By Eddy Montilla.
(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)
“And how about you. Who are you?” The young woman calmly asked him. “We share one thing in common and differ in everything else. I carry my grief within. You, however, like your sumptuous black attire, carry it outside. That means that you keep more things back from people than I do.”
“I don’t have anything to hide.” The violinist simpered.
“Really? Let’s see… It is said that medicine and art complement each other. Some colleagues of mine paint or play the piano or the harp. You play quite well the violin. I wonder if you didn’t get passionate about medicine to get complacent later.”
“The violinist did not say anything.”
“I guess your silence means yes because your aching heart doesn’t let you say no.” She said. “Why didn’t you become a doctor, artist? Perhaps you are one of those people who flinch at the sight of blood or there’s a lot more to it than that. Maybe you can’t get along well with people. It is probably the latter, and that’s why you decided to take refuge in you violin, so that you don’t have to deal with anyone because an instrument always obeys without complaining and it will do whatever you ask when you play it.”
“Why don’t you shut up once and for all?” The violinist yelled at her as if he were about to lose control of himself sooner than later and shatter into pieces.
“You were right. It seems that love is not for me. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t get the love I needed, the love I wanted. Well, maybe that’s why I’m a doctor, because I love people and want to help them. You didn’t get what you wanted most in life either. However, very different from me, instead of helping people as I do, you spend as much time as possible to watch them from a distance and hate them in silence first to attack them later in public. As you know, I love math: I don’t owe you anything. On the contrary, it is you who owes me money. Is not that true, Derek?”
The last question of the young woman astounded the violinist. He quickly looked at all the people around him and ran out of the bar without saying a word or taking the 700 dollars that Mr. Lawrence had left on the table while they were whispering about him without understanding what happened.
“Who’s that man?”
“Another sick person who goes from town to town.” The young woman answered to her friend.
“And how do you know all those things about him? Is he your friend?”
“Of course not. It’s just like he said: Wherever you are, from a distance, somebody is looking at you…always.”
Shortly after midnight, all customers had left the bar. The waiter picked up the glasses from the table and, of course, the 700 dollars that were waiting for an owner too. He wiped the tables and did the washing-up. It is said that there truly is an art to popping open a bottle of beer, but that does not apply to a waiter after his workday is done, so he did it quickly and looked towards the corner where the violinist had played and left his violin.
“Another artist who leaves the bar and another instrument that remains with us.” He said and, because of one of those inscrutable impulses of the heart, he went to the place where the violin case was, near a big black bag that also belonged to the violinist.
“There is no room for all theses things here.” He said and opened the bag out of curiosity. Then, he was stunned and stuck for a moment, looking at what was inside and shaking his head in disbelief.
“Oh, my God!” He could barely say. That was the moment when he remembered the words that the young woman said: “From a distance, someone is looking at you…always.
The waiter put the violin behind the old piano and guitar, increasing the number of instruments left at that corner. Then, he went back to the counter, drank his beer down in one go and hurried home, taking with him that black bag with its content: another instrument, but far from being used to play music. He had a strange feeling of pleasure and happiness at the thought of what he could do with it, which drowned immediately his utter astonishment. From that day, or rather, from that night, the waiter began to do the same thing that millions of people have been doing since the dawn of time: To snoop.
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