Kaimoana Tales

by Kiwi

Lachlan & Gary

Part 60

There was nothing wrong with the tuning. The piano sounded fine. So, he hoped he could remember how to do this. He started picking-out a tune, Be Back Soon from Oliver. Yes, he remembered how to do it.

The tune flowed and he lost himself in the music. He'd so missed playing; this was great! One tune morphed into another as the memories ran and he was away in a world of his own, living the music.

Finally, he stopped for a break and sat quietly with his head bowed, just enjoying the moment. He definitely was going to get a piano, when he had somewhere to keep it. When they got a house, a piano would be the first thing they'd put in it.

A movement in the kitchen doorway caught his eye. He looked around and Lachlan's grandmother and the 3 young girls were standing there staring at him. Lachlan was near the other door off the hallway, also staring.

"My God, Boy!" The old lady came into the room. "That was beautiful. I never knew that old thing could sound like that. It never has before. Gary, that was magic!"

"The touch of a master's hand," Lachlan grinned. "Amazing, Gary, simply incredible. You can follow a tune all right! Gran's right, that was magic."

"Well... umm... yeah." Gary blushed and stammered. "Sorry, Mrs. McLaughlin. I should've asked you first if it was all right. Lachlan said I could try the piano."

"Gary, you don't need to ask, you play it anytime you like. It was a real privilege to listen to, and thank you."

"Ohmigosh! That was like - great, like real music." One of the girls enthused.

"It was real music," Lachlan said. "Really real. You're a master, Gary. Play us something else, please?"

"Well, I - yeah, okay, I'll try. I'm not used to an audience."

Gary sat down again. "I've only ever played for my teacher, no-one else was interested."

"They don't know what they were missing." Mrs. McLaughlin sat on the couch. "Your teacher must've known his stuff. Who taught you to play?"

"It was a lady, Ms. Nagurski. She was a crabby old thing and a retired teacher, but she loved music."

"She must've loved you then. Please play some more, Gary."

He played for a while. The music was fine when it flowed, but he was having trouble and he kept stopping and starting again. He was acutely aware of all the eyes focused on him. He tried to forget about them, but couldn't and his face was bright red. He tried bits of half a dozen tunes, then he stopped, closed the lid over the keys and swiveled around to face Mrs. McLaughlin.

"I'm sorry, I can't do it. I'm just not used to being watched."

"It's okay, Lad. Just relax. You've got nothing to be embarrassed about you know, you're a very fine musician. I've never heard better and that's the truth."

Lachlan said, "Gran's right. Your music sounds great, your teacher taught you well. There must've been a time when you couldn't play anything, now you can. Maybe the next step is to learn to play for an audience so people can enjoy what you do. Seriously, anyone who hears you is going to love what they hear."

"You really think so?"

"I know so. They will. Have you ever heard yourself play?"

"Well, yeah. I hear the piano, but I'm concentrating on what I'm doing."

"We should record you so you can sit back and listen and hear it like anyone else does."

"Yeah? Might be worth a try."

"Sure it would. Practice makes perfect. You've just got to practice playing for people."

"But I can't!"

"Yes you can. When I decided to start exercising, I started by walking in to school. I thought it was going to kill me, but I kept at it and now I can run all the way."

"Very true, Lachlan. He's right, Gary. You already play just fine, now you got to learn to play for others. A performer performs, that's what it's all about.

But, tiny steps for tiny feet. The girls and I will clear off and leave you with just Lachlan. You don't have to worry if he'll like what he hears, if it was rubbish he'd still like it because it's you playing. But, it's not rubbish, it's really, really fine music when it's flowing.

Come on, Girls - back to the kitchen."

"Aww, Gran! Couldn't we stay?"

"No, you couldn't, not yet. Besides, you've got cookies in the oven, they might burn."

"Oh, damm! The baking!" The girls left in a hurry and Mrs. McLaughlin went with them.

"That's better," Lachlan grinned. "I'll put a tape on, and then you can play for just you and me."

"Umm, no," Gary replied. "Do put a tape on, but then can you go away and not listen to me?"

"Not listen? But I want to! Don't you care what I think?"

"Yes, I do. I care too much. Playing for a whole room full of strangers would be easier than playing for just you."

"But why?"

"I wouldn't care that much about what anyone else thought, but one frown from you would destroy me completely."

"Oh? But I wouldn't frown at you."

"I couldn't take the risk."

I see, I think. Look, stay there a minute, Gary. Don't move. I want you to hear something."

Lachlan sat at the computer on the other side of the room and logged on.

"It'll take a minute. Just wait, this is very important. Aargh! Takes ages when you're waiting!"

They both sat and waited impatiently.

"The girls have got so much junk on this thing. I'm sure it's slowing everything down. Time it was cleaned-out again. Ah, here we are - at last. And, into Youtube we go."

He opened the site and did a quick search by artist and title.

"Yes! This is it, Gary. It's really old, so don't be put off by the pictures. This was the Beatles' second no.1 hit, 'Do You Want to Know a Secret?'

Listen to it, don't worry about the music, listen to the words." He stood up and stepped away from the screen.

Gary sat and listened to the song. He couldn't see the screen from away across the room. He had tears in his eyes anyway. The song finished and he got up and stood in front of Lachlan.

"Is that for real?"

"Yeah, very real. Seriously, Gary, I'm in love with you. So you see, it really wouldn't matter if your playing was crap. I'd still love it because it was you playing. But, it wouldn't be crap, it'd be brilliant because it was you playing and you are brilliant. Seriously, I... "

Gary put 2 fingers on Lachlan's lips. "Lachie, shut up."

"Shut up?"

"Yeah. While you're talking, I can't do this."

He kissed him.

They broke apart and Gary smiled. "If I could sing, I'd sing the same song to you."

"You mean?"

"I mean I've got the same secret. I love you, Lachlan. I really do."

"I guess we can't be mates then."

"Yeah we can. Why not?"

"Because we'll be lovers. I love you, Gary. I've known that for ages. When you were admiring the cowboys, I felt like killing somebody."

"No need for that. If you want me, I'm yours."

"Oh, I do! No more secrets then."

"No more secrets." He kissed him.

"Come on, let's go for a walk over to the beach."

"A walk? But aren't you going to play some more?"

"Maybe later, but first I want to tell you all of my secrets. It's time that you heard my story. We can't do that here; anyone could walk in at any time. Let's go to the beach."

They walked out through the kitchen. Mrs. McLaughlin watched them go, but she said nothing. Across the road, they walked down on to the pebbly beach and sat, out of sight of the row of houses behind them.

They sat looking out over the calm Pacific Ocean and Gary started telling his story. He told him of his early, fumbling, experiments with neighbourhood boys, his short-lived and very intense holiday affair with his cousin, Joel, and the disastrous aftermath.

Lachlan nodded knowingly as Gary spoke of his loneliness after he went home after the holiday and his search for someone to love him. He was wide-eyed as he told him about the abuse by the 3 older boys, he spared no details at all.

He cried when he heard of the way they'd humiliated him with the videos and the rejection by his family. He wanted to cheer Ron's rescue of Gary and his giving him a new start, and cry again because he lost his old mate.

Gary finished by speaking of his aimless drifting around the country, his impulsive arrival here, in Kaimoana and his finding of Joel.

"So, that's it. That's who I am and where I come from. Now you know, do you still want to know me?"

"Oh, Gary! Of course I do. I want to know you. I'm really sorry now for all the cracks about your not having a job. You could do anything you want, and you deserve it - all good things.

My life has been so bland and boring. The only exciting thing that's ever happened was the day you walked into it. I so want to be your special friend, I love you."

"My very special friend! Thanks, Lachie. I love you, a lot."

They sat looking into each other's teary eyes and they smiled. Gary decided that that was enough talking and he felt that he'd come home at last. He kissed him.

They sat side-by-side on the beach, heads together and arms around each other. They were in plain sight of anyone who came across the road and neither of them cared. Nothing and nobody else mattered; they had each other, they were together and life was good.

The spell was broken when Lachlan's sister came over and yelled at them.

"Lachlan! Lachlan, you have to come home right now. Gran's putting dinner on the table and you have to come and get it. She said that there's some for Gary if he wants it."

"Okay, Cherie, thanks. Tell Gran we're coming. You're invited for dinner, Gary. Do you want to come and eat with us?"

"I'd love to, thanks. Joel's going to Virgil's, so I was going to eat alone again."

"Well now you don't have to. Come on."

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