"Well then, Mr. Wang, with that, I would like to officially welcome you to our academy," The Principal of the Catholic school stood up with his hand outstretched, "I hope you'll enjoy teaching here."
Getting out of his chair, Yao smiled and shook the hand before him. "Yes. I'm grateful for this opportunity. I won't disappoint you."
"I'm sure you won't. Why don't you get yourself acquainted with the school grounds before you start teaching on Monday? It'll be beneficial to you."
"I will. Thank you for the advice," Yao bowed slightly, excusing himself from the stuffy room.
The moment the door clicked shut behind him, the slender man slumped against the wall, sliding down until he sat on the ground. Relief. What he felt coursing through his body could be nothing less than bone shattering relief. He lifted his hands, laughing at how badly they were shaking. He held his composure during the interview but once he was out of sight, all of his strength left him. This job was his last hope before he had to crawl back home with his tail between his legs.
It was his dream to play the piano. From his earliest memories he loved the sound that floated out when he pressed those black and white keys. He didn't care about the praises his family and friends gave him, calling him a child prodigy. What he enjoyed the most was the feeling of freedom, how the world felt right, pieces falling perfectly into place. His life revolved around his passion and adoration for music. Barely turning 18, he quickly moved from his suburban home to the city in pursuit of his music career.
Yao slowly got to his feet, a self-deprecating smile painted on his lips. Out of habit, he touched the scar on his back. A fool. He was nothing more than a fool back then. He closed his eyes, trying his best to block out the memories of his early city life.
Feeling light-headed since he hadn't eaten for days, the Chinese man walked into the courtyard and laid beneath the shadow of an oak tree. He had to stop this, this self-pity. He might have been robbed of his music but at least he still had his life. Yes, he had to stop this. Starting today, he'll turn his life meaning from the piano to educating his students. Yao repeated that in his head like a mantra, like a prayer and lulled himself into sleep.
Someone was humming a soft, haunting melody. The blue sky dotted with puffy clouds greeted him as Yao slowly opened his eyes, tempted awake by the sound. Turning his head to the source, he saw someone sitting on the bench with his large back facing him. From his attire, Yao could tell he was a student.
Usually he would leave others alone but that melody the student was humming was enchanting him like a spell. Yao couldn't stop himself from approaching the teenager. As he got closer, his footsteps light as feathers, he saw that the child was sketching the flowerbed. He tilted his head, smiling. Of all the flowers he could've drawn, the fellow chose to make the focus of his sketch the most unassuming one- the daisy. Yao watched fascinated as one line became two, then three, turning into a petal. The simple strokes of his pencil upon the paper became the halo of light surrounding the flower. So entranced by the calloused hands creating such delicate beauty, Yao whispered breathlessly, "How beautiful…."
The student leaped out of the bench as if someone had stabbed him, all of his materials falling to the ground.
"Oh, I didn't mean to scare you," Yao rounded the bench.
He reached out to pick up the notepad but it was snatched from beneath his hands. He looked up, their eyes met, and then the student ran away. For a long, long while Yao just sat there dazed as he watched the back of the student get smaller and smaller until it was gone. The stinging pain from his shoulder finally tore him from his thoughts. He sighed. He felt as if he was robbed of something precious yet again. It was the first time in his life he saw amethyst eyes. He wanted to look into them once more, to gaze into their depths. For the first time in his life, he thought something was more beautiful than the melody from a grand piano. Yao shook his head to clear his head. Whatever he thought, nothing would come of it. As he began walking towards the other direction, Yao gave one more backward glance.