All was silent.
The few moments before the music started were Sam’s favorite. Everyone stopped talking. All movement was stilled. One perfect, shining moment. He held his breath.
His mother started to play. Her fingers gently caressed the keys, setting the notes free. They tumbled over each other in their haste to escape, flying through the air with indescribable grace.
Hidden out of sight under the belly of the enormous grand piano, Sam swam in an ocean of music. He lifted up his face and let the song swirl around him. It pulsed in his fingers and throbbed in his chest. It rumbled in the ground beneath his back.
The ocean swelled, great waves lifting him high. He felt the thrill of of being powerless, of soaring without wings and without control. The wave built and built, and Sam flew higher than he had ever flown. Nothing but sky surrounded him, and only the gentle warmth of water on his back reminded him that he was still attached to Planet Earth. With a farewell caress, the wave launched him.
The air was all playful breezes, ducking in and out, playing jumprope with Sam’s hair. Light as a feather, the winds set him down on a mountaintop. Sam surveyed the earth. It was beautiful.
Majestic plains spread out in every direction, beckoning Sam to come and run. Those vast open stretches were freedom and life. They were very far away.
The ground beneath his feet rumbled. The rocks shook. Trees on every side shivered and swayed. Sam trembled, and the tremble was joy. A storm struck. Thunder crashed and lightening broke the sky. Sweet terror filled Sam’s body as he huddled, one with small forest creatures tucked away in their dens. Sam ducked his head. He curled up small. The storm raged around him, then blew itself out in fury.
Sam opened his eyes.
The last gentle drops of music rained down on his face, each one as warm and comforting as his mothers hands.
The music ended. The grownups applauded. Their voices filled the room again, along with the clinking of glasses and the shuffling of feet, the happy sounds of Christmas partying.
Sam lay in the shadows and pitied them.