story in 456 words
in the light above my son's violin. I am recalling the days I never
heard him practise. Being a CEO, I was busy, away a lot, when I was at
home it was down-time for all three of us. His mother heard him
practise. I wish she was here now. This is his homecoming to Dublin
city; back from conducting his Philharmonic in Budapest. I've been over
there too of course, but this is special.
I am a guest in his hotel room provided by the
concert promoter. My son has brought me my favourite whiskey from Duty
Free. Before leaving the room, I poured as much as would fit into an
empty medicine bottle and nipped it just before taking my seat.
I don't know why I am nervous. Subconsciously I
must be in dread that he'll break a string or something. Not that that
has ever happened when I've been to any performance of his.
After the concert, my son and I share the whiskey
in his room. Neat. We drink it neat. The alcohol is to his tongue what
resin is to the bow. It helps him talk. I get the story about the
American mezzo-soprano I met in Budapest and why they broke up.
"American girls have such high expectations," he says, "expect the
romance to go on forever."
We talk about his mother. We drink to her. I tell
him I love him. "We, protected your hands, your mother and I," I tell
him with a slight slur. My good job meant he didn't need a part time
job in a supermarket, it allowed him time to practise.
I say nothing of the new woman I am 'sort of'
seeing, keep my mobile switched off because she keeps texting. I tried
to make it clear I was in town with my son, that there would be another
time for her, that we are sharing a room. I've half promised to go to
her flat tomorrow before catching the train home to Clonmel. She says
she will ring in sick to the office so that I can come to her. She
sounds pathetic. Meeting my son would take our relationship that next
step I don't know I want to take.
Vittorrio Monti's, Czardas is what he
played tonight and instead of "Cheers" as we clink our glasses, we say
"Czardas" and giggle like girls.
I think of the piano keys my mother
tried to make me play, the smell of my father's breath with porter and
whiskey, the heavy fist of my father upon us when drunk. I never went
too far with either the drink or the music, but thank God my son did
with the music at least.