09 June, 2013

The Cello Sang

The cello sang from the corner.

Dmitri’s hands had been aching to play whilst waiting several weeks for his fingers to heal after the long winter had ravaged them.  Now, in the flushes of Siberian spring the men sat idly about Shura and Mikhail’s open front room within the Volosnikov house as they were want to do most Sundays. Grigory Boleslav smoking in one corner, Anatoly and Yevgeny playing cards in another. Andrey Tenderov lay prostrate, legs sprawled blithely in the center of the room thumbing through a pile of novels and pamphlets, thoughtlessly adding his own  melodies to Dmitri’s concert.

    “Oh Mitya do play the Bach Suites—number 3, the Sarabande, please, it is my very favorite. Oh, say you will.”
    “Yevgeny,” sighed Dmitri Petrov, “I cannot do the 3rd, my thumb is still healing.”
    “The second then. Even just the Prelude. Come! No one does mournful cello better!”
    “Yevgeny, I am almost as weary of the Bach as I am of you. Now be still, stop nagging, and don’t let Anatoly beat you with a pair of fives yet again.” Anatoly smiled broadly at this—he loved to win.
    “I wouldn’t know a Prelude or an Allemande if it jumped up and bit my arse but I like the sound of Sarabande—is she spoken for?” joked Tenderov not even looking up from his books still sprawled upon the ground, his hair gleaming even in the ambient light. The men chuckled approval. Yevgeny was unfazed.
    “Please…” he pleaded, head inclined, eyes batting, smiling with his signature endearing influence.
There was a very deep sigh from the corner.
    “Oh very well,” he grumbled, agreeing only to silence his nagging, though the sincere light in Yevgeny’s face was, admittedly, charming, “but the Second—and only the first movement.” They cheered at the predictable delights of the mismatched bunk-mates.

There was a lull in the air in anticipation. And then at last Dmitri began to play.

There are times when we witness a creature being essentially itself—it happens when we watch beavers build their dams, when birds launch into the heights of the open skies, or as mothers feed their young. In this we witness a kind of glory, not with our senses but with something else entirely: the essential parts in us respond to it, our nerves tremble, and we are ignited with a kind of knowing.

So it was when Dmitri Petrov played his cello.

There was no visible shift in the men. They soaked in long strains and mournful chords as they continued to sit and read and stew and smoke. But the shift was there; real and present, the Cellist crying out to the essential with these inessential men.

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