There's a cigarette hanging between her fingers. A thin trail of smoke slips from its tip, caressing the air before sliding into the hidden air. She pulls it to her mouth, taking a deep breath into her lungs before pushing the haze back out. She watches as it lingers, before the slight breeze of wind takes it away. There's a wish that memories could go that easily. The wind tugs at her hair, the playful tug that she had always enjoyed as a child. For the few moments that the wind would blow, she'd let her hair her carry. Now, she pushes the strands into a bun, securing it from any chance of flying free. She takes another drag through her mouth. It's much like a violin she thinks, the movements of the cigarette. Her hand begins its song, pushing with a practised hand the cigarette to her mouth. Her lungs deepen, the breath needed to sustain the rest. Then she slips it away, an exhale of relief coming, to finish the song with a dangle between the fingers. It was easier than a violin, no wood, no bow. Just the cigarette, that would soon be reduced to ash.
Her father had been a violinist, though she had never been told. Her mother didn't like to speak of the dead. She had never seen him play, she hadn't been old enough to remember much more of his appearance than what came from photos. She knew he played though. There had been once, where the lilt of the violin had come to her ears. The push of the bow, the breath, the slip of the song. Her father had been a violinist, she knew that to be so.
Another gush of wind came, one that threatened the strands tied tight. But it didn't falter the surrounding force, there was no flying free.
She had told her mother once she was going to become a musician once. It was only years later that she realised the look on her mother's face had been one of disappointment.
She lets the cigarette hang for a moment in her mouth, a semibreve before the breath.
She was older when she had asked her mother why she had never let her join the band. 'You don't want to be a musician. They become too absorbed, and end up dying alone.' She had been afraid to ask if that's how her father had died.
She took a last pull before snuffing the cigarette on the pavement. The performance had ended, but she took no bow. Instead she rose and left the stage, moving from the empty park to the path. She coughs; she was tired, the exertion of the song had gotten to her. Maybe one day she would stop, but a violinist would never retire for their health. Her father hadn't, that's what she thought.
After her mother had died, she had thought about taking up the violin. But she knew she had passed her peak to do more than the basics. She wanted to only do it if she could be perfect. That's what she liked about cigarettes, there was only perfection in her drags.
With the wind behind her she reaches the home that's shared with another. He's there when she enters, ready to welcome her.
"I got something for you today."
She opens the window to let the air sweep in and grins, only wondering what it is.
The case is rough, worn at the edges where it's been handled. But the violin inside still shines. Not with lustre, but with a song. A song that had been song and was still continuing, just in a rest, and would never have that ending cadence.
She takes it to her hand.
"I remember you mentioned once you had wanted to learn."
She picks up the bow, and lets it dangle between her fingers. She pulls it to the violin, and pushes it across the strings. She listens as the note lingers, before the slight breeze of wind takes it away. There's a tug of wind at her hair, and she takes the bun from its grasp. When she was younger she would let her hair carry her away. This time she flies free.
As she swings the bow across the violin she smiles; the notes are jagged, but they come easily, and are sweet to her.
He's smiling at her. "Well, what do you think?"
"I'm going to quit smoking." She continues to let her hands sweep across the wood, it was easy for her now.
"Your father played didn't he?"
She thought that the music would remind her of him, but there was no recollection in her memory. She pauses in her torrent, and lets her mind slip back. There had been a lilt, the push of a bow, a breath, the slip of a song. But it was not like it was now, there was no resemblance.
There was no lilt of a violin.
"No. He played piano."
But she would be the violinist.