Her husband walked in from the fields with the news that the crops weren't doing well this year. She'd been expecting it, had watched his haggard face become drawn as each night he bent over the books, but it was still a blow. She and John had invested all their money in this land. It was their property, it was their future, it was their home. She laid his lunch out and quietly sat across from him, wondering how to explain she was pregnant. But one look at his face persuaded her to wait for another time. The wariness there squeezed at her heart. She asked some questions about possible options but all of their options seemed closed. She walked with him to the door and as he left he kissed her gently on the forehead. "I'm sorry. You deserve so much more." he said and returned to the fields. She followed him out the door and sat on the chair, watching the wind brush the grass, lost in her thoughts of the baby and their future.
She knew he'd be a wonderful father, as he had been a wonderful husband. They would probably have to move back into town and live with his parents. That could be alright, another woman to help with the baby. John could return to work in his father's store and they could save for another house. Surely they'd get some money for their fine house. But she could not believe all their options were gone. The fields had yet to be harvested, the season was not even over. Things could still change. She stood and gently laid a hand on her stomach, thinking of the new life there. She turned to reenter the house. Yes, things could still change.
It was Emily's first dance. No, acutally, it was her second. But her first had been just over 10 years ago and everyone had forgotten it, except for herself. She was 28 now, and only escorting her niece to this dance because her dear sister was not feeling at all well this evening. The Buxley hall was much the same as it always had been, decorated this evening with flower chains in celebration of spring. The women were wearing their new pastels, and the men their new, colorful ties. As they entered, Michaela turned to her aunt with a smile, "Shall you dance if someone asks, Emily?"
Emily had been caring for her niece since she was born and the Emily felt closer to her than any of her other assorted relatives. "Don't be silly," she now replied. "This is your dance. Only young men are here for you and your friends."
"Perhaps. But wouldn't you like at least one dance?"
"I'm sure I'll be busy gossiping with all the other escorts." Emily responded, sidestepping the question. The truth was, and Michaela did not know it, that Emily had attended that one wonderful dance before and could simply not imagine any comparison to the her dance partner from that evening. She had only met Tom that night and they had danced together every song. They had talked a little and smiled a lot and walked around the gardens once the dance let out. Over the next weeks they seemed to see each other everywhere- at the market, on the street, at church lectures or school events. Finally one night he escorted her to dinner and a play. That night he kissed her.
The next day he left.
She did not realize at first that he was gone. She thought that perhaps he was merely busy at his job, or had caught a cold. But then she found out he had been sent on a two-day trip to collect some packages some towns over and had simply not returned. Nor did he ever. Now as Emily stepped into the dance hall, the memories returned. Young men and women gayly floating by, anticipation hanging in the air. Michaela immediately joined her group of friends and was soon dancing with ease and skill.
Emily drifted to a corner prepared to endure the feeble Widow Johnson's ramblings. A shadow fell upon her as she settled in her chair and she looked up to see a tall man looking down. "Would you like to dance?" That was all. She did not recognize him. He did not introduce himself. She looked about, expecting the visitor's host to be near, but everyone was busy elsewhere. A dance? After ten years? Did she even remember how?
He extended his hand. She took it and rose. Slowly he led her to the floor. Michaela tripped, missing a step in her eagerness to watch this interesting progression. They were a playing a waltz, a simple waltz. The steps came back to Emily so easily, as though she were still a nimble 18. He carefully held her, and brought her close in his arms. She and her partner moved about the room. Neither spoke. This first waltz moved into a second waltz and the spell remained unbroken. As the second dance ended, they slowly moved apart. "Thank you." he said.
Emily drifted out to the gardens. The moon was shining and the stars were glistening. She pulled her shawl tighter. It was a good night. A good night to be alive. A good night to live again.
A violin. I wanted a pony for my birthday and I got a violin. Sometimes life is too tough. I don't understand. I specifically informed mummy that I wanted a sturdy pony with lots of patches. I even had a name picked out- Patches. That's a good name, I think. For a short while I was sure I would name him Robin, after Robinson Crusoe, an excellent book I finish a few weeks ago. But after some long, hard thought I decided Patches made more sense. Not that it matters, since all I have is a violin. Oh, and lessons. Yes, for my birthday I got violin lessons. Twice weekly. When I should be out playing hop scotch with all my chums. Some of them have pianos and piano lessons. Even those are better than violins because pianos have all those neat low notes that you can thump and thump and make lots of neat noises with. My instrument just squeeks. If my parents found an instrument such a necessary item for me to possess, I ask why not a drumset? I would be happier with a drumset. Most happy with a drumset and pony. Mummy told me to practice for an hour before I can play. I wonder if I can drop my violin or cut the strings so I can not practice. Maybe I'll just tell mummy I am not feeling well. But then she won't let me go outside and play. Well, it is raining, so I could stay in my room. And think about my lost pony. Yes. I think I shall do that.
The woman waited. It had been four years since her love had gone to war.
And she remembered.
Age 17. 1941. John was the first one in the neighborhood to sign up for battle. "Don't worry," was all he said, "The war will be over in three months. I'll see you soon."
She patiently waited. For John, she was willing to wait forever. This was 1941.
The war didn't end in three months. Four months went by. Another four. She began to lose hope of her love ever returning. Then she saw the sign. It was a strong woman, working construction on a building. It said, "Rosie wants YOU for the war effort". She took this sign to heart. "If it means I can get John home sooner," she said, "I have to do it". This was 1942.
She signed up to help that day. She didn't care about what she was doing. All it meant to her was that she was going to get her John back. I guess you can probably see by now where this story is going. This was 1942.
By 1943, she had made a lot of friends on the job. There was Mabel, who worked on the assembly line. Her husband had been killed in an ill-advised offensive in North Africa in 1942. And Bernice, who worked on auto bodies for the jeeps. Like her, Bernice's boyfriend had gone off to war, and was still there. This was in 1944.
It was this company that helped her redefine what she was doing. She was no longer working only to get John back. She was working to help the country get out of war. She was doing something useful. This was in 1944.
By 1945, she was working because she enjoyed it. It had helped her discover her own identity. The war ended. John was about to come home. This was 1945.
Steve and Jill had been married for about ten years now. They were in their late thirties, around the time of life when you usually start to realize that you aren't going to live forever, and that people who are exhausted after an hour of exercise aren't necessarily out of shape. They had been fighting this process tooth and nail. "Let's not have children quite yet," they would say to each other, "there is still plenty of time, and besides, I don't think I'm ready."Jill's parents had been pressuring them to have grandchildren, especially her father. Jill's father (Steve still called him "Mr. Stevens", despite the fact that he had known his for ten years, and three years before that while Steve and Jill were dating) was feeling his age - he had just celebrated his 80th birthday, Jill being the youngest of three children that he had had late in life. He wanted to celebrate life in his grandchildren. "What are you worried about?" Jill and Steve used to say, "You have two other children who have children! What do you need with more grandchildren?" All he used to say was, "You'll understand someday."
Jill's father died a few months after his 80th birthday. It took Jill and Steve by surprise. Jill was used to seeing her father as immortal: someone who would always be there, if not for advice, then at least for nagging her about having grandchildren.
Steve tried to console Jill (and thus we have our picture). Neither of them had thought of death in a particularly threatening or menacing way before. "Where do we go from here?" they asked themselves, "What meaning does life have, if someone so dear to us can be taken away?" The final question they asked themselves was, "What about if it should happen to us?"
"What if it should happen to us?" was the one that stuck. Don't get the idea that Steve and Jill were particularly selfish people. They had just never before been confronted with death so closely. Well, you know what happens when people start thinking about these things. It was impossible for you to go to Steve and Jill's house for weeks afterward without it seeming like they were completely miserable at everything they did. No longer did they have the carefree attitude that they had had before. Well, as tends to happen with these things, Steve and Jill snapped out of it. They had children pretty soon afterward. They lived a long and relatively happy life. Their children grew up, and Steve and Jill started pestering them about having grandchildren. They would tell Steve and Jill to get off their backs, asking them "why they needed grandchildren?" Steve and Jill just smiled.
Young Sherlock stayed in his room, staring at his violin. "If only mommy and daddy wouldn't make me play the violin," he thought, "then I wouldn't have to practice all the time. It's all their fault. I'm going to tell them." Well, Sherlock told them. Oh, how he told them! He whined and complained to drive his parents crazy. His brother Mycroft tried to calm him down, but to no avail. Mycroft might have been seven years Sherlock's senior, but that means very little to a boy who does not want to practice his violin. Finally, his mother and father intervened. Sherlock was the brightest boy in school. He was already giving evidence of his striking powers of observation and induction. If he couldn't damned well practice his violin a little, then he would have to be punished! Sherlock opted for playing his violin instead. Not to practice his violin was one thing - to be punished for it was quite another!
The years went by. Their parents were killed in a tragic robbery when Sherlock was still too young really to understand what had happened. Life still went on. Sherlock graduated from Oxford, and became the world's first consulting detective. Mycroft went on to hold some obscure government post, from which he secretly ran England.
In 1890, Sherlock was sitting in his rooms on Baker Street considering his story. He had just finished a case involving The Sign of Four, and his roommate Watson had found someone he wanted to marry. He got no fee for the mission, just some goodwill all around. Watson told him it was unfair: He asked him, "What remains for you?"
"For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there always remains the cocaine bottle."
there is a gathering in her home. guests are randomly arranged about a casual living space. she is relaxed and detatched. she has pulled up a chair--a different sort of chair. there is a dialogue. she is half listening/half dazing. she has entered in the midst of something she need not interrupt. there is a dent in the skin of her right elbow where the flesh has been pressing into the rim of the wood. she is a daughter and a sister. when she arises it will be suddenly. it will be upon the stirring revelation that the assemblage might be thirsty. she is not sad.
he is leaving and they are saying goodbye. they are deeply involved--deeply attached to one another. her hand presses against his chest as a means of maintaining connection. they know eachother well. they are not soul-mates. they are, in a sense, each other's crutch. they will see each other aigain, but she doesn't know when. he has a bit more of an idea when. his eyebrows are raised paternally but they are lovers. her eyebrows are raised clutchingly but they are lovers. he will leave and she will fall forward with the impact of his departure. this will empower him a bit. they'll both survive to flourish, but not together.
this is is brother's violin. his brother left the instrument on the table and this young boy has been staring at it for ten minutes. he tried, for a time, to read the faded imprint at the inside bottom of the hollowed wood--the instrument's manufacturer. he can not (could not) make it out and by now his mind has drifted. violin--name--the script of the name (the font itself) has reminded him of the stamp on the side of a wagon he had. he recalls the wagon and the friend on whose back porch he left the wagon and whatever happened to that wagon? ...and the friend's older sister and what was she doing now? right now? right this very instant was she...? he'll be startled back to the present when his uncle enters and makes a joke about him taking up the violin like his strapping older brother. his uncle doesn't know him very well.
in this picture we see a mildly tranced woman seated at a chair scratching her chin. she longs for moisturizer but is really concerned with the rothko on the wall opposite. she is dazed by the fields of color and has been induced into a state of near catatonia. subconsciously she is considering whether or not to put her coat on because the room is cold. she doesn't know this because she is wamred by the painting. its hypnotic effect makes it difficult for her to take in and process sensory stimuli. before she came here she was considering moving to india to study with the sons of the bagwan shree rajneesh. now this is no longer necessary. she will remain within the confines of this upper east side studio whether the owner likes it or not. the thing is, she's hypnotized by a painting which is never going to tell her to get up and leave or anything. eventually aaron 'hound dog" francis, the owner of the painting and the studio, will place a plaque on the wall behind her inscribed with the words "spring is in the air" and show her off to his friends. damn art collectors.
these people are spies. they are both female, but they are disguised and one looks like a man. the "man" is passing the microfilm form his mouth to her hair which is pulled back over the secret compartment. OSS developed this method for smuggling microfilm after extensive research into Nazi counter-intelligence which showed them that, even after the whole mata hari thing in WW1, the Germans forgot that women could be spies. OSS, however, forgot that dressing up one of the spies as man would attract more attention from the Nazis. it was a tough call because the plan for the film transfer was already worked out and the Nazis would have been more suspicious of two women embracing like this. this photograph was taken by a Nazi intelligence offer who suspected the "man" but eventually gave up the chase. the two spies are both ecstatic with the thrill of spying and getting away with it but also terrified by the prospect of getting caught. they don't though, so it turns out all right. we win the war and so on and so forth.
the kid in the picture isn't a genius or anything, but he just "invented" a violin. the thing is, he doesn't know what it's for. nor does he know that the violin has already been invented and that his efforts have been totally redundant. he'll sit here for a while and then get bored (it took a lot of time to come up with the violin). i think he's going to go outside and check the mailbox for cereal samples, but he might just as easily go to the basement look for rats. it's hard to tell with kids these days. no two are alike.
This picture tells the story of a woman named Anna, who has just completed a hard and long, but typical day. She spent the morning taking care of her children and sending them off to do some chores in the near-by village. She then did a load of laundry out by the stream, andthen hung it up to dry. She made the dinner, cleaned the house, and wrote some letters. Now it is late in the afternoon, the sun is streamingin the window and warming the window seat, and Anna is sitting down to relax for a moment. She is thinking about the letter she just received from her husband who is away on a business trip, trying to sell his home made leather goods. She is thinking about him, and is happy but a bitnostalgic, and she is going through the events of the day and is satisfied with the work she has done and the good children she has raised. The outcome of this pensive moment for Anna, will not be much more than self-satisfaction, and a continuation of the daily chores and necessities.
This picture shows the meeting of forbidden lovers in a hidden, darkroom. The young man and woman met at a carneval one night, it was a very festive occasion. They spent the whole evening together, laughing, eating, singing dancing. However, it turns out that the young man was engaged to be married to the woman's best friend. When the woman finds this out, she is appalled that she did what she had done, but she realizes that she has fallen in love with this man. At this moment, it is their second meeting after the carneval, and they now both know that he must marry the woman's friend, but they also both know that they are truly in love with each other. They are meeting at a secret place, where they agreed to meet earlier, and they both have passionate feelings for the other. He is sad and angry that he must marry her friend, and the young woman is also upset, and almost wishes that she had never met him. After talking until the early morning, just before the sun came up, trying to figure out what they could do, they decide that, while the marriage still must take place, they will still meet secretly at this and other hiding places.
This picture shows a very frustrated and upset boy. He has just had aviolin lesson, which he didn't want to have, because it was the perfectday for playing kickball and marbles with his friends, and they were allmeeting on top of the hill by the pond at the very same time that he hadto have his stupid violin lesson. He didn't even really like the violin,except sometimes when he got to play fun pieces, ones with a lot ofpizzicato. But his papa made him take it, because he said it made himcultured, whatever that meant. His papa wasn't even there when the teacher was coming up the road, so the boy tried to runout of the house before the violin teacher got there, but he was caught by the gardener.Then, in his two hour-long lesson, he made all sorts of mistakes, andthe teacher yelled at him three times, and accused of having weak armsand not practicing enough. Humph! Now, the violin teacher has just left.The boy is very discouraged and frustrated. He's angry at his teacher,angry at his papa, and angry because now it's RAINING, and he can't evenplay with his friends now on the hill! He's trying to think of what hecan do, and he's plotting a little mischief. Maybe he could catch a toadand sneak into the kitchen and scare the maids!
It had been a really bad day at the vineyard for some people. It was as if they knew the horror that was about to unfold. Maria had noticed a sort of listless preoccupation in all the little trolls that worked in the valley. Somehow there wasn't that same spring in their step as they lugged bags of grapes to the familiar stomping grounds at the top of the hill. The hill had been the source of the days trouble, actually. The gigantic vat of burgundy-elect at the top of the hill had sprung a leak, which turned into a bigger leak, and then all hell broke loose as 20,000 gallons of squashed grapes poured down onto the helpless trolls slaving away at the bottom of the hill. 400 were killed and several others badly wounded. Maria had watched the whole event unfold from her personal helicopter, but was helpless to assist. Now all that was left was to place 400 little troll bodies into 400 tiny little troll body-bags. She remembered buying the body bags at the local 7-11 and joking with the head troll, Graggoe, about how they would never need to use them.
"Let's hope the vat doesn't burst!" she had kidded.
"Drowning everyone below!" he had chimed in.
"Ha-ha!" she remarked.
"Ha-ha-ha!" Graggoe had added.
Well, it's not so funny now, is it, Maria said to herself as she stared mournfully into the abyss of pain and misery which was her future. Not so funny now. She felt a sudden urge to smash the chair she was sitting on, out of pure, unmitigated rage. But she calmed when she realized that it wasn't really a chair at all. It was that joker, Bleecoe, a young troll who only pretending to be a chair to try and cheer her up. She playfully kicked him in the head, but her heart wasn't really in it.
It was no use. Word would get out about the accident. People would begin to talk. Investigations would be summarily organized. Soon, everyone in the wine industry would realize that she was using slave troll labor to produce those sparkling burgundies and shimmering chablis. And, sooner or later, some one would point out that trolls don't actually exist , and that the whole thing was the product of some sick fool's imagination. Well, it had been fun up until now, at least. As she mused about the old days, she began to pick up a bit. She hummed an old troll hymn and smiled as Bleecoe assumed the shape of a cold, frosty one and positioned himself on a coaster on the table. That crazy Bleecoe!
1) Freud sees attractive elderly woman across dance floor (she reminds him of his momma) and goes to ask her to dance. She says yes.
2) They are dancing and Freud is smelling her hair a little bit more than she is comfortable with. "Mein Gott, your hair smells good!" he exclaims. "Viel danke," she replies nervously
3) Freud is thinking: fort...da...fort...da...fort...da...fort...da... Elderly woman is thinking: I'm trapped in that Dorothy Parker story about the waltz. Will it never end
4) More than likely, the dance will end and Freud will ask the woman up to his place for some Schnapps. She will complain of her rheumatism and take a cab home. Freud will then go home and look up "rheumatism", writing it down in a small notebook entitled "Neue Worte"
Mom said, wanna take piano lessons? And I hadda say no. Why'd I say no? I coulda just said yeah and then I 'd be playin' "Chopsticks" and "Minuet in G" like all the other kids. Sure they hate piano lessons, but they hate 'em together. What'm I supposed to do say: Oh yeah, I know what you mean, I hate having to tune that D-string ... always slips and stuff? Right. Sure. Maybe I could tell mom I'm sick and I can't practice right now, I'll do it later. After dinner. And then after dinner I'll grab my coat and run out before she remembers I said I'd practice it. But she'll probably remember it. She always remembers. She forgets Cap'n Crunch at the supermarket but she always remembers this stupid thing. Stupid piece of wood. Stupid violin. Who plays the violin? Nobody, that's who. I thought it was a guitar at first when I first saw it. Then I could be like nirvana and Pearl Jam and those guys. I bet THEY never had to play the violin or piano either. They had cool moms who gave 'em guitars and big speakers and then they were cool and everybody liked 'em. Actually, I hate those guys. They were just lucky, that's all. Just lucky. I could be there if I was a guitar player and had a cool mom.
Why doesn't SHE play it if she likes it so much? What does it matter if I play it or not? Why can't I do what I want to do? I bet here's what happens: I bet she makes me play it, then says, "good boy! See what happens when you just practice your violin and get it over with? Now you have plenty of time to start cleaning your room before dinnertime!" Always says stuff like that. She always thinks she's sooooo funny. I don't think she's funny. Neither does Dad.
Anna is listening to her lover's explanation of a new kind of bug that he just classified. He is very excited and is gesticulating wildly, spewing off scientific terms. She has just come home from work and would like nothing better than to get out of her blouse and skirt and into some comfortable sweatpants. But she has decided to break up with him soon so she cannot be rude to him and leave. So what she's doing is staring at his face, watching his mouth move, and thinking about their past together and how she used to find him exciting. She knows that when he is done, she will get up, change, and go into the kitchen to cook dinner. He will wash the dishes and while he is doing that she will read for a while and then get into the bath. He will work on the article he is writing for a scientific journal and then they will go to bed. This has happened everyday forever it seems.
When Adela walked into the room, she could tell by the look on her husband Robert's face that something was wrong. He was staring at the rug and didn't even notice her entrance. For a while she just looked at him, afraid to break the silence. She noticed that his eyes were puffy and sore-looking, his jaw was tight and his hair which he normally kept nicely combed was rumpled. She walked over to him and rested her hand on his head. He looked up at her and shook his head slowly. She said nothing, waiting for him. He slowly got up and hugged her. She let him, wishing she knew what was wrong, wanting to know because the expectation of bad news was scary for her -- scarier than actually getting bad news. Robert bent close to her, and whispered: Andrew is dead. Their son was gone. But Adela would not believe it.
John wanted to join the little league baseball team. But his father and mother were musicians and did not want him to ruin his hands. His grandfathers had been musicians. There was no question that he would be a musician. But John had hoped that when he opened up his birthday gifts, he would get a glove. Or maybe even just some toys: he had seen a big truck that he liked a lot in the toy store. But when he opened his last gift on his birthday it wasn't a glove or a truck. It was a violin and some sheet music. His parents stood there smiling at him, because how could he not love their gift? And John just looked at the violin. And couldn't even smile at them. Finally he managed to smile and thank them. Then he went upstairs to his room, put the violin on his desk, and sat on his bed, watching the boys outside play catch.
She stares silently at the horizon where he once walked. She begged him not to go, but his will was too strong. "Its not worth the risk," she had pleaded, "stay here with me. We can work on the farm, and build us the life we had always dreamed of." He would have none of it however. The war ment to much to him. He promised to be back in less then a year, after whooping the yankees.
Somehow she knows. Somehow she knows she will never see him again, that this war between the states that has already claimed so many lives will claim at least one more. But she could not stop him. She is left to wish, to mourn, as she watches him slowly walk off, over the ridge and out of her site forever.
It is all so useless, she thinks. Why him? Why me? Why now? She does not know what to think as her dreams of a family and life ride off. She knows she must get on with her life, however. She makes up her mind that she will write a letter to her sister and go live with her. She knows she will get through this somehow.
"Happy Aniversery" he whispers, as he wakes her up with a kiss. "Do you remember this day, ten years ago?" "That was one of the happiest days of my life," she grinned. She they had had their rough times, she thought, but she still loved him, as strongly as ever. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a box. "Open it!" he says. "There is no way I could thank you for the years we've had, but let this be a token of my appreciation." Smiling, she knows what must be in the box. The jewlery is unneccesary, but she remembers what first attracted her to this man in the first place: his sincere romance, and his flair for the dynamic."Here's to another ten years," she says, as she slowly roles on top of him.
I hate doing this! thinks the young boy. He has been taking lessons for almost a year now, with little progress. He knows he will never be a great musician, that his fingers are just not built for such things. Right now, he would give anything just to run around with the other kids. He would love nothing more to trade his violin for a bat and ball. But his father. He would not understand. Oh well, he thinks, maybe if I work harder, I will master it.
She is sitting at the window side and looking into the horizon. There are streams of sunshine streaking into her window. Her golden hair is glowing and is waving gently by the autumn breeze. It is autumn and she is contemplating about life. She is 24 years old and her friends are running around to try do something with their lives. People are asking her to do certain things that she does not desire to do. She has enough courage to stand upon what she wants to believe in. She listens to her heartbeat and live according to what she wants to do. She is true to herself. That's why there is peace in her. She looks peaceful. She can enjoy what life has brought in her life. She has done everything she can do to make the best of everything. She has failed and made mistakes here and there. However, she never doubted that the most important thing in life is not about winning because life is not a test.
There is peace that comes through a person who can stand on her own feet that can not be created by other means except from the happiness one creates for him/herself.
The event takes place in France at an apartment in Paris. She is a maid and plays the piano beautifully. She works for a bachelor who is a professor at the Univeristy of Paris. He is indeed a notable man in the realm of academics. However, there is one thing that he can not get: the maid. He has her by the fact the she is his maid. He wants more than that. He wants to have her, not by force but for her to fall in love with her. He does not want to manipulate her. He has enough intelligence to what words to use for a girl to be touched. he is a psychologist and mind control is so easy for him. He can not get what he wants. He would whisper at her ear when she is scrubbing the wall. He would commment on her silouette but she does not heed to him. She thinks he wants her physically and nothing more. He does not want her physically; he want her to fall in love with him. He wants her love to be genuine and pure geared toward him. She thinks he is exactly the opposite. She is looking for someone who will love her with all that a man has. In other words, they both can not get what they want though the truth is in front of their eyes.
There are many ways to help people. There is more than one way to help people. This boy knows what he wants to do. He wants to be a violinist for people to feel what they have not felt before. he believes music is the way for people to be in touch with themselves. he wants people to feel genuine. he sees poverty around him. he sees people suffer. he sees people cry. he sees people hurting each other. he knows that these are simply due the suppressed emotions of people. he knows that people are vulnerable. we are so vulnerable we end up hurting ourselves. we end up doing something that makes things out of control.
This boy whom you see in front of you is John F Kennedy. His love for people has begun at this very moment. This love never burned out but kept on glowing brighter as he grew. There is not just one way to help people. He may have had to alter goals but his eyes were fixed on the prize. Ask yourself: Do I go for a prize or a goal in life?
The last few days have been beautiful ones. The woman in the picturehas enjoyed a number of days of sunshine, and outdoor fun. Sheparticularly loves this time of the year, the flowers have started to bloom, and the days of huddling up to the fire to keep warm at night seemto be over. She is sitting next to the window waiting for a pie thatshe is baking to finish in the oven. As she wonders whether the crustwill come out just right her thoughts wonder to a past love. A lovethat is now no more. He loved her pies, and this time of the yearthey tasted even better than other times of the year. He had diedin the war, and she has not yet found another that can make her ashappy as he did. The miller has proposed to her and even thought sheknows that it would be in her best financial interests to get marriedwith him, she is not sure that she should. She doesn't love him at alland further more he thinks that it is a waste of time to spend the afternoon baking. What should she do...
It is late in the evening, the father and the daughter shown have spentthe night talking, enjoying some hot coco. It has been a while sincethey have had the opportunity to spend an evening in such a manner. He is always traveling, and giving presentations, and traveling moreand when he is home he spends a great deal of his time with his wife.But now with her in the hospital the father and daughter are left at homealone for the first time in many years. The mother and wife will undergo a very dangerous surgery tomorrow. They talk of the possibility ofnot having her in their lives any more, and lament over the many goodtimes thay they have had together: the christmas mornings, the summerevenings. As the daughter goes to bed the father does something thathe has not done in many years, he tucks his dauighter in and gives hera little kiss on the fore head before she goes bed. They both feela little uncomfortable, she is now almost sisteen years old and isnot used to sucha display of emotion from her father. But it makesthem both a little more happy, a little that will help them both throughthe next day.
The young boy shown in the picture is in his room, he is being punishedfor not having practiced. He has been told that he is nto allowed togo aout and play until he has spend at least a half an hour playing. To the adults around him a half an hour seems like a small unit of timebut in the summer a half an hour holds an eternity of fun that the boywill never have. He thinks that playing is stupid....he hates it, butat the same time he knows that it is what he must do in order to belet out of his room. He looks out the window and then at theinstrument befoer him finially resolved to play twenty minutes before attempting to talk his mother into letting him leave his room.
It was a typical Saturday afternoon, and Mary was just getting back from her weekly grocery store trip. Her and Dave had been living together for about 3 months and she felt that everything was going well. However, that day she came home to a half empty apartment and a cold message telling her that he needs some space and time on his own. Confused and hurt, Mary sits in an empty corner of her once cozy apartment. She is feeling sad and contemplative - she does not understand why Dave has left her. However, she realizes that this is probably for the best. She was having some doubts herself about their relationship - but it always better to leave then to be left behind. After sitting silently in that empty corner, Mary decides she should treat herself. She calls up one of her closest female friends and they go out for ice cream.
Susan and Paul have been good friends for years. They spent four years at the same college and then both got jobs in the same city. They never thought that their relationship would progress beyond mere friendship, but they were wrong. After a long discussion reminiscing their years of friendship, Paul noticed just the right moment to make his move. He could see in Susan's eyes that she would be ready for a more intimate relationship. After a few tender caresses, Susan pulls away in fear of the awaiting intimacy. Paul tells her how much he loves her and lets her know that he will take things as slowly as she would like. They have a beautiful night of exquisite love making, get married, and raise a beautiful family.
Isaac has been playing the violin for as long as he can remember. He cannot imagine a life without such dedication to music, yet he feels torn between being a normal child and a musical prodigy. His mother wants him to pursue his immense talent, while his father lacks respect for the precious art of music. Worried that his father is growing to dislike him, Isaac is wondering whether or not he should continue to play the violin with such extreme dedication. If it wasn't for his mother's positive reinforcement he knows that he would never be at the level he is now, but he also cares about how his father sees him. There is a big competition coming up, which Isaac knows could really begin to make a name for himself. He sees this as his opportunity to either excel or quietly, but purposefully fail and drop out of music to please his father. Isaac has worked too hard to consider such an option and he realizes his potential for musical success. He wins the competition and embarks on a spectacular career as a soloist. Eventually, his father excepts his chosen path, and all of Isaac's dreams have come true.
Anna was sitting in the dining room while her sister and her mother worked on her sister's wedding dress. Her sister Laura had been engaged for nearly 3 years, and everyone had pretty much gotten used to that state of things. It felt odd to have everything finally come to fruition, almost like the marriage itself hadn't really been the point. At least that's what it felt like to Anna. She wondered if her sister felt differently. Anna sighed as she watched her sister, and became lost in her own thoughts of lifetime loves and committments.
Laura, standing at the other end of the table, was feeling dark and hostile. She wished that she were the type of person who could get into such a formal event as a marraige. She liked the idea, certainly, of having a quaint wedding and reception with dancing and food, but there were certain aspects of it which she guessed probably didn't fit with her personality very well. The dress, which she was wearing as her mother worked on the hem, for example. Again, she liked the _idea_of dressing up, but once she was wearing any type of formal clothing she just couldn't relax. Perhaps it was because formal clothing tends to be restrictive or tight, and she never felt consistently good about her body enough to settle into the clothes. So here she was, getting fitted into this dress, and wishing that she could simply get married without a real wedding. Why have a wedding if she wasn't going to have fun at it? But her mother was expecting one, had been for years now, and there was still that part of Laura that liked the idea.
The mother, Jean, was busy hemming and generally in a good mood. She knew that Laura was getting tired of standing, but she was almost done. If Laura had not set the date to be so close -- only 2 months warning after the intial engagement announcement-- they could've finished things up at a more leisurely pace. But no matter. Occasionally Jean cast an eye at Anna, sitting at the other end of the room. She hoped that the look on her face was wistfull, thinking maybe Anna would finally settle down with a man. But she didn't want to pry or pressure, so she didn't say anything, even though this meant she had many gaps in her knowledge of Anna's life. She suspected it was much more complicated that Anna ever indicated or she ever asked. Why couldn't Anna's relations be simple in the way that Laura's were, meet a man, fall in love, get married?
Anna spoke up: I think I'm going to move to San Francisco.
Jean looked up with alarm, what does this imply, she wondered: But dear, that's so far away, we wouldn't be able to visit you often, you might not be able to come home for Christmas every year. I mean, it would be fabulous, but far...
Laura, glad for the distraction from her thoughts said: I think it sounds cool, a really big city, far away from everything. Lots of people.
Anna said: Yeah, I'm interested in really being able to lose myself. Everyone here knows everything you do. I'm tired of feeling like I'm being watched, like I always have to be appropriate... Her voice trailed off, realizing her mother wouldn't like her last statement.
Jean said: People here only care about you, they have your best interests in mind.
I know, Anna said. She could feel herself choking up. Big tears began to roll down her face. She tried to pretend nothing was happening. Her mother's face was bent over the work, she didn't see. Laura saw, but didn't know what to say, so she just sent her a look of support and concern.
The afternoon continued in silence.
Sarah lost her job. She was tired when she got home, on the verge of crying. All that work for nothing. She tried to remain calm and make the dinner.
Michael came in and noticed right away that something was wrong. Sarah's back was stiff and her shoulders tight as she stood at the counter cutting carrots.
Sarah, how was your day? he asked.
Sarah turned and looked at him, her eyes swelling with tears. "Oh, Michael!" She said. "I've lost my job! I can't believe it..." her voice trailed off.
"Oh honey, come here." Michael opened his arms wide to receive her. She
came to him and laid her head on his shoulder.
"It came without warning. They needed to cut back. First hired is first to leave." She said through her tears. "My degree means nothing to them. I was so excited about this job, I had looked for something like it for so long, now its gone..."
"I'm so sorry, dear. You must feel awful."
"I just get so depressed having to go through the whole job search thing again. It's so tiring..." Sarah relaxed a little in Michael's arms.
"Well, sweetheart, maybe you shouldn't. I told you that it was rough out there. We certainly don't need the money, and there are plenty of things to entertain you here..." Michael said, in a rather fatherly tone of voice.
Sarah tensed up again. What did he mean? Entertain? Rough world out there? She'd just gotten her masters, she wanted to work, to feel like she was part of the world, and here he was, using that tone she hated, saying that she didn't need to go out there. That the world didn't need her. It made her feel like all of the support he had given her while she was back at school was merely so that she could have entertainment. Is that what he thought? This was a side of Michael which sometimes nourished her, and sometimes repressed her. She didn't know how to deal with it.
"Come now, let's dry our eyes and finish with the dinner. Perhaps this is a sign for the better." Michael said, holding her back a little.
Confused, Sarah complied. Michael went to the other room and turned on the radio. Sarah went back to chopping carrots, trying to decide what to do, and how to get the help she needed from Michael.
Tony sat in the study and stared at his violin. His mom had just told him to practice for a whole hour before he could go outside and play. He hadn't practiced all week and his mom said she wasn't paying good money for lessons for the violin to sit on the shelf.
He hated this instrument. He had been playing for a few months now. Whenever he practiced, the lower notes sounded ok, but the high ones pierced his ears so that he wanted to cringe. And the high ones were the ones he was supposed to practice.
He was neither bad at playing nor exceptionally good. Just another things to be mediocre at. Why bother. He stared at the violin some more. Of course the reason he didn't practice was so that maybe his mom would get a clue and stop paying for the lessons. It hadn't been his idea in the first place.Outside he heard the kids playing in the street. This was his favorite time of day, dusk, to play hide and seek, and of course now was the time he had to practice. Maybe if I sort of mess around for 40 minutes or so
I can convince her to let me out, he thought to himself. He gingerly picked it up and positioned it in place. He played a few notes, and stopped. He looked at the bow. The horse hairs were delicately stretched from one end to the other. He felt them, feeling the soft silkiness under his fingers. Without thinking he pinched and pulled back. Most of the hair came out of the bottom end. Frantic now, Tony tried to re-attach them to the bow, but to no avail. He started to get nervous. His mom would find out. She would be mad. She'd tell his dad. He didn't know what to do.
He ended up waiting for his mom to come find him in his room. He couldn't just go and face her. He tried to imagine his punishment as he waited.
And then he was gone, and Julia was left alone on the bench, wondering whether there was anything she could have done, anything she could have said. People walking back and forth through the train station, and none of them registering in her eyes. Blankly she stared ahead, watching image come and image go, none completely forming a face. Somewhere deep inside she knew that she needed to watch the clock, to be sure she wouldn't miss the train, but the voice telling her that grew fainter and fainter.
John's sweater filled her nose with the smell of clean wool as she dug her face deep into his chest. She tasted the fibers in his mouth, dry and bitter. He was strong now, he was always strong, and she knew she could be strong for him, just as long as he held her close.
As Heather sunk into him, he wondered whether things would ever be the same, whether they had the sentiments left to invest in one more child. How many miscarriages did it take before one no longer wanted to impregnate his wife, no longer wanted her to repeat this cycle of euphoria and despair? Even as he thought this, he hated himself for it, wishing he could share her grief; someone had to be the rock, he thought, but why did it always have to be him?
Peter's eyes were beginning to droop; the adrenaline that had pumped through his system was fading quickly, as excitement gave way to fright, to acceptance, and finally disgust at himself. For the first time he realized that he would not be the winner; nowhere in his tortured brain could he find this conumdrum's answer.
Although his eyes still faced the enigma on the table, his mind turned to thoughts of his father. What would that demanding taskmaster say upon hearing the news that his son the prodigy had failed as never before -- a first-round exit in the state science competition. Peter knew he should still be in a panic, and yet he felt nothing but fatigue. He was tired of thinking about objects, and he was even more tired of feeling scared.
Joanna has just woken up late, around noon, on a rather blah sunday; she is reflected over last night's events as she stares out the window. Last night she got a phone call from her friend, Bob, and Bob told her that he had just had his heart broken. Joanna was shocked to hear about the terrible ay in which Bob's long-tern fiancee and been treating him lately (she has been sneaking arounf with another man for months and finally she just left him). The conversation had ended around 1 AM, with Bob revealing to Joanna that he has loved her (Joanna) for years. As Joanna sits, this Sunday morning, gazing out at the gray, dreary noon sky, she ponders the situation and looks within herself to find the answer.
Sarah returns from the grocery store to find her long-lost brother , Charlie, standing outside her house, nonchalantly. After not having seen him since the death of their third sibling, David, to AIDS 8 years ago, Sarah is overcome by a mixture of happiness and pain. She jumps out of the car and embraces him mournfully. In his arms she loses control and begins sobbing hysterically. She will soon discover that Charlie has not made this sudden visit out of a desire to reach out to his long-lost sister, but rather because he has lost his job, been kicked out of his condominium, been thrown out by his 2nd wife, and has no place else to turn. In later months Sarah too will give up on Charlie and throw him out of her house, due to his severe alcoholism.
It is music class time at the Stonybrook elementary school for children with severe learning disabilities. As the other children get up to go get their instruments from the music teacher's instrument bin, Bobby silently pulls a violin wrapped with paper out from under his desk. As he looks down at the delicate instrument he suddenly hears the beautiful voice of "Ezmerelda" floating past his head like a lovely-scented flower. As the other childrens' loud voices and clamering about begin to make Ezmerelda's voice fade, Bobby closes his eyes and grasps despirately at the sound and image of Ezmerelda. But it is no use- she is gone.
Marie sat to rest, exahusted after her long walk. Leaning against the corner of the house, she gazed off across the fields, mentally retracing the steps of her journey. "It's so peaceful out here in the country", she thought, "such a change from New York. We really should come out here more often. Too bad we don't get much vacation time." As it was, they had only three days remaining in their visit; then it would be back to the lunatic hustle and bustle of the city again. The country was beautiful, the rest it offered a godsend. Pity it had to be over so soon.
She had dreamed again.
It had been the same dream: she was in a dark room, half asleep. The man had come again, merely a face levitating in the darkness, whispering. She could never make out the words; but the tone was always soft, soothing. Too soothing; sometimes she feared it would put her wholly to sleep, and she was sure that if she did, she would never awake. She gently pushed him away--he did have a body, hidden in the murkiness--and then she had woken up.
What did it mean? Who was the man? He was noone she knew. Or was it? it was so hard to tell....
Matt gazed wearily down at his sister's violin before him. He had studying it for hours, looking up everything he could about violins and fiddles, cellos and composers; he nearly had enough information for his music report now. It had been ^really^ nice of Claire to loan him her very own instrument to show the class during his presentation this Friday, especially considering how much she loved the instrument.
As he looked at the violin, he wondered what it would be like to actually play it. He hadn't tried before now. It suddenly seemed silly to have the thing in front of him, to have been studying the instrument and its music for so long, and still have no idea how to use it.
Claire was a fantastic player herself--she was in the orchestra, and played it all the time at home, too. Sometimes, while she was playing, you could feel your heart jumping and buzzing to the bumps and slides of the melody; Matt had even seen her bring other listeners to tears. He had never really thought twice about it; music was music, and it sounded nice, but it was never worth crying over that he saw.
But now he had the violin in front of him, knew every little detail by heart--except how to play. What would it be like, to play it? It seemed so difficult, yet his sister made it seem so easy. He snickered at the thought that HE could ever bring anyone to tears with it; but still....
Claire would be coming home in an hour; maybe he could ask for lessons, sometime...
Margaret would say, I've been spacing all week. Certainly I haven't been able to concentrate, in Shakespeare class or anywhere else. Mum's letter, which arrived last Tuesday before English class, has been on my mind, and Mum herself has been inmy eyes and hands and breath. Wednesday was raining, and Ithought probably snowing at home. That would mean all threestoves going, precious wood used, but nevertheless cheerfulnesskept coming back to me. I don't know how she does it. Five daysa week, six if she can get the extra dayÑ weekends pay more.Sundays were always precious to her, but getting through thewinter without borrowing any more would of course be herpriority. One doesn't even ask questions; things fall into place,if she if I can just keep going. Cymbeline might be significantand all, and I'm sure the coast of Wales has a gender, but I wasthinking about Dad filling pots of water on the stove so shecould have a bath, I was thinking of six o'clock and the freezingdarkness not even cracked yet, let alone begun to thaw, as shewould get herself out of bed and into the kitchen, cup of tea,and begin sorting eggs. Cracks; to be washed- which doesn't meanthey're dirty, it only means there's a little bit of chicken shitor sawdust or a speck of blood that won't come off under herfingernail-;clean already, into the boxes label cross out theGrand Union egg carton twenty-four dozen for the coop, anotherninety three dollars to buy gas for the car and toilet paper andmatches and butter and coffee and oats to make bread- maybetwenty toward the electricity bill so it doesn't get turned off.The nice thing about not having any gas, you don't have to worryabout this month's bill 'till they turn it on again. Ten forchick grain, and Dad's gloves are worn out he'll have to gethimself some new ones Monday. Ten for tampons, damn expensive,they shouldn't have sales tax on something like that.
I went home after class and made tea, and when Margaret showedup half an hour later I was still sitting there staring out thewindow, just like mum does, gathering strength to deal with aworld that just goes on because that's what there is to do, onedoesn't even ask, one trusts and keeps going, finding love whereone can. Later I cried, let that love and the pain I know forbeing here flood out into Margaret's lap, just an overflow ofemotion. But the strong knowing part, the mum in me just keepson.
"You can go get it after Meeting".
Tom's inaudible whisper was nevertheless audible in Michael's ear, the warm waves of his breath tickling as they stirred his hair, and he almost giggled, before he remembered and was able to contain himself. Tom had said many times, you can always laugh or talk in side if you need to. But Meeting is a place to be quiet, and listen, and if you're meant to speak you'll know.
Michael had a few times not been sure if he was meant to speak. This time he had really wanted to. The stuffed hedgehog which had been his teddy bear since he was born was frightened, he was sure, to find itself suddenly in the empty dark of the First Day School room, with the kids and teachers all gone down to join the grownups for the last fifteen minutes of meeting. But Tom said no, Hedgie would be all right until meeting was over. Hedgie knew that Michael would come back to get him.
Matt stared at the beautiful rich red brown of the wood, gleaming in late afternoon sun, and the words rang over and over again in his ears. He couldn't even hear the echo of a tune Sam had played, no matter how hard he concentrated. He closed his eyes as tears squeezed through the lids and began to run cool down his hot cheeks. Why couldn't he just have that one memory? The most beautiful part of his friend, everyone knew that Sam played the violin, and well too, and here it had been given to him- he wasn't even sure if he wanted it. If he couldn't remember any of Sam's music, what was the point?
Suddenly Matt remembered Mrs. Elwell at the market last saturday. "The world will turn itself right way out again, honey. Just give it a little while." Her big soft hug, her smokey perfume that smelled like nursery school still-- she had been his favorite teacher. That was where he had first met Sam.
Suddenly Matt opened his eyes and looked again at the violin. He picked it up, picturing to himself just how Sam had held it, carelessly but also lovingly, assured of the beauty and his ability to make it sing.
Suddenly Matt for all the world just wanted to be able to pour out all his sadness and loneliness and confusion and all the feelings that were so tangled up he couldn't even name them, to make them into music, into a song. He could remember Sam and his playing through finding it on the violin, he knew, if he could just learn how the fingers went, how to dance with the bow... He could learn to play the violin. That would be his gift for Sam, and for himself too. That would help turn the world right way out again.