She arrived at rehearsal that winter evening to find behind the podium a young man in baggy slacks and a boxy tweed jacket. This was Remy’s final semester at the conservatory; she was twenty-two years old and still one seat away from first chair. The man said nothing as the other students trickled in, just nodded “hello” and waited for them to assemble themselves and their instruments. The air was so dry, the clasps of Remy’s violin case shocked her fingertips. She glanced at the man, whose face seemed to be trying to say that nothing unusual was happening, no, not at all.
In was 1987, a Sunday. A room full of students not quite recovered from the weekend’s parties and performances and one-night stands. Their regular conductor, Mr. Bergman, was a short, lisping man with rolled-up pant cuffs; everyone looked at this new one in a tired, questioning way. His skin was fair, and his dark hair flopped at a slant across his forehead. There was something angular about his face, with its defined cheekbones and elegantly bony nose. Remy tucked her violin up under her chin and tested the strings, enjoying the sensation of each one, with the slight turn of a peg, slipping into tune.
- Daphne Kalotay
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