funny_herman: (Pic 2)
Herman ([personal profile] funny_herman) wrote2005-09-25 06:33 pm

July 18, 1933

It was a bright, sunny day with a gentle breeze in the air, unlike the day of the accident, and unlike the day the Maestra and their child were buried.

Herman walked up the gravel path just inside the cemetary gates, the sound of his shoes crunching on stones strangely dull and muffled in the open air. In his hand, he held two long-stemmed white roses tied together with a red ribbon. He set off in the direction of a single towering oak tree in the distance.

He hadn't told anybody where he was going today, except for Frankie. Not that it was a secret or anything -- he just didn't give people too many specifics. Just a reminder of what had happened a year ago.

And so with only Frankie keeping him company, he made his way down rows and rows of gravestones, most weather-worn, some gleaming and new. Some had flowers laid beside them, most had none. As Herman approached the tree, he could hear songbirds twittering in its branches. They hadn't been there a year ago.

The Maestra's grave was six plots east of the tree. But it was only one o'clock in the afternoon, and the tree's shadow had not yet reached the stone.

Herman knelt down and picked up the pair of dried roses he'd left on his last visit and replaced them with the fresh ones. He blinked a few times as tears came to his eyes, maybe because of the brightness of the white granite in the sunshine, maybe because of the sadness. After a few moments, he sat back on the grass and crossed his legs, holding the withered flowers in his lap. He looked up at Frankie and patted the ground beside him.

[identity profile] 2005-09-26 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
*Standing there and watching him, she'd felt her lower lip begin to tremble threateningly, but she bit it into submission. Luckily speaking wasn't required of her. She thinks of her father's arrival and subsequent death and the complete contrast between what a speeding car had done for her and what a speeding car had done to Herman.

When he motions for her to sit beside him, she does so silently, folding her legs up like he has.*

[identity profile] 2005-09-26 04:21 am (UTC)(link)
*he puts a comforting arm around her shoulders and rubs her upper arm; after a few moments of silence, he heaves a deep sigh:* I honestly cannot believe it's already been a year. It still doesn't take very much to bring me right back into the moment...

[identity profile] 2005-09-26 12:54 pm (UTC)(link)
*she reaches for his free hand and squeezes it, brushing her thumb over the backs of his knuckles, still silent*

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 12:34 am (UTC)(link)
*he rests his hand on her knee as she strokes it, his heavy-lidded eyes set on the carved letters and numbers on the gravestone*

Do you remember... Do you remember how she'd sometimes come in early to practice, long before any of us had gotten up...and she'd play softly, so as to not disturb the Klub residents...yet the notes would trickle up the stairwell, and down the hallways, and through the doors... I remember how I would still be sleeping, and I'd hear the music through my pillow.

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 12:48 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah. Yeah, I remember. No matter how hung over or bleary-eyed I was in the mornings, it was always nice to hear...kinda like a lullaby to lull me back to sleep. And I'd feel better when I woke up again...

*she smiles faintly* Remember her last night at the Klub, before she started with the orchestra? Her number, when she borrowed one of my hats?

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 03:02 am (UTC)(link)
*chuckles softly* That was an unforgettable performance. She was wearing ... *rolls his eyes upwards in thought* ...this cute, little white bow tie, wine-red trousers that fit her so well... *he smirks fondly* And yes, of course, one of your hats, a bowler if memory serves me correctly.

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 03:32 am (UTC)(link)
*she sighs* It looked so well on her... I told her to keep it...just wanted her to have something to remind her that...that I'd always be rooting for her...

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 04:47 am (UTC)(link)
*kisses her temple and waveringly smiles* Oh, she knew you were, liebling, she knew. She wasn't much of a hat person, but whenever she was feeling whimsical, she'd wear it out and about, and she'd joke about taking up the drums and being able to magically play them because it was your hat... She looked darling in it with a sun dress or a pleated skirt or somesuch... *his voice trails off and he purses his lips, his throat suddenly constricting painfully* She talked about you more than you probably think. You were always part of our family, Frankie.

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 05:07 am (UTC)(link)
*she determinedly swallows the lump in her throat and tightens her grip on his hand* She was the kind of woman I used to wish I'd grow up to be: poised and elegant -- Mari always told me that elegance didn't come from money or rank or fancy clothes and I knew, I knew, when I'd met the Maestra that Mari had been right -- and she had a lot of grace. I envied and admired that in her. I think...I think it's safe to say that I looked up to her. A lot. *rueful chuckle* Didn't quite realize it up 'til now, though.

[identity profile] 2005-09-28 04:35 am (UTC)(link)
*as she speaks, he gently pulls her closer so she can lean on his shoulder, and he can lean on hers* You're right...she had grace. It wasn't a haughty grace or a distant grace like some people tend to have. It was...a kind grace... It-- it came from within. *he sighs and his voice drops to a whisper* Oh, she was so special like that.

*after another sigh, he clears his throat and sniffs* There are many things you realize after the fact. That always seems to be the case. You watch pieces of your life in your head like a filmstrip -- sometimes skipping frames to get to a better part, sometimes replaying one scene over and over. Sometimes remembering details that you'd overlooked. Details about others...details about yourself.

[identity profile] 2005-09-28 01:19 pm (UTC)(link)
*she sighs and blinks away a stubborn tear that had managed to escape; the breeze picks up for a moment, ruffling through her dark hair and Herman's fair and stirring the leaves on the tree, sending a few prematurely scuttling to the ground; glancing around her, she spies a dandelion already turned to fluff not far from her knee - she reaches out and plucks it gently from the ground, twisting it back and forth between her thumb and forefinger*

When my brother died, Mari told me that I could put my love into a dandelion and that when I blew the fluff away into the air it'd carry the message straight to him.

[identity profile] 2005-09-29 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
*he watches the dandelion twirl in her fingers for a few moments, then takes it between his own and holds it up, close to their faces* I think this looks like a good, strong, reliable dandelion that can carry love from both of us. Shall we?

[identity profile] 2005-09-29 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
*she nods, careful not to move her head too vigorously and send the fluff sailing before they're ready* Let's.

[identity profile] 2005-09-29 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
*leaning his temple against hers, he stares at the white puff at the end of the stem, holding it steady so it doesn't sway too much in the light breeze; as he stares, he thinks of what the Maestra meant to him -- she was his friend, his lover, his light...he remembers her smile, her laughter, the music she made, especially the music she made just for him, for his ears alone; and their baby -- Herman could only dream of who he could have become, and although he never knew him, he loved and missed him dearly; soon Herman's heart is filled to the brim until it is ready to burst, and with every fiber of his being focused on the fluffy white seeds wavering in the breeze, each as delicate as a departed soul, he wishes for the Maestra and their child to know that they have a place within him forever*

[identity profile] 2005-10-02 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
*with her fingers still clasping the stem, Frankie closes her eyes and thinks of the first time she'd met the Maestra, at her audition for a spot in the band; she thinks of rehearsals, everyone blithely following the Maestra's lead, like children under the direction of a benevolent but sometimes exasperated big sister, some of the players' tendency to goof off frustrating her at times; she remembers Herman and the Maestra glowing around each other like a pair of overzealous fireflies; the Maestra's last night; Herman's announcing the coming of the baby, and all the subsequent planning, the joy of a birth and a wedding in their odd, improvised little family; and she inevitably thinks of her brother and Mari, and she imagines the two of them welcome the Maestra and the babu boy into...well, wherever it is they'd all gone to, and forming their own little band and a warmth settles into her heart*

They're taken care of, you know. Mari and Johnny...they've got it covered.

[identity profile] 2005-10-07 12:07 am (UTC)(link)
*a faint smile settles on his lips and without turning his head, his eyes still focused on the dandelion fuzz and his fingers covering hers on its stem, he murmurs:* Yes...yes, I do belive that.

*as if on cue, the breeze suddenly picks up, and he inhales a breath -- waiting for Frankie to do the same -- and blows on the dandelion; the seeds immediately disperse into the air, carried aloft on tufts of white fluff, and he leans back and watches them soar up into the clear blue sky*