Retreating to his music room, giddy in excitement, Alwin knew the realities of his talent-less body. What was once a room to practice, had become a private concert between him and Sofia. He would linger there for hours, bringing all work to this room when she rehearsed. It wasn’t just listening to the high craft of a genius, watching her playing – with such devotion and peace – let him forget his troubles. Being in her presence eased the pain that he could never replicate such delights.
Resting the case on the wooden table, he unclipped it and took hold of the violin. Light as a birds bone, he eased the chin rest into place. Plucking the strings lightly while twisting the pegs, Alwin was amazed that it was all in correct tune. Taking hold of the bow, he eased his mind to recall the month he spent on the violin as a child. His clunky fingers held down on the neck ready for the bow string. Old Joe Clark. At fifteen, his mother had gifted him a violin for his birthday. Sat on the long windowsill to his room, he cracked his knuckles and twisted the digits, letting sandwiches harden out on the table untouched. The hum of Old Joe Clark still remained in his adult self, a constant whisper. Here he was again, a man now with heavy fingers, fat and sprouting hair. Drawing the bow back and forth, he went over the tune, surprised to find how easily his fingers adjusted. He played it slow, discomforted by the lack of difficulty. Picking up the pace, he went through the repetitions, swiftly dithering his hand at the correct beat. Lost to his senses, he did not notice his fingers stretching along the neck. Finger tips along the razor wire.
He stopped. Pouring himself a celebratory glass of whisky from the cabinet. Running his finger along the spines of music books, he stopped over the violin sheet music. Shuffling through the papers, he rested on one and took position once more. Danse Macabre. Swiftly he began to play, not a touch incorrect. Raising his eyes to the ceiling, tears streaming down his cheeks. Rocking back and forth, the playful notes began to turn bitterly haunting. Fingers pushed down forcefully and switched nimbly. Frozen in ecstasy, he could feel his eyes rolling back into his skull as if possessed. Chin wet with tears, they dripped down the neck.
‘Alwin!’ Sofia screamed. Fingers froze as her presence. His soul sliding back between the familiar bones and flesh. Turning, he saw her with Stephanie, his daughter, clung to her legs. My darlings, he thought, they’re in shock at my skill.
‘Sofia, my love, did you hear? Had you been deceived in thinking I was playing a record in the music room? It is something is it not. To think, I had been so cruel on myself – too brutish in my early years, to not give myself the possibility I had potential. Will you play with me? Let Stephenie dance until ten even if it’s a school night. She can tell her teacher and classmates she danced to the music her father made.’
‘You’re bleeding Alwin.’ Sofia said, trying to comfort Stephanie with her hand.