Colors of the Heart
by Lily M.

-I-

He would often practice in the park. It was a bright day – almost a foreign feeling, after so many days of rain. So bright with the sun and laughter. The violin was soft in the air, and his eyes were closed. No one gathered around him, so used they were to his presence, as if his songs simply belonged there, every day, like the air they breathed and the games children played.

No one said a thing. And the violin sang, and sang, higher in the air, firmer, and he opened his eyes –

Green eyes like the clean grass observed him.

He missed a note. His heart might as well have missed a beat.

Had he ever seen such an intense gaze before?

-II-

He said his name was Oz, and that he loved music.

When he was asked if he was new in the city, he didn't answer – he laughed a beautiful laugh.

And Oz asked him to play a song for him.

And he did.

And when it was finished, he had that smile on his face again. It was not completely fake, but it wasn't genuine. Somewhere between content, and mischievous, and heavy with mystery.

His hair was golden, just like sweet Alice, who got lost in Wonderland.

And he asked his name, and he said it was Gilbert. The name rolled off Oz's tongue, and it was music to his ears.

-III-

He said he wanted to learn to play the piano, Oz did. That he had always wanted, but never could. Gilbert could play the piano – better than he could play the violin. And on the twelfth month, Gilbert offered him classes.

Oz smiled a smile that was nowhere between mischievous or mysterious. It was just content.

His fingers ran clumsily across the keys, enthusiasm in every note. Gilbert got hold of his hands, told him to treat the piano with care, because it was like a delicate lady. But when Oz touched the keys again, it was as if he gently touched the shy hands of an adolescent girl, blushing with her first love.

Gilbert's flat was simple and monochromatic.

But on odd days, the music room shone a different color.

-IV-

It was raining, like on that one week. He was afraid he no longer knew what the color of the sun was – Oz had not visited for two weeks straight. Busy with homework, no doubt, that's what boys his age should be busy with. They shouldn't bother with lonely adults who played melancholy songs.

But a knock was on the door, and that silly grin was on the other side to greet him. Soaked from head to toe, he must have been out in the rain for a while.

Gilbert guided him, out of those clothes and into bigger, warmer clothes. He didn't possibly own any pants that fit Oz, but a single shirt of his was enough to cover most of the smaller boy.

Did he want to get sick, or did he simply have fun while the sky was pouring down?

Oz laughed at him and his question. His hair was a funny mess after he had attempted to dry it with Gilbert's towel. He sat down beside Gilbert, who watched him with an unbeatable glare and folded arms.

And he told him that he got kicked out of home sometimes. It just happened to be raining.

When he leaned against the shocked musician, his skin suddenly looked a lot paler in the artificial light.

Gilbert shivered – and he wasn't even cold.

-V-

There was something wrong with that, there was definitely something wrong with that.

Something about the way his lips smiled against his – perhaps mischievous, yes.

The way he moved almost on top of him, crawling into his lap and running his small hands through his long hair.

Gilbert couldn't move – his hands remained at his side.

There was definitely something wrong with that.

He was supposed to worry about textbooks and entrance exams, not lonely musicians and his melancholy songs.

But the song playing in his head at that moment was far from melancholy. It was… a whole orchestra dedicated to the sun. Funny that, outside was still raining.

His lips formed the younger one's name, and Gilbert could feel Oz pressing closer, if that was even possible.

There was something about this…

Something about the way Gilbert wrapped his arms around him, his own mouth playing against Oz's, and Oz giggled, and Oz kissed, and he kissed Gilbert.

And he was nothing more than a broken boy with a broken smile, but Gilbert could feel his smile, and he could hear his happy humming. Like a nightingale that had finally found a beautiful red rose to offer his love to.

Gilbert was not a red rose.

But he could be Oz's happiness.

-VI-

But Oz left with the rain, and not a single rainy day followed for some time.

The red rose began to whither away.

No longer could he hold Oz close, like a beautiful cello the musician embraced to play songs to enamored lovers.

And he held his head in despair, thinking however had it gone that far, how could he allow himself to do it, how could he expect it to last. Because he was no longer a teenage boy who had fallen in love for the first time – he was the adult who had fallen in love for the first time, but adults don't fall in love, do they?

Love was for the young hearts, a sentiment music tried desperately to imitate. Perhaps that way, it could last longer – it could last forever.

His violin wept in the darkness of his room.

The moon was not high in the sky.

-VII-

Adults don't fall in love. They can't even love themselves.

The critics called him many things – sometimes, even dark as a raven. He never meant his music to sound like that – but what could he do, if he couldn't mimic the love he had once felt?

A couple of years passed by, and he didn't take note of it. His home was still a lifeless monochrome he couldn't change.

His phone rang, on that day. He let it ring. And ring, and ring, into the empty space. He hated phones. They were filled with messages that meant nothing–

Gil?

On the way to the phone, he hit a chair and almost fell over it. He continued to run, before the voice gave up, before the click of the voice message echoed in the silence and only the silence filled him again.

Oz?

His laugh was still that boyish laugh. There was definitely something wrong with that.

"I saw your concert." I looked up at you, and you were so far away.

"I miss you." I don't want to know where you've been, just come back.

"I know." I could feel it in every song, and every song was for me, wasn't it?

There was a click.

His heart might as well have missed a beat.

But it beat again, along with the knocks on his front door. And he ran, careful not to fall over again, and he opened the door, and there he was. Drenched, still holding up the cell phone to his ear, still smiling that smile.

He must have gone a bit taller. Gilbert still had to look down to meet his eyes.

And when Gilbert held him, the sun shining through the raindrops, it was like the winter had gone away.

Somewhere, over the rainbow.