Sunday, July 26, 2009

Now, and at the hour of my death

Violin at sunset by Jamie Marie
Daisy began to play Mendelssohn's On Wings of Song and they fell silent. Jehangir thought this time the music was more tender, pouring so sweetly out of the violin he could almost taste it. It reminded him of honey pouring from a spoon in delicate golden threads. When he had a sore throat, his mother mixed honey with lemon juice to make the throat smooth.

Daisy finished the piece, and they clapped again. She began putting the violin away. "Is that all?" said Nariman. "You can just as well practice here today."

"You don't want to listen to all my rubbish, Professor Vakeel."

He convinced her that he did. But her sheet music and stand were downstairs, so she played a few more pieces from memory, then returned the violin to its case, promising to come the next day if he really wanted.

"Promise me one more thing."

"Certainly."

"Promise me that when I'm dying, you'll come to play for me."

Daisy said she was sure he had many years ahead of him.

"The number of years is not the issue. I want your violin to fill my ears when my breath is leaving me--whenever that may be. Is that a promise?"

He held out is hand to her. She hesitated, but was unable to refuse him. Her hand clasped his, to seal the pact: "Promise," she said.

~ Rohinton Mistry, Family Matters
 

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