Sunlight peered through the colossal glass frames of the room illuminating its pure texture; it was a beautiful day. A canvas was splashed with dark and pale colours that draped into each other. Her pale white dress contrasted with her dark auburn hair and almond shaped sapphire eyes. Her smooth, silky skin was like a swathe over her striking features and her hair, as soft as froth, whisked the air as she turned towards me. “Let’s go for dinner.” The words were annoying and intercepted my closing piece. “You go ahead,” I replied irritated by the intrusion, she walked off. I guess some things just look good on display. I struck the delicate keys again, eloquent in music, superior in voice. She returned, the pit-pat of her heels yet again depriving me of the intricately woven symphony. “You have been playing all day, let’s go somewhere,” the voice said. There was deathly silence; I didn’t think it important to answer such an impertinent question. She was still standing beside me for an answer, expecting, expecting… She walked back slowly, disappearing from my view, the pit-pat lower, a stinging “sorry” ringing in my ears. I realised that I had been repulsively rude. I half rose from the unrelenting sonata but it called me back. I couldn’t leave it unfinished, it would devastate the melody. I hadn’t noticed the glistening tear drops on my hand till now.
I woke up, to the sound of the door opening. Last night was a patchwork of puzzling images. I tried to get up but my numb body gave way and I fell back on the starched white pillow. “You need rest, sir, you have woken up after three days.” It was Mary’s crisp voice. I could now see the blur of black and white moving professionally around the room fidgeting with the intricate objects made of bronze, silver and gold. The georgette white curtains hung over the 18th century wooden rod; Catherine had brought that rod when we had gone on tour together to Italy, “it will add colour to the room.” I closed my eyes to the piercing tears. The soft white blanket seemed to be closing in on me; gasping for breath I ripped the blanket from my body and in the desperation to get away from it, I crashed painfully on the cold white tiles. “Mister Kastov, are you okay?” “The blanket it, it,” I started stuttering the horrifying white blanket towering above me. Mary looked at the blanket in confusion, “Help me into another room,” I said after regaining some consciousness. I could taste sweet, stale blood on my tongue, a result of the fall. Mary helped me up and I poured my weight generously on the poor woman as she limped towards the other room.
Uneasiness has swept over me since I have been prohibited from playing my enticing piano. Memories keep on haunting me, interrogating me, killing me, “You have no respect for me, Kastov,” “Yes, I don’t respect you; you are insignificant in front of my music. You vex me, music soothes me. The day you came into my life, you made me regret it.”
I saw her standing in a vast expanse of damp green, sweet smelling grass waving at me. I rushed out of the mansion, struggling to reach her. A sense of weakness and drowsiness haunted my steps. I could hear her, “Come to me, Kastov,” and called out to her but all that came out was a groan. I could barely see her as if marching into an unknown destination, following a ghost, a fragile presence that kept on taunting me. My legs crumbled and I sank into a green fog, dirt in my mouth. My eyelids felt heavy and weariness excruciatingly held me from getting up. Two people came rushing from the house. I was too tired to get up or roll over as they instructed me to do. All I could see was Catherine’s spectre-like figure waving at me. I tried to reach her but she disappeared, faded away into the calm breeze. They pulled me up, my polished black suit crushed by the fall and wet from the morning dew. My head flopped to one side as I fumbled towards the mansion. Bruised and battered I went to my room and slumped on the hard wooden bed. Mary had removed the sheets.
It had been so long. My fingers were numb. I reached for the pearl white and shiny black keys. One touch sent me into a reverie of nostalgia. The cold panel of white and black, the smooth texture, the feel, everything was falling back into place. Life echoed through the golden strings as each note was hit. Passion, love, pain, anger, happiness swelled in the room, each time louder and more beautiful. “You won’t be able to play anymore, your wrist…” the music swelled louder than ever before; there was no end, no beginning. Tears dripped down hot cheeks, sweat poured down black hair, the music elevated. Bones cracked, fingers howled in pain, but the music went on.
“I have tried but you never listen…”; a note, then suddenly it stopped, no more music pounded my ears, “I was listening”, it was quite now. Then again my heart ached for more of that beautiful sound, that elevating voice full of fervour. A feverish feeling spread through me enveloping my soul. I played again this time with no intention of ever stopping, the warmth of music flowing through my veins. “I can’t take it any more; your love for music insults me.” The room was spinning, music fusing into the very foundations of what I called ‘home.’ Then it stopped, silence. The pain in my wrists was unbearable now. Frustration sweeped through every corner of the room, agonisingly asking for more, “She never understood my passion for music, she never understood the meaning of symphony.” I pounded the keys once more each time with more vitality and anger, “She didn’t have to leave…” Music soared through the room like a portentous hurricane ripping everything around. I couldn’t stop.
Head bowed down, I continued, my wrists screeching in pain; I could almost feel ruby red blood oozing out. Seems like everything wanted freedom from me except my music – horrendously haunting – music, my soul, “I never knew I would have to give up on her…”
15th September, 1960
You must think me hateful for leaving so impulsively but I have tried hard and am sorry to say have been evidently unsuccessful. I am not an object of admiration Kastov, I am not a puppet.
You have learned to live for music, but not for people. I want to wake up every morning thinking there is at least someone who would not idolise me, but understand me. I don’t want my life to revolve around music; I want music to revolve around my life.
There are some things best left unsaid and we hardly have anything to say to each other. It’s unusual how love just fell apart on us. It’s unusual how all I ever wanted was just a few minutes of your never-ending symphony.
My fingers moved faster, sliding over the piano like pure silk touching soft skin and slithering down. My head was swarming, drowning in a sea of music. The strings leapt up and slashed back into position, each time more magnificently giving birth to the sound of love. The house came shattering down, begging for mercy from the thundering symphony. The twinkling diamonds of the gold chandelier shattered one by one, ‘chink,’ ‘chink,’ ‘chink…’
My dark eyes sparkled with excitement, almost tasting revenge but revenge on what? Sweaty hair shrouded my sight, but the figure in front of me was unmistakable I felt her soft hair on my neck as she sat beside me and sank into the aroma of sweet honey milk. Her jaded eyes sparkled with soft drops of tears as she searchingly gazed into my eyes. She was haunting me with questions. I looked away. Her shadow drooped, glass beads crashed on the shimmering marble floor and scattered into small wounding bits. I could hear her sob now. And then, she was gone. I stopped. I looked around longing for one more look of that perfect face, those lingering eyes and that soothing voice.
Tears poured down as every memory came flooding back. Unbearable pain struggled to rip through my heart. I sat down at the shimmering monstrous devil again, the keys shinier from the sweat it had drained from me. Wildly stimulated by rage, I crushed the glossy keys under my fingers. My heart throbbing in pain, I cried out in agony, but didn’t stop. The melody sprang forth and sucked me in its cradle trying to calm my wrath, but there was no stopping now. I had lost all I had and viciously played, played, played…
My wrists slashed open unable to hold up to so much pressure and pain. Scarlet years flowed out without restraint. My hands started to crumble, terrorising the perfect symphony that lashed out in fury. Revenge. I fell down, my head pounding now, blood smeared over my hands, my eyes closed. Peaceful sleep…