by Tari Gwaemir
The Narumi brothers have a conversation.
"--What are these for?"
"For you, of course. Aren't flowers an appropriate gift for a marvelous performance?"
"Irises. Always irises."
"I find them more beautiful than roses. The symmetry of their elaborate form, the perfect arrangment of their petals--"
"Was it really?"
"Was it really? A 'marvelous performance'?"
"You played as if you were weeping the very notes of the Nocturne. You have a true gift for music. Never doubt that."
"I...when I'm playing, I hear nothing but the shape of the music, its patterns and reflections, the theme echoing along the lines of a vast web. When I'm playing, I think I can glimpse the composer's mind."
"But...you heard what they said when they announced my name for first place. That the only person to win this competition at an even younger age--"
"Ah. I see. My...shadow must feel long at times."
"At times? I realized today that it is not the composer's mind I discover when I play. No, it's your mind that I see, because I only know your music, the way you perform it, the way you know it, the way you feel it."
"It won't always have to be like that."
"Why do I find that so difficult to believe?"
"Do you hate me?"
"--No...yes...I don't know anymore. Do I hate myself?"
"You are your own person. If you hold on to that, you'll find your own path where I cannot follow."
"You mean, a path that you haven't taken already."
"I...don't really hate you. But sometimes I feel as if I have nowhere I can go without finding you there before me."
"You need to learn to believe in your own strength. No brilliance can replace that kind of faith."
"That's why I'm always going to be the lesser copy, the imitation, the...forgery. I--"
"Please, don't hate me."
"Ah. Well. Thanks for the flowers, Oniisan."