Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  145 / 164 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 145 / 164 Next Page
Page Background


It is here, while standing under the dim orange light, with rain

cascading down from the clouds, that I finally allowed myself a small

smile. Carnegie Hall, New York City, drenched with rain that is

trickling down my back, I smile back on that five year old girl forcing

fear out of her system.


For a child of only five years old I remember being bright, if not a

little peculiar. Even as a girl I rarely smiled, much less played with

other children. My interests lay more with books, with history and

languages and, most of all, with music. I never felt out of place in

Russia. I felt at home there. I was a petite girl with a short, severe bob

haircut, high cheekbones and deep set grey eyes. My mother said I

was a vision of Russian beauty. I didn’t really know what that meant.

But I knew I liked the cold, monochrome streets of St Petersburg and

the grand architecture of the old buildings in the city. I knew my

mother was happy living in our small apartment outside of the city,

even if it did smell like dampmould. She somehowmanaged to make

it seem homely.

Nothing could have prepared me for that particular day. The day

that everything changed. I had never seen a room so big in my life.

The walls were tall and covered in decorative wallpaper, swirled with

images of gold leaves and deep blue flowers. A dwarfing crystal

chandelier hung from the centre of the ceiling, its cool florescence

providing enough light to fill the whole space. There was a stunning

beauty about the space, but also a distinct clinical feeling, like a

hospital waiting room or a dentist’s office. In the centre of the far

wall, opposite the door, sat a single woman staring sternly at me, her

cold black eyes unblinking. In the room’s centre was a small black

stool and a cello.

Remember not to be scared. Miss Dernova has asked for you Elise, out of

everyone she wants to hear you.

I remember walking toward the cello, my footfalls echoing

throughout the hall. My throat was as course as sandpaper. I sat on

the stool, keeping my back tall and face neutral.

I picked up the Cello and placed it between my knees.

… remember not to be scared…

I didn’t have time to smile, I was concentrating; concentrating on

the piece, on the movement of her bow hand, on the feeling of the

music vibrating.


Meeting Henry

Eliza Shallard