The Girl from Izmir (extract)

She remembered the summer’s day she returned home from the beach, her skin brown, warm and glazed with traces of sea salt, to find in their lounge a tall young man standing over her father’s piano. The young man did not see her and so she stood there watching him from the doorway. As he tuned the piano, she noticed that although he was not handsome he had strong arms and attractive hands, with the longest fingers she’d ever seen. He played only the highest notes and looked down into the piano’s depths. She wondered why he did not play any of the other keys. Those sorrowful notes seemed to be what lay at his own depths and Işık both pitied him and desired to know if it were really so. Her father had come in then and the young man closed the piano and said that he was done. Işık’s father thanked him and sent him on his way. The piano was sold shortly afterwards and the young man never returned.

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