I move the music stand into the dining room not far from the wall heater. The nights have been cold, the air with an almost miraculous clarity. Bronze sunlight with no discernible warmth slips through the bare branches of the apple tree and puts a plank across the table. I’m playing, trying to, De Colores for the twenty-eighth time. “Persist,” Marta said after my last lesson. I persist in getting to the same measure in the third line, the one where the fingers move a third and the pinkie has to anticipate a B-flat, and screw it up. Every time. Sometimes I stop and break the measure apart and chew on the notes like they’re jerky…and they are, pun intended. I gnaw over and over on that measure, and then finally I plow onward to the end. The last notes linger in the air so seductively, so forgiving of mistakes and promising fulfillment that once more, I take if from the top. De colores, de colores se visten los campos en la primavera.

Now and then, I can almost imagine my mind, obstructive and helpful simultaneously, put out to pasture, that the flow of music takes my body, my arms and fingers, my swaying torso, into the great wide river of music. My eyes drift from the sheet music into the pool of gold light on the table where three Meyer lemons express all there is to know about yellow. The light also gilds tim on Via magazine and I am filled with a sweet melancholy. Tim. I miss him. What a sweet guy.

But the stream of bliss is nearing the boulder of B-flat, and sure enough, capsized again. I clutch the mind’s lifeline. Tim. There isn’t, there never was, a Tim in my life. The letters are the middle ones of Ultimate, in Ultimate Monterey.

Persist. Ultimately…



  1. So beautiful and funny … I SO know that
    B flat problem!


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