It turned out to be a relatively calm weekend -- the only sounds coming from the apartment were chords, octaves and contrapuntal stylings as I listened over and over again to the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt and Chopin's Nocturnes.
I took notes and I made a list of vignettes I need to cover.
I also ate too much -- I do hope NaNO offers a special post-NaNO diet!
They forgot to mention that if you are on a quest for 50,000 words you might also put on 50,000 pounds and while I may be underachieving on the former, I assure you, I'll place first in the latter.
So, I added about 1,130 words to my counter and am about to write more, it now being mid-morning.
In the meantime, here's the weekend's draft:
THE SCARF DANCE Copyright 2010 Carol Krenz All Rights Reserved
Early Monday brought a hoar frost that coated branches, leaves, petals and shrubs. Berlin was caught in a shimmering diorama – but it was temporary, for the sun was strong and rising fast.
As she circled the corner of the Lennestrasse, Anna noticed Ariel standing in the street by No. 41, a cape and muffler about his shoulders. He had just lit a cigarette when he spotted her.
She waved and hurried toward him.
"Ach, sieh an, Rotkäppchen.” He smiled as he appraised her long hooded cloak and the basket over her arm. “And what goodies are we taking to grandmama?”
“I made some rugelach last night.”
“I do. And I made these for you but I didn’t know what flavour you like, so I made apricot, raspberry and chocolate.”
He was peeking under the cloth. “Since when do you bake? And why?”
“When I was a little girl, I started. I liked it so much, I continued.”
“May I?” Without waiting for an answer, he helped himself. “Delicious. What an intriguing girl you are. Let’s take them with us.”
“Where are we going?”
“Are you dressed warmly? I thought we’d stroll over to the Tier.”
He took the basket from her and steered her by the elbow. “Are you sure you’re warm enough?”
They made their way to the Unter den Linden passing workmen in peaked caps who were drinking hard spirits at the sausage stands and reading their morning papers.
As the linden trees were still veiled in sparkling frost, they decided to stop there instead and admire the view. They found a bench and placed the basket between them.
“Funny,” he said, as he lay it down, “I just thought of poor Helga.”
“Oh? What’s wrong with Helga?
“She’s well enough, but do you know there is no dumb waiter on the third floor?
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
“It only goes to the second – the music room was meant for servants quarters. Helga spends all her time carrying trays up from the second floor and down again. It’s mostly my fault. I prefer to practice upstairs and take my meals there, too. Perhaps, I feel closer to the angels.” His eyes twinkled.
“And the Kapellmeister? Don’t you ever eat together in the dining room?”
“Our schedules rarely coincide. When they do, yes, he coaxes me down from my aviary like a partridge from a pear tree.”
They reached into the basket together and she caught a hint of his toilet water, citrus, lavender and mint. Her cheeks burned.
“Chocolate,” he said.
“I beg your—”
“You wondered what my favourite flavour was. Definitely chocolate. And apricot if you have no chocolate.”
“I see.” She brushed non-existent crumbs from her lap.
They sat in silence for a few moments listening to the tittering of birds.
“Anna, I wanted to tell you that you play beautifully. Your intuitive style is a rare gift, and in this case, the challenge of both Liszt and Chopin will be a coup. I think the Kapellmeister is very sly. He is asking you to use your intellect when you approach Liszt and then your emotions for Chopin. So—we work on the externals, yes? The techniques, the pedal, the arpeggios, and we work on the internals. Your confidence, your motivations and your passions. And so, I was wondering if you could tell me…I mean I know nothing about you…what I mean to ask is, have you ever been in love?”
“No,” she laughed. “Have you?”
“Do you mean that mad, crazy love when you think you will die if you can’t be with that person?”
She nodded, feeling her cheeks burn again.
“Yes,” he said.
“I shouldn’t wonder. I mean you are older, and you are a man…”
“She was so beautiful, Anna. She floated, rather then walked, and when she kissed me, I thought I had gone to heaven. I was mad for her, I wanted to possess her, hold her, marry her.”
“I’m sure you have heard all those wicked tales about governesses who sneak into young men’s rooms at night?”
“It was your governess?”
“Yes. Her name was Trude. She was twenty-one and I was four. She broke my heart.” He laughed.
“You think you are so clever.” But, she laughed, too. “So, in other words, you have never been in love?”
“No. Never. I’ve come close, though.”
“And you think I need some experience of love for the Chopin, don’t you?”
His expression grew thoughtful. “Yes, Anna, if I am to be honest, yes, I think you do.”
“Well, if I tell you something silly, will you promise not to laugh?”
“When I was a little girl, maybe five or six, I went to the Zoo one day with Mimi and there we saw a magnificent lion and his mate. It was, for me, love at first sight, such was his beauty and the way his proud eyes looked at me. And, then I noticed one of his ears had a tear in it, so I asked Mimi why, and she said he had probably been in a fierce battle and had come out the victor.
“It was a very, very hot day and I remember Mimi was holding a handkerchief to her nose because of the smell. And, so we did not stay long with the lions. And later that night, when I said my prayers, I prayed especially for him.”
She knew Ariel was staring intently at her now, she knew her voice had changed, had gone far away.
“And then what happened?”
“We left the next morning for a hunting lodge because Papa was worried about typhus coming to the city. So, off we went to Wannsee and then, well, it was a long time before I returned to see my lion. How I longed to see him! And do you know…he was gone. His mate recognized me, but he was nowhere to be seen. So, Mimi asked one of the zookeepers about him, Herr Zellner, his name was, and he complained about bad specimens—”
She broke off, unable to speak further. She turned away from him and began to sob. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry—I haven’t thought about him in so long.”
He reached for her shoulder and she felt electric sparks shoot through it. “How awful for you. Such a sad story.”
She turned back to him. “Yes, it really was.” And then she looked into his eyes and saw his compassion and something stirred in her. “Do you think I am ready to play the Nocturnes now?”
“Yes,” he whispered. He wiped away her tears, stroked her cheeks, and kissed
her mouth gently, his breath so warm, she felt the frost melting above them.