'You've been using yourself rather too freely. You need to work less - and the English climate isn't good for you. I suggest you go abroad. The Alps, maybe. Excellent air. Didn't you say your sister has just come back from Italy? Or there's always Austria. Lovely country - good hunting, in the mountains.'
Austria. Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Bruckner, Strauss - Richard, of course - the Vienna State Opera, Bruno Walter, Salzburg...
But the Alps. The unmovable mountains...
'He says I must go abroad.'
'Will you go with me?'
Another pause, but shorter.
He feels - relief. He cannot imagine this exile without her.
A mountain railway, the carriage rattling from side to side as it winds its way up the mountainside. Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna disappear away beneath him.
'How long must I stay there?'
'For as long as is necessary.'
Possibly forever, is what the doctor does not say.
Austria. Mozart, Schubert, Haydn...and the immovable mountains between him and them.
A lake, blue as a sapphire and studded all around with wooden chalets. No concert halls, no Protestant churches, no place of any kind for him to make music.
He sees - boredom. No-one to teach, nowhere to sing, nothing to do but sit and wait for his lungs to recover, which he knows they will never do.
'Come for a walk with me?'
He must. Exercise, fresh air, very important.
A sprawl of houses - a loose-limbed village scrabbling up from the lakeside. A girl in a gym slip, skipping through a gate in a wicker fence.
He sees - a chance! Here is somewhere to make music, somewhere he can be of use! He stops; she notices and he affects nonchalance. But soon, he knows, he will be going through that same wicker gate.
He only hopes they will let him stay.
Author's Chapter Notes:
I wrote this on my phone in the car today, whereupon the ungrateful beast lost it, and I've had to reconstruct it. Good thing I have a memory for text!
As the title implies, there are two sides to this story.