Archive for March, 2016

March 29, 2016

I feel them behind me, beside me: the girl I only dated once and who died young; the cousin I promised to marry when we were still in third grade; the older brother who could play by ear. Like those Homeric shades crowding round the blood sacrifice. So close.

It’s certainly not my skills at the keyboard that draws them. It’s the music, come alive from its long sleep on cold paper. Chopin and Tchaikovsky, Field and Brahms, it lives again through me and though me in these dead.

Is it a portal for them, a way back to this world where music is even more intense life than life itself? I don’t believe in ghosts or shades, and yet here they come gathering round me, gathering into me, memories as real as my own self and the sweet wrenching sounds my fingers call forth: the girl I only knew for a few hours, the brother of seven decades, the cousin I would some day marry after getting the necessary ecclesiastical dispensation.

When I stop playing they leave. I can only bear their presence for a few minutes in any case. Our worlds are too alien to risk encroaching on each other’s very long. But they will be back, insistent, not to be denied. And I must share with them again. I dare not do so, or question their right to be there.

Where are the others? I wonder. So many dead, and only one of these three was to my knowledge a music lover. But that’s none of my business. They have their reasons. I would deny them not only to my peril but to my great shame. If I can ease their pain for just these few moments, I have no choice.

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