Anne felt a small, bittersweet smile curve her lips at the sight of her husband lovingly running his fingers over the keys of the pianoforte. He had taken to sitting in front of that instrument from time to time, but never played more than a note or two. It bothered her when he would stare off into an intangible distance, blindly tracing the grooves of ivory and black. He went somewhere she wasn't allowed to follow.
"Clive?" she called softly, not wanting to startle him, but dreading to be left behind. "Your mother tells me that you play quite beautifully. I don't believe I've heard you even once. From the way this old thing sounds, I wouldn't have guessed it had been tuned in the entirety of it's life!"
"It was just something I used to do during my university days," he explained dismissively. He twisted in place to smile back at her, but it was too cool to be genuine. A politician's smile.
"Oh?" she asked, encouraging him to elaborate.
She desperately wanted to know about the Clive Durham before he met her, but feared pressing too hard. On the rare occasion he'd allude to his past without prompting, she couldn't help but hope he'd slip some morsel of information. The name of an old professor, an anecdote, anything to feed that gnawing hunger that made her heart feel so uneasy.
"Not anymore, mind you. I guess I lost interest."
Anne knew he wasn't telling the whole truth. She'd suggested once that they remove the piano, water-damaged as it was, but Clive had made his refusal quite clear. Knowing it would only upset him, she hadn't said anything about the sheet music of composers like Wagner, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky she had discovered one Sunday evening in an ill-used room. More keepsakes, no doubt.
There were not many people she could speak to, Clive not having kept many friends from school. She dared not mention Maurice. Clive had grown so distant after his disappearance. Any mention of his old friend was enough to him shut down completely, sometimes even taking leave of the room. She may not understand what had happened, but it was plain to see how hurt Clive was over the loss of his best friend. If his family had any idea what had happened, no one spoke of it.
Left in the dark, Anne waited with quiet patience. Eventually the cloud would pass and her husband would kiss her cheek. He'd be his usual self again until the next time melancholia struck, but one day Clive would open up to her and she would help ease his pain. They loved one another after all.