The music overtook him, as it always did. It played him like a well-worn guitar, like a drum notched and bruised from the beating. It plucked and pulled and picked him, buzzing him with its intoxicating rhythm, humming him with its heaven-spent rhyme, its melody and harmony ransacking his soul. And then it dumped him, flopped all spent, on the floor of his piano bench, hands draped on the keyboard, head lolling forward.
There was silence. Not a cough, not a word, not a scrape of a chair on the hard wooden floor. A full minute passed before he lifted his head, and pushed his sagging body into a wavering, upright stance.
Then the applause came. Like ocean waves it came, rolling in with the tide of pent-up emotion that swelled through the old hall. They stood up, one after another after another, standing together in reverence, in comprehensive awe.
The soldiers stepped forward then, their swastikas emblazoned in crimson on their sleeves, and the ragged pianist was pulled, limping, from the stage, the final glimpse a yellow star.
– MWP 2012