A/N: Just some flash fiction. I hope you like it. ^^ I appreciate (and return/reply to) all reviews, so be a dear, won't you? And if you like (though it's certainly not a requirement - this isn't a Lit course) I'd love to hear your interpretation of the message I was trying to get across. ^^ Enjoy! :)

Natalia was, blatantly, a pianist. It was impossible for her to have been anything else. She had this liquid grace about her that whispered sonatas and nocturnes and moody Beethoven. She'd sit at the piano in the college music room, rocking slowly back and forth and making a waltz rumble deep within its wooden belly. Her fingers were long but her nails were always cut short so they wouldn't click against the keys, and her hair, long and smooth, was always pulled back into a big, soft braid.

"Daddy wanted me to be a concert pianist since the day I was born," she'd say in that gentle Eastern European accent of hers. I believed her. She could play any page of sheet music you set in front of her, and she'd look as if she weren't even trying, as if her hands weren't even touching the keys. I was always kind of jealous of her. It really isn't fair to be that monstrously talented.

We'd go to Central Park sometimes to feed the pigeons. Natalia liked the pigeons, and I had to admit there was something cutely idiotic about them. The sun was shining down and a soft cold breeze, tasting of winter, ruffled endless gray feathers. A strain of music wove through the din of cooing and flapping wings, and Natalia looked up at me. She loved watching street performers, just like she loved pigeons.

We followed the strand of music through a tangle of city noise until we found its source. A teenaged girl in a Metallica t-shirt stood on a bench, strumming a bright red guitar and howling a song I didn't know—something I imagined boys in eyeliner and skinny jeans would sing. The girl wore both, eyeliner and skinny jeans, with Converse sneakers and a thin tie knotted around her neck. She looked straight at me with her wild, black-rimmed eyes as she sang, then let her gaze slide to the next individual in the crowd. A guitar pick earring brushed against the corner of her jaw, but she sent her guitar strings vibrating with just the tips of her long, black-painted nails.

"It's a shame," Natalia whispered, breaking my trance. "So much talent… so much potential. If only she had some training, no?"

I nodded noncommittally. Natalia's voice, soft and melodic, was a sharp contrast to the singer's. Hers was harsh and wild, almost a scream in places, but there was a subtle harmony underneath. Slowly, she eased her voice down through a final chorus, playing soft chords that vibrated off into nothing. Grinning now, she jumped down from her perch and nudged an empty guitar case forward with her sneaker.

Natalia turned away then, chasing more pigeons, expecting I would follow. I didn't. I stood there for a minute or two, watching a rain of appreciative coins and small bills gather in the depths of the case. The girl flashed her wild-eyed smile, already pulling a new melody out of her guitar with those long nails in their chipped black polish.

I took a step forward and emptied my pockets into the guitar case.