Daniel Faraday has always liked music. Ever since he was a little boy, he listened to music on the radio: jazz, rock, classical. He would sit on his bed in his room and turn the radio knob with his little five year old hands. Daniel always enjoyed the piano music more than anything else. So one day, when his mother was at work and his babysitter was in another room, Dan climbed up onto the piano bench and flipped open the cover. He frowned, flicking a stray brown hair out of his face. And he started pressing keys, enjoying how the cold, clean, white keys felt under his fingers.
When Daniel asked his mother for lessons, she frowned at him and said, "What about your interest in science?" for Dan had been doing extremely well in both his first grade classes, so well that he had been moved up to the third grade classes in both math and science. And Daniel had replied, "I want to learn music too."
And Eloise Hawking had sighed and assumed that this interest in music would be fleeting. A phase. So she enrolled Daniel in piano lessons with a local teacher down the street, Miss Clarence Perkins. Six-year-old Dan went to lessons every Monday, never missing a single class. When he arrived- usually early- at Miss Perkins's house, he would sit on her doorstep listening to the older student in her lesson before his. Sometimes he would take out his science notebook and write down observations and thoughts he had (for he really was interested in science and math, just not as much as his mother would like him to be.)
When Daniel would receive a new piece of music, he would sit down at the piano and stare at the page for a few seconds, subconciously counting the number of beats in the music and the number of notes on the page. When he played, he subdivided the notes and beats in his head, and he would never, ever, mess up a rhythm. Maybe a note here or there, but never a rhythm. Miss Perkins noticed this and gave him pages of rhythms and told him to make up notes. Dan complied. Still, he never missed a rhythm.
When Daniel grew older, when his mother told him he must quit playing piano, Miss Perkins protested. Told Eloise he had a gift. And Eloise had agreed, but disagreeing on the gift. Eloise had told her insistently that Daniel's gift was not music, never music. It was his mind. And he needed, he must focus his gift on science. Science, math, physics.
And Daniel had run up into his room and cried, his old radio still playing from when he had turned it on that morning. And from then on Daniel did not touch another piano until he finished his schooling, filling his mind with equations and physics and things the common person would not know, always pushing his desire to play music to the back of his mind, locking it in a box so dark and tight it would never come out.
But when he had gotten sick, and he could barely remember even his own name, the box in the back of his mind had unlocked and opened. And so Daniel started playing again. He played Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-Sharp Minor, the piece Dan last learned before his mother banned him from the piano, over and over, but he could never remember the song like he used to, his long fingers stumbling over the notes like the never used to. He even flubbed up some rhythms. The first time he had played the song again and couldn't remember the middle section, he had been so upset and frustrated that he had put his head in his hands and cried. The second time he couldn't remember the middle section he had frowned, ran his hands through his disheveled long hair and racked his brain desperately and when he couldn't, just couldn't remember, he had cried. Again. By the twenty-seventh time he couldn't remember, he had already cried too much. This time he just sat staring at the piano in disappointment and frustration. His mother entered the room during his twenty-eighth time.
His mother convinced him to go to this island that would supposedly heal him. Daniel met a girl, a woman with hair that burned like the supernovas that he so liked to study. He then fell head over heels in love with this woman, this girl with the fiery red flowing hair. And then the girl- Charlotte- died, and it was Daniel's fault. In Daniel's mind, Charlotte was akin to a bright firework that had died out too early, an equation that didn't work out. And when Dan saw that red hair on a little girl, he knew it was Charlotte.
After he saw her, Daniel couldn't sleep for a week.
And Daniel had tried, tried desperately to save her, by telling her to never ever come back to the island where she was raised. Even though all of the equations and laws and principles running through his head were telling him it was impossible to change the future. Whatever happened, happened.
And then Daniel went to the camp and held a gun to Richard's head. He was never going to shoot him, he wasn't that kind of man. But he threatened to anyway. And then Daniel's mother shot him. And when he died, the last thought in his head was not really a thought at all. As Daniel lay on the ground with a bullet in his chest, the melody of the middle part of Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-Sharp Minor, the part that he could not remember, ran through his head, paired with an image of Charlotte's smiling face. And when the final note of his favorite piano piece played in his mind, Charlotte's face faded and Daniel Faraday died.