"Come on, honey, let's go", Julia intoned, addressing her husband who was digging in his jacket pockets for his car keys.
"Yeah, Daddy, hurry up, or we'll be late, like last time!" interjected the small, dark-haired boy with the bright, inquisitive grey-green eyes, who was clutching his mother's hand and bearing a look of impatience on his small features.
"Whatever you say, Sir Ephram", his father teased, pausing momentarily in his search to stroke his little boy's unusually untousled hairstyle He then proceeded to pull out his car keys from behind the toddler's ear. " Did you want to drive tonight, huh, kiddo?", he questioned, making his adored little boy laugh & Julia smile fondly at her husband's complicity with their sole offspring.
"OK, do we have everything? Wine... Yes, in my purse... Here, Andy, sweetheart, you take the bag with the gift, thanks... Ephram, have you got Chocolate-Brown Bear? Do you want to go & call the elevator with Daddy, angel, while I lock up?" Julia commented, expertly transferring Epram's hand to his father's, picking up the house keys & checking her lipstick in the hall mirror as she spoke.
"C'mon, kiddo!" Andy urged, squeezing his progeny's outstretched arm. "I may even let you press the button to open the garage", he added warmly, knowing just how much such a proposition would thrill his child.
"Really Daddy, really? You're the nicest, bestest, funnest Daddy in the whole wide world!" Ephram replied happily, dragging his father out of the apartment and into the corridor to summon the elevator.
Julia smiled to herself as she locked the door, listening to her son's happy chatter and her husband's gentle, affectionate tone as he responded to Ephram's incessant commentary questioning about everything he saw, heard, smelt, tasted, touched and thought. She was thrilled that the two of them had such a special bond that prevailed in spite of Andy's fairly heavy workload as a pretty senior surgeon at the hospital. She hoped that this would not be the trigger for an argument between her husband and her father, who could sometimes be quite cutting and sarcastic when it came to the comments about her husband's ability to balance his career and his family life.
Several hours later...
"Where's that music coming from?", Julia questioned her husband, curious to know if he had any idea regarding its provenance.
"Uh, Julia, honey, don't you think the more pressing question is who is producing the music? 'Cause I can only think of one possible person. You might know him... He's got your colouring, is about knee-high and you share DNA!"Andy remarked, putting down his coffee mug and poking his head round the entrance to the kitchen, peering into the lounge and noticing a crumpled blanket half falling off the couch and an abandoned brown teddy bear at its foot, but no sign of the small child who'd earlier been tucked under said blanket with the now abandoned stuffed animal.
Julia had also spotted the disappearance of the small person she was related to and grabbed her husband's hand as they made their way to the room her parents used as a study-cum-library-cum-music room. Edging open the door and expecting to find their three-year-old with the radio playing a classical station were bemused to see their son lost in the realms of the tune he was currently composing on the piano by the window. Andy opened his mouth to attract Ephram's attention, but his wife's hand on his arm signalled him to be quiet. Moments later, Jacob & Ruth appeared in the doorway, and stood, agape, as their only grandson hammered out a melody that was certainly nothing like you'd expect a regular toddler to crash out. Ruth grinned at her son-in-law and her daughter and disappeared rapidly. When she reappeared a minute or two later, slightly out of breath, she was brandishing a camera. Deftly snapping off the cap and looping it round her neck, she began snapping pictures of the small boy. He didn't even look up, visibly undistracted and unaware of the busy streets below and the crowd of admiring guests who had gathered to watch the incredible sight.
After a while, the pre-school prodigy ended his piece & seemed surprised at the group's presence and was visibly stunned by their applause. Ephram broke into a wide smile as he noticed his parents amongst the audience and, scrambling down from the piano stool that he somehow managed to get on to, threw himself into their proud embrace and was smothered by kisses and a deluge of praise.
"That was quite the impromptu concert you gave us there, Ephram!", Andy announced lovingly and proudly, picking his son up and holding him aloft before holding him close to his chest and kissing the top of his head.
"We'll have to charge people next time, won't we, Julia?", he added jokingly to his wife as he transferred Ephram to her arms so she could also physically express her emotions regarding their son's performance. She too kissed him, but on the cheek this time and whispered something in his ear. He returned the kiss and beamed at her and Andy.
Ruth & Jacob also made their way over to Ephram to express their enjoyment and suggest their incredibly talented offspring begin music lessons as soon as humanly possible.
Andy & Julia exchanged glances and put the question to their son, who replied in the positive.
"Well, that settles it then, my little future concert pianist!" Andy exclaimed jubilantly, astonished that the small child in front of him displayed such incredible musical talent.
Ephram grabbed both his parents hands, suddenly overcome by the gawping crowd and displaying much more age-appropriate actions by declaring that he was "zausted" and wanted to go home "wight now". Andy scooped up the toddler who had started yawning loudly while Julia gathered up the family's belongings. Ephram managed a sleepy "Thank you, Mama" as she handed him his stuffed animal, the bear he'd had since he was born, and he clutched on to it tightly.
The two adults said their goodbyes and accepted all the possible leads regarding piano-purchasing and lessons that were given to them, as well as feeling like they might burst with pride whenever someone mentioned their son's undeniable musical talent.