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A Strange Request at a Piano Bar

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A lonely figure lingered at the entrance of the piano bar on Thirtieth Street, beautiful notes floating out into the autumn breeze. The figure, a young woman dressed for a date but clearly alone, peered inside, glancing at the masked figure plucking away to a classical piece at the piano. This woman was admittedly a little tipsy at this point in the evening and her date had been a no show. Maybe that’s why this figure in the mask intrigued her. He looked so familiar, but also like no one she had ever met before.

She strolled into the bar and sat down at an elegantly tall table near the center of the room. From this vantage point, she began her study of the masked man anew. This bar was populated with middle-aged couples, but the man seated at the piano bench playing a ragtime song was nearer to her own middling twenties. He wore a midnight blue velvet suit and his mask was the same color, trimmed in black, covering the upper half of his face. Those eyes she thought as she swooned inwardly. A gorgeous deep chocolate brown, focused and intense. She knew that she had seen them before. The other possibility was that she was drunker than she thought.

A server with fiery red hair strode up to her table shaking her from her thoughts. He gazed at her expectantly, and against her better judgment, which was out the door at this point, she ordered an Old Fashioned.

When the drink arrived she poured it down her throat, maybe the additional buzz would help her figure it out. The smell of sassafras, orange, and alcohol made her head spin and then stop in a sudden moment of clarity. That man is Ben.

Ben Solo, from her hometown. The one who took her on her first date to the carnival that came to town every autumn, her sweet first kiss, her first real love. Ben, who apparently now played at a piano bar in her city, one thousand miles from their small rural town. What were the odds?

The server returned with her drink in hand. He asked her if she had a request for the pianist, motioning to the list on her table. She pondered for a moment, the buzz of the alcohol muddling her thoughts. “Across the Stars,” she stated. The server quirked his eyebrow upward at the odd request, it wasn’t on the list. He said because it wasn’t on the list but he would see if the player knew the song but couldn’t guarantee anything.

He knows the song.

The server climbed the steps to the side of the stage and leaned down to the player to share her request as the last notes of the Beatles' Let it Be rang out. Eli looked up, a bit startled as if he had seen a ghost, as he scanned the crowd.

Then his eyes locked with hers and his pretty mouth molded into a familiar grin as he played the opening notes of a song written for her.