Chapter 11:

The Last Piece of the Puzzle

The Sound of Love

Beep beep.

I hit the alarm clock. Despite it ringing, I couldn't sleep. No matter how hard I tried, sleep refused to come.

"Playing music is about showing what you feel. It's about sharing the things that bring you the most joy" The words echoed in my mind as if my father was whispering in my ear.

The daylight, like little guiding arrows, pointed the way to the music room.

The door was slightly open, inviting. Upon entering, I found a neat and cozy room. The books were well-arranged on the shelves and the bookcases held a strange fascination, as if hiding secrets within their colors and forms.

The wind brushed against the window, and I let it in as if seeking a comforting embrace. The chilly breeze filled the room, taking a few loose pages from the table on a brief ballet in the air, and I watched them with enchantment.

As they landed on the floor, I could see they were familiar words, written in my father's own hand.

In the breeze, we sway
Time's melody, it plays
Like a favorite tune on replay
Life's rhythm, our hearts obey

Within our cozy home
Love finds its sweetest tone
And happiness, a feeling known
Binds us in a love that's grown

The words reverberated within me, reminding me of the moment my father composed them, and a feeling of peace and gratitude washed over me.

My eyes were drawn to the guitar, resting beside the bookshelf, and it was as if it called me to something irresistible.

Carefully, I picked up the guitar and sat on the floor, placing it on my lap. With a gentle touch, my fingers moved from one string to another, adjusting the tuning pegs until the sound came naturally.

"How can I do this?" I asked myself, caressing my neck in search of distant memories.

I plucked the strings, trying to activate my memory through the sounds. Gradually, in soft notes, precise chords, and an enchanting progression, I remembered the moments when I was merely a spectator watching my father play.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

"Playing music is about showing what you feel. It's about sharing the things that bring you the most joy"

I let my hands guide me on the guitar, immersed in the sounds it produced. At that moment, I found myself on a sunny beach, contemplating a warm and welcoming sunset.

My parents and Keiji were by my side, and together we experienced that moment of intimate togetherness. I felt immersed in tranquility and tangible peace, the sunlight warming my heart, wishing that moment could last for eternity.

I opened my eyes, bringing myself back to the room, looking at my hands and the guitar.

"And what if I spiced things up a bit?"

I closed my eyes once more and took a deep breath.

I played the same melody, but this time with more energy, with bigger and more contagious chords, using strumming techniques to create a fuller and more engaging sound, and adding percussive beats to give it an exciting rhythm.

Now, I found myself on the same beach, but the scene was even more vibrant. Keiji was running along the shore, with my father chasing him, trying to catch up. Both were smiling and laughing, infected by the joy of the moment. My father stopped, inviting me to join in the play.

At that moment, I felt no sadness, just fleeting happiness, grateful for having a moment with him within my intimate imagination.

As my fingers danced on the strings, I felt that I was finally understanding what my father meant.

But it still felt like there was a missing piece in the puzzle...

♪ ♫ ♪

It was another day of rehearsals at Haru's place. We hadn't decided on any song to play yet. Haru and Airi were debating over some songs, but couldn't agree on any.

"We need a song where the drums stand out."

"No! We need a song with a catchy melody."

Each of them defended their point of view, and Kurokawa was caught in the crossfire.

"Akane, tell him that a good melody is what makes the music more enjoyable."

"Kurokawa, tell her that the rhythm of the drums is what makes the heart beat with emotion."

Kurokawa smiled nervously, feeling caught in the middle. She didn't want to get into an argument with anyone and looked at me seeking some help.

"Calm down, calm down. Let's not put Kurokawa in this awkward situation. I have something that you all might like."

"Oh yeah? I hope it's really good," Airi said.

"I hope so too, it's an original composition."

I confess I was hesitant to show them these compositions. Imagining their reactions gave me fear and anguish.

I went to my backpack and took out some papers from inside, placing them on the coffee table.

"These are some of the compositions my father wrote. Kurokawa thought we could play them here during rehearsals..."

Airi looked at Haru with a mischievous look. I knew they were exchanging telepathic messages about me and Kurokawa.

Both of them ran to the table, excited, looking at each of the sheets. They analyzed every detail, and the more they read, the more enthusiastic they became. Kurokawa also approached cautiously, observing one of the compositions she had seen that day. She read it with interest and affection.

"Wooooow!" Haru let out an almost inhuman sound, widening his eyes.

"I-I didn't know Yuuji had such a hidden treasure!" Airi said, her voice filled with excitement echoing through the room.

"Woooow!" Haru repeated, this time even more enthusiastically, making exaggerated gestures.

"Alright, Haru, you don't need to make wolf howls!" I joked, trying to hold back my laughter.

"But, Yuuji, this is incredible!" Airi exclaimed, holding one of the compositions with both hands. "You've been hiding this from us all this time!"

"What a surprise," Haru added, still marveling at the compositions.

"Wooooow!" Airi agreed enthusiastically, clapping her hands.

"Wooooow!" Haru joined her, both of them resembling an excited pair of owls.

"Okay, okay, guys. I admit, I was nervous about showing you, but I'm glad you liked it!" I said.

"Of course, we liked it!" Airi said, her eyes shining.

Kurokawa watched the contagious excitement of Haru and Airi with a sweet and amused smile. Her eyes sparkled with tenderness as she saw them acting like enthusiastic children in an amusement park.

"You two are quite the pair of characters, you know?" Kurokawa said, with a calm and affectionate voice, resting her chin on one hand.

Haru and Airi paused for a moment, looking at Kurokawa with a surprised expression before bursting into laughter.

"Oh, Akane, you haven't seen even half of our excitement yet!" Airi said, laughing.

"Well, enough chitchat, how about we get started?" I suggested.

Airi asked what the basis of the melody would be, and I explained that she should use the E minor scale, with some additional chromatic notes, playing with emotion and expressiveness. She would be responsible for the main melody.

Haru was also eager to stand out, so I told him to start with 4/4 time signatures, following the melody and, before the chorus, he could insert creative and dynamic fills.

Kurokawa looked at me with a worried expression, and I knew I still had to be careful with her. So I thought of something where she could feel comfortable.

"Kurokawa, try to keep the lively rhythm along with Airi, using basic strumming patterns. You'll maintain the rhythm and energy of the music."

"And what about you, Yuuji?" Haru asked.

"I'll start with a simple riff, accompanying you all, but then I'll move on to improvising counterpoints, adapting to Airi's melody."

Everyone nodded, the anticipation evident in their looks, but also the excitement to see how we would perform.

We got ready, each in our position. As we looked at each other, I could sense the mixture of confidence and anxiety in each of their gazes.

"Whenever you're ready, Haru," I signaled.

Haru began with the drums, and we joined him.

The intro was gentle, yet lively. Airi created a warm melody that enveloped us, while Kurokawa perfectly accompanied the rhythm. Haru provided us with the necessary foundation, exciting all of us.

The room was filled with colors and delightful shapes as if we were painting a musical canvas. Despite it being the first time playing that song together, it flowed naturally, and we connected instinctively.

As we played, we exchanged comforting looks, and each conveyed their energy to the other through sincere smiles.

Kurokawa seemed a little nervous, her fingers hesitated before touching the strings. I turned to her, wanting to convey my support and encouragement. She smiled in response, seeming more at ease.

We approached the first verse. I took a deep breath and connected with Airi's melody, Haru's rhythm, and Kurokawa's accompaniment. The music flowed through us like an enchanting spell.

The soft light of the spotlight seemed to fixate on me. A peaceful aura mixed with the engaging rhythm of the music, and my mind was transported to the sunny beach.

Aside from my parents and my brother, I could see Kurokawa, Haru, and Airi, all inviting me to the sea. We were a group of connected souls, sharing joy and gratitude.

Our hearts brimmed with excitement. The music wasn't just a composition, it was the expression of our hearts, a bond that united us.

As we played together, something special happened. We were musicians, friends, and souls united by a shared passion.

The music flowed like a powerful river and in a dynamic melody. Each note, each chord, danced in the air, creating a celestial symphony.

At that moment, I understood the meaning of that phrase, and I finally felt like I had found the last piece of the puzzle.

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon