.

OSM:

then how about I try and

guess who you are?

Five Fifty Four a.m.

OSM:

I think three minutes is

enough time.

Five Fifty Four a.m.

Bo couldn’t help but feel enamored at the idea of someone wanting to do something so simple as going to breakfast but going as far as to fully introduce himself and make sure that he was comfortable with him. Oscar made no attempts to make the breakfast happen no matter what, but more so just took it as an opportunity to better acquaint himself with the subject of his apparent affections.

The bubble kept appearing, obviously whatever the message was would take a moment, and so once again Bradley found himself tapping at the piano keys as lightly as possible.

“Bright wonderful morning,” It was muttered in the same phrase as an old Broadway song, “Not perfectly ideal.” Everything was garbled in his mind, he was much too distracted by the idea of Oscar than focusing on the actual lyrics.

There was something about the way the piano sounded so early in the morning. How it’s soft notes echoed through the impossibly hollow apartment, the shelves upon shelves of books not changing the way the chords sounded.

The sound of his phone vibrating in quick succession nearly startled Bo, but he found himself smiling as he read each message.

OSM:

I’m guessing 26.

Six Oh One a.m.

OSM:

Favorite color is blue, you like

cats and baking. You prefer the 

book over the movie and you

went to Wesleyan.

Six Oh Two a.m.

OSM:

aaaaand Bo isn’t your real

name.

Six Oh Four a.m.

It was a pretty good start in Bo’s eyes, though not entirely accurate in most ways.

Bo:

Close.

Six Oh Six a.m.

OSM:

really?

Six Oh Six a.m.

Bo:

No.

Six Oh Six a.m.

Bo:

I’m 28. I like yellow. I prefer 

Dogs. I do like baking, I make

a wonderful chocolate pie.

Six Oh Seven a.m.

Bo:

And I went to Julliard, not

Wesleyan.

Six Oh Seven a.m.

It was all true; the age, Juilliard, yellow, dogs, the chocolate pie, and none of it was really all that intimate, but it was parts of him that he had shared with basically a complete stranger. Though, there was a bit of comfort in conversation over text rather than in person.

OSM:

liar

Six Oh Nine a.m.

OSM:

I wasn’t close at all.

Six Oh Nine a.m.

Bo:

You were right about

the name?

Six Ten a.m.

It was a poor consolation prize, but Bo hoped all of it brought as much of a smile to Oscar’s face as it did to Bo’s. 

While Bradley fully intended on guessing what he didn’t know about Oscar, the benefits of knowing someone's full name, and that someone being a composer on Broadway meant a significant amount of articles and a large wikipedia page. The color was a guess, and the cooking, Bo already knew the job part, and the Wesleyan was new:

Bo:

I’m guessing composer,

writer and performer. The

color blue, you can’t cook,

and you went to Wesleyan.

Six Twelve a.m.

OSM:

why are you good at

this?

Six Thirteen a.m.

Bo:

In my honest defense.

Six Fourteen a.m.

Bo:

I googled you for the

school bit.

Six Fifteen a.m.

OSM:

I feel like I’m at a

disadvantage.

Six Fifteen a.m.

Bradley couldn’t form a reply after that. It was almost as if it were an awkward lull in the conversation, just over text.

The bubble didn’t appear again for a minute, the time slowly clicking on Bo's eagerness to have a conversation accompanied with his willingness to try something new bringing forth a side of Bo that he hadn’t seen in a long time.

It was wonderful, and worrying at the same time.

Trust is not a one way street.

Related chapters

DMCA.com Protection Status