Prompt for August 5, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

In twelve years this was going to be his first performance without his mother in attendance. Back when he started playing the piano at six, Jacob had found an avid audience member in his mother. Every concert, every recital, every public performance that he gave, she would be there. Smiling, clapping and cheering him on, regardless of whether or not he was any good and he wasn’t when he started.

But he got better.

He quickly became proficient at the early grades of piano, passing the first three grades before he finished his second year of piano. He finished grade eight piano and grade eight theory before he left elementary school. His mother drove him from concert to concert and competition to competition, not because of her desire to have a child prodigy, but because he wanted to impress her so very much.

Widowed with a one-year-old child she had moved in with her wealthy parents and devoted her life to him. He realized this early on and understood the sacrifices that she made for him, foregoing a life for her and dedicating her life to him. Which was why the news this spring had been so devastating. Cancer. Brain cancer and so advanced, so invasive that it was inoperable. He slowed down his tours, pulled back on his performances, but his mother still insisted on attending each and every one.

Except for tonight.

She wasn’t in the audience, nor was she backstage. Instead, his grandmother was in the audience, phone in hand, ready to stream his performance to his mother in her hospital bed. He had thought of backing out, but tonight’s performance was to raise money for cancer research and it was something they both knew he needed to do, now more than ever.

As the curtain rose he strode onstage and looked at the audience. His step faltered when he saw his grandmother in the front row, tears flowing freely, her phone in her lap. He continued to the piano bench and sat down heavily.  Jacob’s list of music had already been published and everyone knew what he was going to play.  But he was going to change things up tonight and he knew his mother would be proud.  Her favorite was Pachelbel’s Canon in D, so he would start with that.

For tonight would be the first, the first of many nights without her.

Post a link to the story in the comments.

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