Tuesday, December 12, 2017

You wouldn’t understand it

I considered asking Natasha to play something for me, but didn’t. Instead I bent over the top of the piano, where the bust of Beethoven was perching, and touched my cheek to the cold reflection.
This time Natasha lifted her face to me. I plopped next to her on the bench and reached for her hand. Expecting no answer I said, “This place seems so empty, all of a sudden.”
To my surprise she looked around and said, “So it does.”
“He’s gone.”
“Who?” 
“Ben.”
“Oh,” she said.
“I put him on the bus and waved goodbye to him.”
At that, she fell silent. A moment later she whispered, “Don’t I know how it feels.”
“You do? Really?” I asked. “What is it, exactly, that you feel?”
She shrugged.
“Tell me, Natasha.”
“You wouldn’t understand it.”
“Try me.”
The phone started ringing just as she was about to tell me something. When I got up to answer, she waved her hand, which I understood, somehow, even without words. 
Oh, never mind. 
And as I lifted the receiver from its cradle I heard her mumbling something behind me, back in the living room. I held my breath, trying to catch the sound of her voice. 
“Can’t you tell?” she said, to no one in particular. “I feel loss.”
For a moment I thought she was talking about our son, leaving us, or else about me, having an affair. Perhaps it made her stop calling me Lenny, which irked me. That, I thought, was why she treated me as a stranger. 
“Is he blind?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Can’t this man read my face? I feel as if I put my brain on a bus and waved goodbye to it.”

Lenny in The Music of Us


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