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Gertrude’s Violin

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posted on Apr, 25 2015 @ 08:25 PM
I want to tell you a story that happened quite recently. I don’t expect that you will believe everything that I’m telling you, but if you can make it to the end, you’ll see why I deemed this to be a twice-told tale. You might also want to bring the tissues, for seldom in today’s world do you ever hear of something so touching that the dead themselves weep with happiness.

My tale starts about 20 years ago. At the time, I was visiting a small village called Sekelp; a rather tiny coastal town – don’t suppose you have heard of it much in the news, unless it was about the cave drawings and the mysterious disappearance of some young adults. In the town’s rather large cemetery, I had some relatives buried there, and, finding that I had some free time away from my work, I figured it would be worth the trip. As per Sekelp’s policy, all parks and cemeteries were allowed to stay open until the sun sets – They figured it would encourage people to stay outdoors longer. So, after booking a room at a rather cozy inn, I headed over to the cemetery.

My aunt and uncle, who died some time ago, were buried towards the back of the cemetery. Tall evergreens and willows in this part blocked out most of the little noise that the town generated - This plays a role later, which lends credit to what I witnessed. I sometimes came to this spot often as a kid, because I could sit here for hours enjoying the quiet. Today, however, I was puzzled to see an old man sitting on my favorite bench. As I drew near, I could see tears rolling down his aging cheeks. He looked up, sniffled, and we exchanged pleasantries and started to talk. I learned that his name was Wallace, and has lived in this town ever since he was born. When I asked why he was crying, he responded with the below tale.

“Well, you know already that my name is Wallace – My parents moved to this tiny little town just slightly before I was born. When I came into this world, my first view was that of the sea, from our bay window. I used to spend hours in front of it, just staring, imagining, and sometimes drawing what I saw there. I guess you could say I had a deep connection with everything around me.

I first saw her when I was 8 years old. She was wearing a pretty little blue outfit, with a pink ribbon in her golden hair…typical of the time period. I still remember her shyly coming up to me and saying, with the tender girly-ness, that her name was Gertrude. Her parents, seeing us together, went out and met mine and me. From that moment on, we were inseparable: Wherever she or I went, the other was there to watch over and protect.

Well, when middle-school came around, we parted paths slightly – I chose to take up the band side of the scale, and learned to play the cornet. She, however, fell in love with the sweet sound of a 5-stringed violin, and refused to part ways with it. We both were experts at our talents, but Gertrude always excelled where no other could. There was nothing she couldn’t play.

I suppose it wasn’t a surprise that in high school, I asked her out officially – we were practically married at that point, and the violin became an unofficial member of the family. It’s all coming back so quickly…”

He stopped to blow his nose, and with a brief catching of the breath, continued:

“It was also no surprise that she was offered a position in a paid orchestra – she couldn’t have been any happier. For both of us, it was the greatest thing in the world – the only downside was that the commute was slow going there and back. That settled the score, and I began to plan up a marriage proposal in the most unusual fashion: A Trumpet and Violin duet, the uniting of two instruments…Sadly, I never finished it”

He coughed again. Harder.

“I got the news late at night – it was storming somewhat fierce, with snow and wind creating havoc on the roads. She didn’t come in at her usual time, and I figured with the weather, she probably stayed overnight to avoid the hassle. I heard a knock at the door, and upon opening it, instead of my fair Gertrude was a policeman. ‘You Wallace?’ he enquired, and upon me inviting him in, his shoulders sank, cap off, and shook his head, eyes close to breaking out in tears. He proceeded to tell me that 4 hours ago, Gertrude was traveling home because she forgot her violin for practice – the snow blinded another driver, who then t-boned her. She dies peacefully, I was told, and never knew what hit her. Her mother wanted to see me immediately, which is why the policeman was here to take me to her.

Upon entering her mom’s house, I cannot describe the amount of emotions flowing through either of us: Anger at the driver that took her, the snow that blinded him, the sorrow and loss of losing a daughter and a wife to be, and worst of all: Never hearing that sweet, heavenly music that was always so prevalent around the place.

She bid me take whatever I wanted to remember her by – and something…no, some willpower apart from my own was directed to her violin. Her mom smiled amidst tears, and opened a compartment on the case. I recognized the note as one I wrote to Gertrude when she first started playing – it said simply: ‘Remember me when you play, and I shall be there to see it’.

Well, as luck would have it, over the next couple years, I took up playing the violin, each time, I thought of her. When I got better, I was given her old spot on the orchestra, and somehow, I was asked to do an improve solo at the next concert”.

He cried a little, sniveled, and went on.

“The concert was what Gertrude wanted to do most, and she died before she managed to make it to her first one ever. I was nervous, of course (who isn’t when they do a solo). It was time: The lights dimmed, a single light shone upon me, and I was about to run off stage, when I heard the words ‘Remember me when you play, and I shall be there to see it’. I choked the fear back, and focused on Gertrude. You remember the song known as the ‘Unfinished God’s Symphony’…The one that was only played once?”

Surprisingly, I did hear about it – Wait…Wallace was the performer!? I eagerly nodded.

Part 2 Below
edit on 25/4/2015 by fossilera because: Removed warning about this being two parts - because no-one commented yet.

edit on 25/4/2015 by fossilera because: grammar again.

posted on Apr, 25 2015 @ 08:28 PM

“They say that some of the greatest musicians made a deal with the Devil to become experts on their music. I think what more likely happened is they made a pact with their instrument, poured some of their soul into it, and made the instrument part of themselves. My 20 some odd years of knowing Gertrude poured into my memory, and the damned violin, forgot that I was not her, responded as if I was her.

On we went, singing over the high note valleys of our youth, playing tag with the quickening heartbeats of the violin’s pulse. And slowing down and building vibrato on our first kiss – the Devil himself, if not God already, were probably listening in awe – I remember nothing of the playing, only that every memory I had of Gertrude was being translated into music; her soul, long trapped with the violin, was being unleashed. With a mounting crescendo, I knew the end was near. It was then that three things simultaneously happened: The crowd jumped to their feet, crying and laughing with joy. The violin, sensing that its greatest achievement was accomplished, broke in my hands – the 7 pieces falling gently at my feet, much to my astonished eyes. But the final piece, that I will swear actually happened, even though no one will admit it, was that in the center of the aisle, outlined by the glowing of the spotlight, was a vibrant figure made of the purest light I could see. She was crying, smiling, and laughing in her typical laugh – Gertrude! My fairest lady! I don’t remember much after, only remember being in a state of shock, picking up the violin pieces, and going home.”

He smiled at me, a warm, smile that only hinted at his final memory.

“And, so you ask how I came to be here. Well, I decided that the breaking of the violin meant its journey had been accomplished. Because I am superstitious, and remember the old tales about heretics being chopped to pieces so that their souls can never rest, I came back here, and buried her broken violin with her. I come here to remember her, and it is here that I can sometimes hear her playing from Heaven itself”.

Because dusk was closing in quick, we both made our somewhat hasty Goodbyes: I left, he said he would stay for a bit longer. I found out the next day that the old man was discovered on the same bench, dead from a broken heart, but with a peaceful, content smile on his face (he was 80, so it wasn’t too unusual). However, I didn’t tell anyone this because to the police that interviewed me, I’m sure it would sound entirely mad. As I left that night, I’ll swear to God that I heard the sound of a violin, the aire wafting gently on the breeze. And I will also swear that the bold sound of a cornet blended in to join it!

There you all go, another story based off of a daydream.

edit on 25/4/2015 by fossilera because: grammar

posted on Apr, 25 2015 @ 09:50 PM
Wonderful and touching story Foss! Loved this!!

posted on Apr, 25 2015 @ 10:36 PM
a reply to: fossilera

Foss! This is quite the display of the Best WordSmithing I have seen in quite some time! Awesome Story Man!! Awesome Totally Indeed!!

posted on Apr, 25 2015 @ 10:43 PM
a reply to: fossilera

Wow, really impressive writing. Just beautiful!

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