Digital Ischemia

15/08/2018

Wratislaw part 4 of 10

A drily hyperbolic, humorous short story – a pianist with a passion for Janáček’s music finds the composer’s unrequited infatuation is part of the bargain

Wratislaw series begins at part 1

With the stealth of a grizzly bear, Wratislaw forces his way further into the rhododendron, shattering branches and snagging his shirt. Obviously the witch has seen him coming, has scaled a tree, and has gained the tomfoolery initiative with the pelting effort. How can he get a tactical advantage?

Back on the ramparts, he had tried Kamila’s approach, grilling her about her motivation.
“Why are you talking to me? This isn’t still guilt for letting me think you were someone else.”

At the start of the afternoon, Wratislaw had headed to the back of the auditorium. His being there at all had been entirely the fault of a colleague who had suggested the diversion since he was in south-west Poland between assignments. He had had no other interest in a sideshow about ‘thinking’. He had expected to have to resist cheesy showmanship and light hypnosis.

As he had moved into the end of a row, a woman a few seats along had garbled some pleasantry. He had fumbled an apology in English. Always the British embarrassment for being elsewhere without any effort at the native language. She had quipped back—in English, curse her—that she wasn’t Polish either and the event seemed a long way for him to have come. He had admitted he had other business there and asked if the speaker was worth travelling from Czech for. And off they had gone, easily conversing across ranging fascinations, and incidentally swapping seats somewhere along the way.

Her clothes had draped over her willowy frame, under her long, straight, dark hair, itself under a retro cloth Alice-band. Her eyes were dark too, like treacle with glints of amber. Glints of activity within. Tremendous activity. He hadn’t sought to impress; just to keep up. He had had no idea she was psychoanalysing him. Or about the more critical factor.

After a particularly deep exploration of his motivation for solo performance, which had taken her a good couple of minutes, she had paused, glanced away, breathed, and smiled at him. That had fanned the sparks into a warm glow. She had then stood, ambled to the front of the hall and proceeded to lead a discussion on thinking. Hiding in plain sight.

He had felt eviscerated: six months of ‘getting to know’ compressed into six minutes. Had he only known that rich seam would have to last him six years.

None of that explains what Kamila is up to now with the clothing decoy. Wratislaw tries to distract himself from the distracting notion that she is unclad. In a tree.

…continues at part 5

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1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 4 […]

    Pingback by Wratislaw part 3 of 10 | Digital Ischemia — 15/08/2018 @ 18:22


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