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Circumstances - 13. The Guys

Leo was Aaron’s accompanist in high school. Leo played the piano, and Aaron sang. He was OK, but Leo was very good.

 

Aaron was good-looking in a light-haired, simple, Midwestern way. In a city like Cedar Rapids.

 

Leo was good-looking in a church-going way. Either a Boy Scout or a child molester, with heavy, dark-framed, glasses that matched his bangs.

 

Aaron missed the leads in musicals but always sang in the chorus. Leo played in the orchestra.

 

He played at church, too, where Aaron sang. But not in choir. In Youth Group. Aaron would sit on a high stood next to Leo’s upright.

 

He never sang anything religious. Or old. He liked new things he heard and could easily master.

 

Leo never needed music. He could pick up anything. Except maybe Aaron.

 

Which didn’t mean they didn’t have sex. Aaron just didn’t love Leo.

 

Leo loved both, but was better at playing.

 

They went to college together and studied music. They became teachers.

 

Leo was lousy in the classroom, losing control to having fun. He became a church choir director.

 

Plus, he played piano at the mall. And at the hospital. And parties. Old age homes. Anywhere. He out-earned Aaron’s teaching.

 

They lived together but couldn’t get married. They were still in their 20s. Aaron sang with Leo, on that same wooden stool. Covering Big Bands sounds for the VFW.

 

The Vets loved him. “You’re so American.”.

 

They loved the way Leo played. “You’ve got great fingers”

 

The Vets could make anything sound lewd.

 

They got married when they could. Adopted children. Two – a girl and boy, neither musical. Aaron continued to teach while his sister cared for the kids. Leo still out-earned Aaron. They were in their 30s.

 

They lived happily until Aaron died. Before that, Leo had followed an offer. Which led to another. Leading to big success in Hollywood – scoring movies.

 

Aaron still loved to sing on that stool.

 

At his funeral, their old music teacher whispered, “He was never very good. But Leo was terrific.”

 

A very bitter old music teacher – who always wanted to sleep with Leo.

 

Aaron was also remembered as being slightly distant. “In his own world.” But his kids adored him. And they always sang his songs.

 

This began as a dream. Simpler. A series of images.

 

Aaron. On his wooden stool. Aging? Or the same, repeated image?

 

Fine, light hair. Heavy, thin-striped sweater, boatnecked. White, with navy horizontal lines. Tight black jeans. Definitely in his late teens. But 20s? 30s?

 

It’s unclear, but he’s always smiling. And singing. Getting by. With Leo always playing at his side. Loving Aaron but getting where?

 

And then he died. Of brain cancer. And their teacher was bitter. But the kids lived happily.

2019 by Richard Eisbrouch
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