Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Air on a G-String

Going down the steps to the basement flat, Gary was thinking about his Atlas of Facial Expressions, from Aardvark to Zebra – and considering how far he’d travelled from the early days of his limited lower-lip concept of canine semiotics to the full complex of muzzle – eye – ear – stance systematic theory now generally accepted as being universally applicable to mammals.

As Gary crossed the path through the small sunken garden, he could hear the distinctive sounds of a familiar cello piece, the long, sonorous, rhythmical notes plangent and beautiful.
Approaching Gwynneth’s door, he realised to his astonishment that his composition had acquired lyrics – or rather, that someone was singing wordlessly but passionately, underscored by his music, which now seemed to take new life and meaning from the song. She had made very rapid progress with his piece, that was certain; and yet the frantic intensity of her performance was oddly unsettling.
As usual, the door was unlatched, and he crossed the hall quietly and entered the music room without knocking, to avoid disturbing the performance.
Although Gwynneth was looking straight at him, from her face it was unclear whether she was actually seeing him. His initial reflex was naturally to observe and analyse her facial expressions scientifically, but after a moment it struck Gary that he’d never thought a woman could play the cello in that position. At the same time he was impressed and rather flattered that his own work could be used in such a sophisticated way.
After a while, Gwynneth stopped singing, put down her bow and unstraddled the instrument, examining the strings and bridge carefuly to make sure they had not suffered structural damage from the unusual stresses to which they had been exposed.
“Hello, Gary,” she said, her voice still husky from the exercise, “I didn’t see you come in.”
“That’s coming on rather well,” he said.
Gwynneth smiled. “I’m looking forward to your next composition,” she said.
“Nearly finished!” Gary replied, “It’s another solo piece.”
Her face was flushed, eager, the eyes sparkling, lips slightly parted.
Gary thought for a moment, looking deep into her mind and feeling bonded with her as never before. He smiled.
“Trombone, actually.”
Gwynneth’s laughter was as pleasureable as her singing. “Maybe you’d like to hear me play your piece one more time?” she said.
It wasn’t easy, next day, to fit the cello into Gary’s car, but it was going to need quite a lot of repair.
© Donnie Ross 2011
This story was first published in http//www. rammenas.nl