The Last Symphony

In the 18th century France, there lived a man named Alfred Lachance. He was born in a town called L orient, which is located on the right bank of Scorff River at its juncture with the Blavet River at the Bay of Biscay.  Since the time of Louis XIV, this town had gained a trade with the far east and hence it was named L’orient.  It had a number of ports built for the convenience of the traders as well as the sailors. The town’s main industries were fishing, textile export, furniture, and shipping. The town exported seafood to Bordeaux and Paris. Alfred was born in the house of a man named Marcel Lachance. He was a well off carpenter in the town and was adept in his work. His wife’s name was Abelle. She was a fine woman, pure and strong at heart but weak by the body. She had suffered from a strange disease, which disabled her body to accumulate much fat. Hence, she was skinny and bonny since childhood. She was married to Marcel when she was 17 and gave birth to Alfred at the age of 26. It happened late because of her weak body but strong will and belief on herself. She wanted a child and she had it. She started growing weaker after the birth of his first son and hence, the couple decided not to grow their family anymore. Not that Marcel could not enjoy sex anymore. He could make love to her but decided to subside only with the physical pleasures that it had to offer. They were very happy with their little Alfred. She took great care of him and made sure that he grew into a fine and strong person not just by physique but also at heart. She had a habit of humming like a bee while she went on with her daily work. While little Alfred would sit and listen to her sweet voice losing himself to the tranquillity it produced around him. When he grew a little old, he started learning the art of making furniture from his father. In addition, as years passed by, Alfred matured into a young lad equipped with all the skills of building furniture. His father had taught him well and in the process had grown old. Other than furniture, Alfred had developed a little interest in music, thanks to his mother’s humming.  He would go to the church and listen to the choirs and other religious songs sung by the local group. He didn’t care about the songs but the melodies, which played in the background. He would often look at the guitar player or the pianist and imagine himself playing flawlessly like them. He would lose himself and remain lost in his symphonic imaginations until he reached home and confronted the reality that he was a carpenter and could never be anything more than that. Moreover, how could he, he was trained to be a carpenter and his father had spent his life passing his talent to him. He would then console his heart that those were mere trifles and far away from the truth. Days passed as he continued making fine furniture for his customers.

As a carpenter, he was very well known among his customers. They always adored and appreciated his work with extra tips. One day he returned home from his work and he saw his father in a withered condition. He was lying on the bed with his mother sitting beside him. She told him that he had caught fever and was shivering since the evening. She had gone to call the doctor but he was not there. The doctor’s servant told her that he would send him as soon as he got there. However, he had not come till now. Alfred told her that he would go and check once again but his father stopped him. He called him near the bed and told him that his time had come and now, Alfred should better get married and have a family. Abelle had also grown old now, and she needed to be taken care of.  That night Alfred sat besides his father’s bed thinking upon the matter. In the morning, he saw his father’s dead body. The soul had left the body in the night leaving Alfred and Abelle alone.  He performed the cremation of his father and went straight to his shop. He sat there all day in solitude, remembering the past with his father and dreaming the future without him. He was occupied with his thoughts when he heard a knock at his door. He wondered who is knocking at his door even after seeing the closed sign. He walked to the door and opened it. A lady stood in front of his house with a violin case in her hand. He looked at her in a manner of doubt and the amazement and then told her that his shop was closed for the day and she could come tomorrow.  She replied in an urgent tone that it was very important for her to get her violin fixed before tomorrow morning, for she had to attend an audition. Therefore, she asked him, if he could help her. She added that she was ready to pay double the cost and it shall not take a very long. He stared at her in silence and then agreed. He let her inside and asked her for her violin after offering her a chair to sit. She took out a violin with broken strings and the completely damaged bow. She asked him to replace the strings and make her a new bow. He looked at the instrument then replied that he was afraid he didn’t have all the necessary items required to repair the violin. She told him that she had the strings for the violin and the bow. He was required to fix the string and make her a new bow and with the new strings. He agreed. He told her to go and come back in the morning to collect. However, she refused to go and told him that she would sit there and guide him with his work. Alfred liked the idea and he was alone too after all. He believed, some company and work might help him overcome the pain and sorrow a little. By the next hour, the violin and the bow were ready. She asked him, she should pay him. He refused to take money from her, instead asked her to play something for him. She agreed to play for him but only if he accepted the pay for his labour. Considering it a fair deal, he told her to first play for him and then he would take the money from her. Accepting this offer, she sat on the chair and placing the violin on her shoulder, perfected her posture. Then she closed her eyes and began playing the instrument with such emotion as if she could feel the melody in her heart. Her every move was more than precise and every tone more than perfect. To him she felt like a fairy or those other worldly beings, which belonged to heaven. Her body moved and gyrated with the symphony like it was driving in her veins and the whole body. He could witness her soul losing itself to the music and him, losing to her. He felt as if he was slowly drawn into another world with no pain, sorrow, worries, past or future. It was timeless, pure, and musical. By the time she finished, he had become her disciple and she was his angel. He was captured by the charm of her music and herself. She remained seated on the chair for a while looking at him as he too gazed at her in admiration. The silence and his gaze were making her a little uncomfortable. Breaking the silence, she asked him if he liked it. He replied that it was stupendous and he had never listened to anyone play like a goddess before her. She blushed and then asked him about his payment. He replied that he could not accept any money from her. In fact, he was thankful to her and ready to pay anything that she asked. She smiled and thanked him for being so generous but still she could not leave the place without paying anything for his services. She also reminded him about her deal and his offer. Losing to her charm, he accepted the money and told her that he would be delighted to see her again. She thanked him and promised that she also expected the same. He wished her luck for her audition and then bid goodbye. In the next moment, she got into a cab and went away. As he turned towards his shop and went inside closing the door, a fact suddenly hit him, he had neither to ask her name or her address. Fool, he thought to himself, how he was going to meet her and admire her beauty again. Will, he get another chance or would he have to suffice with this one meeting. His mind and soul were caught n a whirl wind of questions and doubts. Thinking about her serene figure playing the violin, he went home, ate supper, and with the same thought closed his eyes to bed.

Next morning he woke was woken up by his mother and was startled to see that he had slept through the morning and it was late afternoon now. He got up and then ate the pie his mother had cooked for him. Then he was reminded of his birthday. He freshened up and ate his birthday pie with his mother, but all the while, he was thinking about that nameless angel. Noticing, his anxiousness his mother asked him, if something bothered him. He told her that his head felt a little heavy, may be due to his long sleep, other than that he was fine. He left the house, went to a music store, and bought some strings. He then walked to his shop and sat down to make a violin for her, hoping that she might return after her audition. He wanted to express his emotions through the violin that he was now making just for her to know, how much he had admired her pure soul. After a few hours of work, he was ready with one of the most beautiful violin anyone would have seen in his or her life. The violin looked simply marvellous but it waited for its true owner, the angel. He waited for her all through the evening, and he realised that the day had passed, the sun sharing its light with the other half of the world when he heard the toll of the bell at midnight. He looked towards the door shut, with a hope that someone would knock on it and it would be open with delight. However, none came and the door remained shut. He looked outside the window and he could see the moon shining pale and hazy on the winter sky. He stood up, went to window, and opened it. A cool breeze blew outside dragging withered leaves to their graves. He looked back at the violin kept on the table. He could think of her no more, he could not imagine her face or the symphony she had played. His mind was blank with his eyes staring at the violin. He went to the table and held the violin in his hand. He then tried to sit like her, in the perfect position. He closed his eyes and found that he could see her sitting on the chair with the violin in hand in that same flawless position, ready to play the melodies of heaven. As he could see her, he too sat in the perfect position, just like her. Then they both took a deep breath and began playing the symphony together. He played alone but with his angel. He played for none but the moon heard it and the stars witnessed it. He played through the night and into the dawn. He played till the sun could hear him, he played till his hands had no strength to move anymore, and he played till he couldn’t play anymore. It was 7 in the morning and he was still playing lost in her thoughts and the melody he was playing, his mind and heart at peace and undisturbed, rejoined and rejoicing with his angel.  Suddenly, he heard a knock on the door, stopped, his violin fell from his hand and with it he too. He was conscious but he could not move his right half of the body. The person outside knocked on the door for some time and then he heard the voice of a girl, calling out a name, Maria. On which the person left the door and went away. He could neither feel his body nor could he hear anything. His eyes were open but he could not see the person at the door. May be it was her.  He just had a name, Maria. He recalled it again in his mind and closed his eyes on the floor. He could still see her, playing that symphony from heaven towards which he was now treading. He saw her till he could see her and lost himself to that last symphony of her.

[For the reader and whom it may concern, it was later found that a dead body was found inside of a furniture shop, whose name was Alfred Lachance. The doctors believed he died of paralysis and eventual heart attack. His mother Abelle still lived for ten more years and then, she too vanished from the face of earth without any remembrance. The above facts are taken, from a newspaper; however, i do not take the authority of the truth of these facts.]

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