You may have noticed the great pleasure I take in finding classical music references in books, especially when they’re not ostensibly about classical music. You probably haven’t noticed my undying devotion to author Peter S. Beagle (don’t feel bad; you didn’t notice because I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it before). He is most well-known for the masterpiece that is The Last Unicorn, but it is his first novel that is my favorite – A Fine and Private Place. It contains this passage:
He decided to tell them about the girl. If he could remember. He would have to speak carefully.
“Once I went somewhere with a girl, when I was a long time younger. It was in the evening. I don’t remember where we went, but I know that other people were there too. And somehow we were alone, this girl and I, in a very big room with a high roof and no chairs. We could hear the other people in the next room.”
You sound like an old man telling the only dirty story he knows. Put in the cello quickly, because the story is really about the cello and not about you.
“There was a cello leaning against the wall. It looked old, and one of the strings was missing. But we went over to it, and we touched it and picked out tunes on the three strings. Once in a while we would look at each other and smile, and once our hands touched when we were both playing the cello at the same time. We stayed there for a long while, telling each other jokes in an Irish brogue, and plucking the strings of the cello. Then some other people began to come into the room, and we went outside on a terrace….
“In the moment that the girl and I stood in the room, playing the cello and making jokes, we loved each other as much as we ever could have. When we went out into the garden it was not the same thing. And after a while we went away from each other, because both of us knew that it could never be as good again as it had been in the room with the cello. We had spent all our love in those few minutes, and what came after that was only remembering and trying to make it the way it was before.”
No doubt you now feel the urge to read this book immediately. Succumb and thank me later.