A Story by Dan Szabo

Her greatest performance.


Shadows flickered on the bare walls of the dilapidated cottage by the sea, incited by the fire crackling in the hearth. The sole occupant sat alone in her battered rocking chair, lost in quiet contemplation. The cold wind screamed and howled petulantly to be let in, sought out crevices and crannies to invade. Arthritic hands pulled a threadbare shawl tighter around a frail body silently mourning the comfort of youth.

After a few minutes and with great effort, the woman rose slowly from her chair, making her way over to a shelf by the door. She strained on her tiptoes to retrieve something on the top shelf, grasping it by the handle and hugging it to her chest as she made her way back to her chair. Twisted hands fumbled with the latch for a few moments before convincing the case to give up its bounty.

"Hello, old friend."

The violin offered no response, but continued to lie still in its cradle of dust and age.

Trembling fingers lifted the body, grasping underneath for a yellowed photograph smelling of rosin. A raven haired beauty stood waiting for her cue, poised with her instrument tucked neatly under her chin.

"Were we ever this young?" She swept a thumb over the face of the violinist, sweeping away bits of filth.

"So dedicated, so resolute. Paris, Vienna, New York -- do you remember how they loved us?" She absentmindedly rubbed the once calloused tips of her left hand. "We sacrificed everything... I... sacrificed everything. He never understood why I needed you so. I gave you everything. And in return, you gave me all of this." She gestured at her surroundings and laughed bitterly, a sound grating to even her own ears.

"I pray you will pardon an old woman's nostalgia, dear friend."

She took her bow from the lid of the case, gently tightening the strands of horsehair and unwrapping the rosin from its felt bonnet. She drew the bow back and forth across the smooth amber in preparation.

She lifted the violin by its slender neck, plucking at each string in turn and fiddling with the pegs until it was tuned to her trained ear's satisfaction. At long last, she grasped instrument and bow and stood up in disregard for the case, which clattered harmlessly to the floor. The wooden panels creaked under her feet as she made her way to the door. It flung open as soon as she turned the handle, pushed by the ever insistent wind. Her long silver hair lashed about her furiously as she took her first wavery steps towards the sea. 

Waves crashed onto the shore with resounding slaps, frothing and foaming like rabid beasts.

She walked on, a frail specter, stopping short at the water's edge. The light of the moon kissed her face and the tendrils of hair that danced wildly in the wind.

She brought the violin to rest under her chin, struggling to stay standing as the frigid waves lapped at her feet and the wind pushed at her back. A gnarled hand brought bow to string, and haunting strains of Beethoven took flight. 

As she took one faltering step after another,  the only noise to be heard was the cheering of her audience as they rose to meet her.

© 2009 Dan Szabo

Author's Note

Dan Szabo
Critiques welcome, I hope you'll forgive any grammatical errors.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


Nice reflection on success. Loved your poetic style.

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very nice my friend , excellent indeed ;)
well done.

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, you're a very poetic writer. I mean, if I would have written something like this, it would have been 'some girl got up and played violin.' xD I mean, wow, that was very interesting. Very nice to read! You're a great writer!

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


3 Reviews
Added on November 28, 2009
Last Updated on November 28, 2009


Dan Szabo
Dan Szabo


Not much to say, I'm afraid. I live in North Carolina, and work as a data processor. Writing and reading have always been great loves of mine, and I hope to connect with fellow writers that will criti.. more..

Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Dan Szabo