StoryRhyme After Dark: Wherever I Go There Will Be A Piano

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Wherever I Go There Will Be A Piano
By Harry Buschman

Leningrad. Summer Garden in Winter by Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva, 1929

“The ice is breaking up, Dimitri. Spring is coming – let me see you smile.”

Dimitri did not look up. Instead, he settled his flute case a little firmer under his arm and trudged on.

“Pretty soon, Dimitri, the trees will be in bloom. We will leave our winter boots in the closet – yes, and our woolen underwear too. Let me see you smile, Dimitri.”

“I should smile? We play the Shostakovitch tonight and Levinsky wants me to play the scherzo too slowly. What's more, last week the ice in the river was solid from bank to bank and we could walk across the river. Now we have to walk all the way to the Prospekt Bridge. Don’t give me that ‘smile, Dimitri’. There is nothing to smile.”

“We live in a democracy now, Dimitri.”

“So what! I was better off under Stalin. I could drink Polish Vodka then. I can’t even afford the swill they make here in St. Petersburg.” Dimitri held his flute case in the air as though it were a weapon. “Artists were appreciated in those days! I had an apartment with a doorman. Now I live in my uncle’s basement!” He walked to the edge of the river. “I should throw my flute in the river and get a job as a taxi driver. You will see, Alexis – at the concert tonight the audience will sit with their coats on. They will not even take off their gloves to applaud. Furthermore, all the women will wear house dresses. We are playing for peasants.”

“Be thankful you play the flute, Dimitri, suppose you had to carry a cello.”

The two men shuffled their way through the melting snow along the towpath to the Prospekt Bridge. Dimitri continued to grumble, while Alexis looked at the bright side. Finally, Alexis nudged Dimitri and said under his breath, “Suppose, when the season is over, Dimitri ... you and I go to Amerika...?”

“They won’t give us a visa.”

“We go by way of Mexico, Dimitri – then we climb the fence at the border just as the Mexicans do. You have a flute – there should be no trouble climbing a fence with a flute.”

Dimitri stopped to consider. “But you, Alexis – you play the piano.”

“Look at me, Dimitri. Am I carrying a piano now? No! My piano is waiting for me at the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. Wherever I go there will be a piano.”

(c) 2014 Harry Buschman
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