Below are an excerpt of 5 pages from The Silence Before There Were Walls
Lynn walked into the living room to find a note for her in the doorway. It was from her friend Ernst Summer. It read if you want to meet Wagner the famous composer meet me at the Café Theatre at a quarter to 4.
Ernst was wearing his best hat. It leaned a bit to the left, leaving his cheek and eye hidden in a menacing shadow. Ernst was a bit unpolished as far as philosophers go; it wasn’t that he didn’t have an urge to understand the thoughts of life, he most certainly did, but the nicking and tucking of such a superficial platform often left Ernst’s fingers tired for some real work; so to get out his extra aggression, that was just too heavy for the page, Ernst turned to his flute. Ernst’s voice didn’t carry as far as some, but when it came to high notes and annoying pitches he was a contender against the screaming women and men who drowned out the cats in neighborhood. Ernst always had an ear for music; he knew it since he was a child. When Ernst heard the tapping noise of raindrops, fingernails, and shoes he coordinated them into an orgasm of bliss, that or he was easily distracted, his mother wasn’t quite sure.
“Sit sit,” Ernst called, “I know how much you love Wagner. I even recall you telling me once that you loved him since you were a child.”
“I met him when I was a child. I loved him after I bit into the indecent apple of indiscretion and entered into the heated desert where I walked alone. In that silence no person’s voice ventured to explain my soul away. In the blowing away of ashes into the unforgiving face of earth’s rough crust, did I hear him. And what I heard I knew few others could understand.”
A fat smile sat on Ernst’s lips. Ernst fully soaked in Lynn’s elitism, and felt closer to the great beyond. “To think,” Ernst said coolly taking in a sip of water, “if it wasn’t for me you might have left Leizpeg and followed Hermann to Bonn.”
Lynn looked away to the dirt. “I have been missing my childhood friends lately. I am so glad you are here to keep me company.” Lynn worried if she would be misunderstood, and forgotten as out of date words that were slathered and swallowed whole to become food for the culture’s body.
“It is strange how relationships are, they come and they go so easily, like peeling an orange. Just go through the layers of time, friends, and enemies and as an old man you will drink from the sweetest nectar.”
“I know. No one can know anyone else but themselves.” Alone and yet surrounded by people, Lynn’s face resembled a massive structure.
“And yet we spend our entire life trying to get know everyone else.”
“The illusion of our purpose always dissuades those from traveling through watery passages. As meaning is fearful of falling too deep from the superficial connections that hold the spider’s web off the ground and inside the web she sits, the widow.”
“Hungry too, I suppose,” Ernst said with a slight chuckle. “It’s funny to think I step on spiders so that they don’t crawl into my bed at night.”
“So do I, but I am sure my little sister wouldn’t.”
“Women are always more caring than men.”
“Don’t be too quick to judge, the most caring women hide their worst traits, like how a villain hides behind locked bars. They are afraid that a single trait could rape what the body of innocence has built.” People were the only imperfect aspects of science’s domination, where every formula produced a workable product that every woman was valued against.
Ernst looked away. “I can’t compete Lynn, I didn’t come here to debate about whose point of view is better. I came here to give you good news. Do you have to rain on sunny days?”
“I wasn’t raining,” Lynn said with a smile. “I am always happy, can’t you tell?” And Lynn pushed a smile through her downwards pout. When beliefs don’t come, she was left with a humming beat that spiked like mountains.
“I forgot how perfect you are,” Ernst said sarcastically. “Now do you want to see Wagner or not?” Ernst touched his ear and he let his fingers linger there as a mark of his attention to detail.
“Do you even have to ask?” Lynn said genuinely elated.
Lynn looked out towards the rain outside. It was already a half past six and she was expecting the tailor to come any minute. Lynn wanted to wear her very best clothes to meet Wagner for the first time. Lynn stared through the ceaselessly moving raindrops.
Lynn smiled half-heartedly to herself. Fabric wore itself on the body like a mind did on a soul. She worried the tailor would make a mistake and create pants that were too long with overly large cuffs. They would loosen her up a little too much, like someone asking for help but blurring the line between expressive and self-involved. Lynn hummed to herself.
The flutes drew in the air as the lightening hit. God of wonton, she thought comforted by her enemy. Lynn painful discarded a shattered dream and she breathed in a sigh of relief. Through the window a small figure was running across the water puddles with a brown bag.
In an unfamiliar study Lynn sat in a deep brown chair across from Ernst, who was sipping on brandy and ice. Lynn softly turned her head into the images of the street. They were as beautiful as a painting done of the city lights at night.
“So,” Lynn said solemn to herself, “are we going somewhere to see Wagner?” She quietly tapped the cherry brown wooden table.
“No, he is meeting us here,” Ernst said it like a detective who witnessed a murder driving to work, and now was looking grimly into the paper work of that same dead face.
Lynn flicked some water onto the ground, “You can never believe what I went through to get this suit.” Lynn smiled to her own secrets, and she began to paint a picture of reality that would never hold up in any sort of court as evidence. Stories were odd like that, they were filled with false identities and immature words, and somehow the story teller always was able to manipulate the cushion of others imagination into their favor, so that a dark blue sky was actually white and dry in retrospect.
“Really?” Ernst said provoked out of his hardened mask. “What happened?”
“Well first off, the tailor’s assistance was late, and when she finally showed up she expected me to pay the bill upfront. I was pulling the shirt over my head as she was pulling it off. I was angry, she was angry, there were words.” Lynn smiled. “Do I need to say more?”
“So, you won?”
“No, I ended up finding this old thing in the closet. It is missing some buttons and the collar is stretched out, but I had no other choice.” Lynn thought of her own power, and let the drink of the night fall lovingly across her lips as it dressed up her flesh in microscopic drops of pleasure. Pleasure, she planned to lick off later, in the heat of explanations when lovers stood around her naked with cocked dicks in exhaustion.
“You look nice,” Ernst said, looking out the window to the pouring rain, the black street looked like nuances of a broken heart. “You always looked nice in black,” Ernst said turning his head to see a nervous Lynn. “Don’t worry, he should be here any minute. What do you think you are going to say? How was the trip?”
“Stop playing with me, we both know what I want to say.” Lynn turned her back.
Ernst serious face broke into a smirk. “I was worried you weren’t coming.”
“It was the suit!”
Just then a knock was heard and Wagner walked in. Wagner blinked the water away as he took off his hat. Wagner fixed the stiff piece of hair that was combed over. The left side of his head was slightly uncovered, showing his freckles.
“So,” Wagner said in his utmost professional voice, “you two know who I am?” Wagner said it in a playful way, knowing who Lynn was. Wagner had been well versed by Sophie Gray and was fully aware of Lynn’s upstanding reputation.
Lynn was silent, each word was screaming to get out first. She pressed her lips together before the escape. She reclaimed the intellectual expression of superiority between her eyes and among the rows of wrinkles that looked like book shelves on her forehead. “Your musicality greatly astounds me. It has so much soul. The hardest aspects of the mind are coupled with the tender fears and dreams of our ideals.” Lynn paused for a second, not sure if she should go on. “You reach the greatest feat of any artiest, every stroke brings out eternity. You can stroke out more tenderness in one cord than a million thoughts.” And she took a breath and a drink.
“I know, I know,” Wagner said, a bit surprised at the monotone tone he used. “This is boring.” Wagner entered the room and into the student’s looks of anticipation, like a voyeur would to consummate his feelings with a naked woman. “I have a treat,” Wagner said putting out the cigar. He walked over to the piano, which was hidden in the shadows. He lit one small candle and placed both hands on the keys.
Lynn’s smile jumped off her face and crawled on the floor saying, “I am not worthy.” Her remaining features, a bit slighted by her mouth’s abandonment, tried to reuse old words, and watched in envy.
Wagner looked up towards the ceiling and allowed it to rain. Water fell down in sheets. It left little traces of the two students who were there initially and the only thing that was recognizable was their body’s impression against the chair.
Wagner looked through his gleaming fans to the back windows and slicked back to the ledge where his fingers pushed down his hair. “Boys,” he said over the music, “the secret to happiness is in its repetition, and the best remedy of solitude is music. Schopenhauer said that the turning of the sky happens within a melody that inspires… oh what was it, that the melody of the earth is written on the text of our… never mind.” Wagner smiled over the crowd.
Lynn got up on her toes to see over the shorter high strung notes that shoot up through the deeper depressed tones like hot springs. She forgot her manners and yelled through them. The notes were in such a lofty place that they were jarred by her company and stopped.
“What?” Wagner said leaning forward. He looked as shell shocked as the dead music on the floor. The piano’s mocking white keys remained unchanged and watched them both.
“I just wanted to tell you, I love Schopenhauer too.”
“Really. Well, he was the only person who really understood music.” Wagner pushed out his heart and let it stay there as a gold pin dripping in blood, which it often stained those it rubbed against.
“I agree,” said Lynn, who realized she was standing. Lynn then turned back to her chair, who was mimicking her like a forgotten friend, and she pulled the edge of its thick bottom lip closer. Like most of the weary, Lynn fell through the bottom downward lip back to the floor. In no sudden gesture Lynn fixed her hair, said a prayer in the name of every single belief, and repositioned the chair to be right below her. Lynn trusted that, which was only made out of wood and called it God. And she called God the laws of life and she sat down.
Wagner took a sip of his brandy and took some papers out of his pocket. “I hope you two are open for a different kind of mood. I have brought a few pages of my autobiography with me and wanted to know of what someone thought.” Wagner’s fingers hung onto the yellowish dented up paper. “I could not help thinking that the Frenchmen who unbuttoned their coats on leaving Germany could really begin anew… What are you smiling at?” Wagner said looking at Lynn.
“Nothing,” Lynn remarked with her tongue stuck between her teeth. Her jaw was in a full on clenched position. “Nothing,” she said again.
Wagner stood like an elephant in the room behind a tiny piece of yellow stained paper. Wagner wasn’t sure if he was about to continue sharing his most personal emotions and experiences to two strangers who only valued him for his piano skills. Wagner tried to relax in the midnight blue shadows, which eerily outlined his emotions, but his confidence having had years to develop was not that easily shaken and he carried on with a few more lines.
Lynn listened and felt renewed. It was not reaching the goal of success that made good art, but rather the eye that valued what the artist couldn’t communicate. If the world had millions of eyes all attached to souls, they could create millions of emotions all fitting between the empty space and the intention. Beautiful art could be seen amongst the daily words used to describe daily thoughts and emotions, turning the divine into the mundane and back again. The moon gazing over the corner of a cloud hit the side of Lynn’s face, turning her eyes black as coal, igniting a fire.
Wagner folded the paper back into his pocket. “Well,” he said pulling out a clock. “It looks as if I am due for tea somewhere, but we should do this again.” Wagner gripped Lynn’s hand rather tightly. “Glad to meet you.” He placed his large brim hat back on, and left through the door he came in, with a little bit of a waddled. Like most men of the night Wagner planned on sailing on the sky’s reflection with the sun’s undressed shadows.
Lynn walked back into the empty room where Ernst sat with a cigar hanging limply between his lips. “Was this not that the greatest nights of your life?” Lynn said.
Ernst embraced Lynn in a hug. “I would have only done it for you,” he mouthed.