Friday, November 18, 2016

Come closer, snuggle up



“But Lenny, it’s so simple! I missed you—”
“That’s no reason, Natasha, for what you’ve done. Why leave home, especially now, when we’re at war? If you love me, keep yourself safe, if only for my sake! Why, why put your life at risk—”
“Perhaps,” she said, “I’m not looking for safety! Have you ever thought of that? Perhaps something else is more important to me.”
“Like what?”
“I can’t continue to depend on others, Lenny, the way I’ve done all my life. This is my time to change, to demand new things of myself, even if they happen to frighten me, even if I’m scared out of my mind.”
“Not sure I understand—”
“Please try, Lenny.”
“What is it you want?”
“Just this: to stop leaning on those closest to me.”
“You could’ve done that back home, couldn’t you?”
“That’s the place where I’m being taken care of, to the point of feeling stuck. Worse than that: suffocated. Someone, usually Mama, drives me to where I need to be. Someone points me to the dressing room, calls me to the stage. I’m nothing more than a mechanical doll. All I do is respond.”
“You do much more than that! You excite audiences, Natasha! And to me, you’re an inspiration—”
“Yes, you admire the way I play, but in truth music is the only thing for which Papa trained me.”
“You’re too critical of yourself,” I said.
To which she said, “No, Lenny. I’ve seen him decline, seen him lose his mind, and if—if, like him, I’ll ever lose mine—how in the world will I recover? How will I find my way, when I’ve never developed the skill to do so?”
I lowered my head before her. 
“Never,” I said, “until now.”
“Exactly,” said Natasha. “Until now.”
And a moment later, blotting the corner of her eye, where a tear was forming, she whispered to me, “Come closer, Lenny, snuggle up, but never, ever let me lean on you.”



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