2004-12-15 - 3:06 a.m.

Grape Lucidity
Chapter 9 Grissom was aware of the wetness on his cheeks, the raw paths that his tears made, but he made no attempt to remove them. He had chosen this corner balcony of Jordan Hall for exactly the purpose of solitude. A Saturday rehearsal of the Boston Philharmonic drew a small crowd of blue hairs and they stayed mostly on the floor. Had anyone been able to see him they might have thought he misunderstood the music. Not that it was unusual to be moved to tears by Tchaikovsky’s 9th Symphony, titled by his brother as “Pathetique”. The first movement after all is filled with a death motif, downward scales winning out over the up scales nearly every time. His tears started with the graceful introduction of the second movement. He knew what was to come. The second contained promise that would not be fulfilled, Tchaikovsky knew it, but still expressed the finery of proffered love from unfettered youth. By the time the third movement begins, ending the smooth waltz of the third and replacing it with something you can’t put your finger on Grissom was in full sob. The third movement struck him right in the chest, commiserating with Tchaikovsky’s desperation at feeling too old and being discovered as having fallen in love with the wrong person. He could hear himself, the steady but joyless pounding beat and her, the almost unbearable lightness, Sara played out in wispy strings. Together they seemed mute, tonally canceling each other out instead of complimenting. His tears had dried by the time the audio fireworks hit. He pictured Tchaikovsky, finally giving in to his carnal desires, the explosions of lust so long denied. It was seconds before his mind returned to Sara, standing in front of him, challenging him to let loose a few cannons of his own. He pictured her in the hotel room bed, sleeping, naked, a dark stray hair across her cheek. In his reverie he came out of the shower and instead of the couch knelt above her, straddled and kissed her awake. That was the sum total of the foreplay in this flight of the imagination, they writhed together powerfully and wordlessly but the rhythm wouldn’t even itself and he lost the thread holding the dream together. As the finale of the symphony dies downward he remembered her leaving his room today. Black jeans and a red sweater, embracing her friend, she had introduced him and then wished him a good weekend before heading off. She hadn’t asked his plans, hadn’t invited him to join them, he wouldn’t have. The march in the music returned, darker now and ominous. He took a swipe at the long dried trails of salt down his face and left the hall before the cellos and bass got the last desolate note.

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