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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.

Reckless driving

, 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.

envied him.

Yet out here she didn’t have to be who she was. She could be in a

Sea Of Purple

Annie Gleisner