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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.


 

'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.'

'Where?' 

'Austria.'

A pause.

'Will you go with me?'

Another pause, but shorter.

'Of course.'

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?'

'Must I?'

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.

A school!

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.

 




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