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We have no power over ourselves

And our hasty youthful vows

Sound comical to the Omniscient Fate.

Evgenii Baratinsky

   To Arianna Z.
   Do you remember how I was dressed that evening?
   Of course I remember. I remember everything. Besides, I have heard this question already ten times.
   I chose for that evening the long white dress with lace on the sleeves. A thin red belt underlined my waist. Hair piled high and high heels made me taller. I could feel how men looked at me...
   A modest black dress. A cello with a long needle for support. A tiny purse under the chair. A disobedient lock of hair on the forehead.
   Schubert always inspired me. He is my idol, always happy, always sunny and golden. Pity that your taste dies with Vivaldi. Our choir was amazing, right?
   And so was the orchestra. Rivalry of fiddles and cellos for fame. Groaning of oboes and trombones somewhere behind. Fight of the conductor with a horde of witches.
   I noticed you at once in the second row. White head-cover and church music. This was unusual. I saw that you were embarrassed to look at me so often and I appreciated it very much...
   One. Her little finger jumps a few frets up. A bow delicately cut the throat of the dreaming cello. Two. The sharp needle of the cello waltzes to a new place. A stubborn lock of hair sneaks back on the forehead. Three...
   When our eyes met for the third time I suddenly realized that it was you, that I was there only for your sake, that I sang for you. You remember that place in Et incarnatus est when voices of the soloists argue. I was eloquent, wasn't I? Do you remember how the conductor kissed my hand after the concert?
   A big black case for the cello. A purse over the shoulder. A tired smile to a short fat man behind a double bass. A victory over a withered lock of hair on the forehead.
   The end of the concert interrupted me as if on the half-word but I was sure that I convinced you. When I saw your flowers after the concert I already knew what would happen in a few months...
   Poor light near the entrance. A bouquet of hyacinths in my right hand. A long ugly shadow before me. A kiss. A happy whisper. A laughter. A rustle of the departing car.
   Please, my dear, one more glass. You always buy this strange red wine for our anniversaries...
   Closed door of the restaurant. A big bribe to a janitor. A huge empty hall and a green squared bottle with a romantic Italian landscape on its neck. A needless bouquet on my lap.
   Do you remember...?
   Well, I do. That up-turned nose, those little fingers, that tiny purse on the shoulder. For G-d's sake, why?!

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