Thirty seven and basking in the sun, Susan M. maintained a steady
rhythm dragging her bow across the violin strings, rosin dust rose
around her to form a cloud, then dispersed into the open air. By now
the process was completely methodical, churning through each
scale; four crotchets turned into eight quavers turned into sixteen
semiquavers. She didn’t need music, she had full faith her fingers
would land in their correct spot, each note perfectly in tune. Her
bow hand worked in perfect unison. Up, down, up, down, the music
filling her reverie.
Above her the magpies shrieked, their sound blending with her
own. From her perch on the decking she could see the world around
her. She preferred to practise outside, with no walls, no acoustics,
nothing to restrict her sound, it was given free rein (unlike in the
city where there was always someone banging on an adjoining wall
to silence her). As she continued to play, she fell deeper into her
stupor. But, inevitably, as soon as the last notes finished ringing out,
the constricting in her chest returned. The pulling of guilt. So, she
played on, continuing to extricate the notes from her instrument
out into the open air, for no one to hear, as had been the usual for
the past six months.
She packed her violin away neatly in its case, the consequential quiet
starkly apparent, and roamed listlessly, searching for her pot of
green tea and the latest crossword puzzle. In her idleness she was left
to her own thoughts.
, that’s what they called it. Six
months ago she would not have given a single thought to her driving.
Too busy pouring over some Shostakovich score for the orchestra to
play. But all it took was one uncertain bend in the road for the
collision to happen. For a life to be lost. SusanM, who had once been
Melbourne’s leading symphonic conductor, now resigned herself to
nature where there was no one around, no one around to hurt.
She sat on at the dining table on the back deck looking over her
expansive property, occupying only one of the the ten dining chairs
set there. Occasionally her trance would be interrupted by the
insistent rubbing of a head against her legs. Lenny, the cat, had
adapted quite well to his new surroundings (he always seemed
to have some decapitated rodent between his teeth). Susan M.
Yet out here she didn’t have to be who she was. She could be in a
Sea Of Purple