Short Story: 'The Violin'
All his days had become indistinguishable. When someone asked him the date yesterday, he couldn’t even remember which month it was. The last three months had been a blur. Not the blur you feel when you’re speeding away, going too fast to see anything clearly. No, it was the blur that you see when you don’t know what you’re seeing, don’t know why you’re being forced to see it; when you can’t stand it, and you zoom out, unfocus, and only pretend to see when you’re merely looking. Many years hence when he looked back at this time in his life, what would he remember? Just a void, a dulled existence, numb to any emotion, incapable of thought and incapacitated for action.
Every day he went to work, worked, returned from work, slept a little, then got up and went back to work again. The hours he kept at work were overwhelming. Add the time for the daily commute, and he was away from home for two-thirds of the day. And it wasn’t much of a home either. It was just a room with a bed and his few possessions; some clothes, the laptop, mobile and iPod. Plus, the violin of course.
He hadn’t pulled it out from under his bed even once in the last three months. There was a time when his day was incomplete if he didn’t play it for at least a couple of hours. It had got him through some difficult times and it had given him company when he was at his loneliest. It had also brought the biggest blessings and the most joyful memories in his life. It had brought her into his life.
When she had left him, suddenly and unavoidably, he had clung to the violin like never before. At first, playing it made him miss her so much that it was unbearable. But he couldn’t stop either. Gradually he accepted that fate, destiny, luck, whatever one may call it, had plans quite different from what he wanted. And there’s nothing to be done but move on and keep faith in the possibility of something good happening again. Maybe they would meet again. In different circumstances, in another world, in another life. Maybe then he wouldn’t hesitate to tell her how he felt till it was too late. Maybe then he wouldn’t disappoint her. And maybe then she wouldn’t break his heart.
It had been many years since then and he had moved on. At least he thought he did. He didn’t think of her for several weeks at a time. That was good, wasn’t it? So what if he had to give up playing the violin because the thought of it scared him. He was scared the music would break the careful bonds he had tied up his emotions in. If he set them free, he knew that they would wreck his life, and he couldn’t allow that to happen.
Today he heard the sound of a violin playing again. For a second he doubted his ears. How could it be? In this place? But it was unmistakable. He made his way through the crowd towards the melancholic broken melody and the unrecognizable tune. He reached the crowded end of the street and there playing the violin was a blind beggar, with an upturned hat filled with coins and notes before him. He stood for a long time trying to control the flood of memories that rose within him.
Finally, he looked up. She was standing beside him, drawn by the music, and back into his life. He looked into her eyes and knew that this time there would be a happily ever after.