“Music should strike fire from the heart of man,
and bring tears form the eyes of woman.”

“No, no no! Agen agen!” he spat in a thick Russian accent, fist pounding upon the piano’s lid to punctuate each word. Katarina cringed as the prelude ground to a halt. Gently, she lifted her fingers from the keys- surely they were grinning at her- and placed her hands upon her lap.
Outside, the winter snow fell relentlessly. Although bothersome for hands requiring warmth, the simple and dainty flakes through the window provided a space for her eyes to momentarily rest. Containing an exasperated sigh, she swiveled on the stool, head hanging low.

“Let me see face” he began again, an aftershave more expensive than his suit masking the smell of his breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Katarina raised an eyebrow. “No good, Sir?”
“No. This will not do” he gave a calculating glance. “You know this.”
“Then what must I do?”
“Smoothen! Thumb is the anchor! Make it… smooth, rubious. Like Diana’s lips. Agen!”

Nodding and swiveling once more, she lifted her hands to the keys, positioning her shoulders to aid in a great down force, a warm and rounded tone.
“No, no no!”
Katarina’s hands fell into her lap once more, interrupted mid-pounce.
“Be you my eunuch?” he cackled, pounding the upright’s lid yet again with his bestial hands, overwhelmed by hilarity.
“What was wrong, Sir?”
“Too much force. You have the touch of a man.”
She reddened. “The marking above the chord states”-
“What it is, is not for you. It is…” he fumbled through a mental stock of English terms, “…inappropriate, for small girl” he waggled a sausage at her to complete his statement. “Too forceful. You must be gentle, good, kind.”

Latching onto the thought, she hung in a moment of consideration, yet again drawn to the scene outside: one by one, flakes of snow had powdered the roofs of building. Trees frosted in white stood as complex crystal structures, or as strange corals, lining the main street as though a great hand had sketched them out in white ink. Somewhere, a clock tower chimed.

“You are connected to music, no?” her teacher spoke.
“Very much.”
“And you wish for audience to, eh, respond?”
“Yes?” She gave a quizzical expression.
“They hear this music, but they see you. You must bring this prelude to them.” He took a moment to fumble through a bank of vocabulary. “You wish to connect the music to you and to them. So you must be… a link. To give yourself to them, through music. But you cannot do this if you are not the music. This prelude? It is not for you. You must be gentle. You must be snow, not ice. Breeze, not blizzard.”
“Do you mean to make me ignore what has been written?” Katarina almost hissed at the overturning of such integrity.
“No, but yes. It was never for you. Now, agen!”



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