She didn’t speak a word of Russian, but sprawled on the hardwood floor in front of the open patio door, listening to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1, she understood everything he meant.
She conducted with her finger: the highs, the lows, the crescendo, the inevitable decrescendo. The wind made the aspens shiver. Intellectually, she knew that the earth didn’t turn in tempo, but god! Summer was dancing for him, dancing for a hundred-year-dead Russian man. It was the strings, she decided — or the brass — or piano? It must be the piano. Well, it was a beautiful symbiosis, at any rate.
The cat wanted feeding.
She loved the clarinets.
But the cat wanted feeding.
Her hair was absolutely a mess when she got up. Guilt crept into the back of her mind. If you would sweep the floor instead of letting the old romantic take you away —
None of that. She would have none of that. Not even guilt was permitted to speak ill of him under her roof. Dear Pyotr was a much better man than any she had ever had fortune to meet. Dear Pyotr wouldn’t leave her alone here.
She was not given to housewifery.
The window opened outward. She laid her head on her arms as she sat at the table, picking at the tablecloth. It was a wedding gift, and she could never quite decide if the thing was garish by its own faults, or if it was just that circumstance. She closed her eyes again. It wasn’t worth thinking about.
It was the middle that was always her favorite. It felt like collapsing. But the piano. The piano was constant throughout, even when it’s no louder than a music box.
Would he let me call him Petia?
The sky was so blue. So bright outside. It would be a good day for a long walk.
She hummed the third movement, walking down the road. Her shoes were a mess, but she was dancing.
It must be the music, she thought. Certainly the music.