Michael & Gianna

By Lyn Wilson (Rated G)

Gianna sat reading;
Michael sat at the piano.
A quartet of friends,
The beautiful husky voice of Shannon filling the hall.

Gianna did not always understand jazz.
It had become popular during the war,
Sometimes chaotic,
Sometimes smooth and calming.

She mused while flipping through a magazine.
In her mind Michael was the most talented musician she’d heard.
Gianna wondered if the church would approve of jazz,
Though she was his nurse, not his nanny.

Michael had entertained the troops since the beginning of the war.
Britain needed its collective spirits lifted.
Michael left the rarified air of the University of Oxford
Determined to bring music to his adopted nation.

He said he was American by birth,
British by heart.
He loved the ebb and flow of British life.
It lent its energy to his own compositions.

Gianna was hired as a nurse by Michael’s family.
He had been attacked while playing a concert at a veteran’s hospital.
A shell shocked young man became delusional;
Michael was thrown from the piano to the floor with violence.

She had been there,
In the audience.
She was harrowed by the experience.
Running to aid Michael she herself suffered a broken arm and dislocated shoulder.

Seeing her sprint to action earned her a commendation.
It also earned her a place in Michael’s heart.
His parents hired her as soon as she’d recovered.
It really was her dream job.

She looked at the watch pinned at her uniform.
“Michael,” she called.
He looked at her as if he was in another world.
In fact he was.
It was time to leave for the church.
Michael, the organist, must be on time.
St Teresa’s of Lisieux, Charlbury in the Cotswolds,
There he played from his heart.

Both Michael and Gianna, grateful to be alive
Served, prayed, sang, believed with all their strength
God had spared them;
Each day a blessing.

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