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<<  -- 2 --  Elizabeth Dobbs    MUSIC


A few minutes past noon, Theresa entered the shop, setting the door chimes jingling, paused to stroke Mandolin and kiss Anton, then disappeared into the stock room with the lunch she'd brought. Anton left the counter and followed her. Today Theresa had brought pasta salad with olives, artichoke hearts, and smoked chicken. She'd made it herself last night. Cooking was Theresa's passion, like music was Anton's. Theresa had purchased the smoked chicken from an excellent deli near their house. While she'd prepared the salad, Anton had sat in the comfortably upholstered rocking chair in the large kitchen, perusing the newspaper and also watching Theresa. There is comfort in watching someone cook food, and Anton had partaken of this comfort just as he now partook of the salad.

'How's work?' Anton asked.

'I started the preliminaries for this summer's visiting lecturer's program,' Theresa said. She ate a forkful of the salad and drank from a bottle of fruit juice. 'I want to get David Deutsch from Oxford to talk about the work he's doing on the quantum computer.'

Anton's eyes caressed her hair, which fell, like fringed silk shot through with silver, just to the bottoms of her shoulder blades. She held it away from her face with an ornate silver clip set with a purple stone. He often marveled that his wife only became more beautiful as the years passed. What had he ever done to deserve such a woman?

'How's Mandolin?' she asked him.

Anton shrugged, making light of it. 'We'll find out today, I hope.'

'Lev called,' Theresa said, then smiled broadly.

'When is he flying in?'

'Not until late Thursday night. He's staying at MTT's house that night, then he'll be in intensive rehearsals with the symphony.'


'Michael Tilson Thomas, the music director of the San Francisco Symphony. Lev says MTT is the brand under which Thomas' publicist is packaging him.'

Lev, now thirty years old, was a world renowned concert violinist. Anton couldn't fathom the accident of nature or act of God that had put so much music into the heart of his son. The rearing of this child had been a frightening responsibility. Anton and Theresa were never sure of their methods. During Lev's childhood years it seemed as if the three of them were teetering on the precarious edge of something that could be magnificent or perhaps terrible. Anton and Theresa had tried to help Lev develop his gifts, encouraging him, but not pushing too hard, holding him back a bit, but not too much. Had they succeeded, Anton wondered, or had he failed Lev in some way that had not yet come to light?

After finishing lunch, Anton and Theresa unearthed the cat carrier from a pile of boxes in the stock room. Theresa held the door of the carrier open while Anton tried to put Mandolin inside. Her tail puffed and she threw her legs wide so she wouldn't fit through the door. Finally Anton held her up by the scruff of her neck and she drew her limbs in, responding to some kitten memory of being carried that way by her mother. Theresa tipped the carrier on end so that Anton could lower her inside.

'We're off,' he said jauntily, taking the cat carrier to his car. Mandolin voiced her annoyance as he placed the carrier on the back seat. Anton started the car but was reluctant to pull into traffic and drive towards the veterinarian's office. He fiddled with the radio, tuning into a talk show.

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Copyright © 8 June 2003 Elizabeth Dobbs, USA


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