Tag Archives: NPR

The Corner.

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The new set up finally felt right.

The laptop should never have been situated anywhere near the davenport. Hardly welcoming to plunk one’s “office” right in the middle of the livingroom. Add to that the endless stream of paper mail – charity pleas, financial statements, natural health provocateurs, catalogues. Burgeoning piles, taunting every, lifelong attempt to keep an orderly house.

No matter that finding the means to actually toss the static stacks forever eluded. This would harken back to that Great Depression mindset and, well, that was inherited.

Yes. The corner was, finally, just perfect. The wicker rocker had been lovely neo-nostalgia, but sprawling, determined to scrape the last of the baseboard paint all the way down to its 1895 darkwood. And, sitting in the rocker was never right; its ergonomics, or lack thereof, had wrecked both her neck and sacra, the latter already pesky after the fall from the stage in ’09. Perhaps the new chair was more than just easy to assemble. Perhaps she could finally extend her spine fully, and expand her lungs. Perhaps she could finally, functionally, actively: sit.

With the sofa pushed forward, making room for the slender pole lamp, peace lily to the left wafting its oxygen, and heat vent just below, she was at last comfortable enough to troll Facebook, watch Showtime, and write without descending into the dull, half-wit of the couch potato. She noted that getting up to go to the piano was a far more frequent occurrence, now, the most encouraging observation of the hour.

Hardly anybody of any social importance anymore even knew that she played piano. The purchase of the Steinway was only meaningful to her, after all. Funny how expectations were fueled by fantasies, and these by notions. Notions of relative value.

Time didn’t actually pass, she’d been told. But, years did. And, she hadn’t been part of the league of pianists since at least 2005. A decade, to the Millennials and those who spawned them, was a lifetime.

She noted that, from this angle, her reflection appeared in the screen. The way the light refracted provided a clear image. Her face appeared to be receding from its head, the absence of estrogen draining the last of its contouring fat. She used to see an exotic Napolitan, even at her loneliest moments marveling at how distinct she was from the sea of Sicilians in the spectre of her locale. Now, she could only ponder the generic picture of a woman toward which nobody would even look twice.

She wondered if anybody would be listening seven days hence, as she made her recapitulating debut on the live airwaves. The year was probably 1990; Mavis Sargeant, ever the pioneer and a rare Brit in a community of staunch Germans and ethnic ghettos, had initiated “Potpourri”, live classical and its corollaries for a solid hour at high noon at the local PBS affiliate. For quite awhile, it stuck; now, nearly two decades in, live music was once again featured at WQLN – FM. Her selected colleagues had agreed to perform a trio program, and the marketing standard included a live broadcast “teaser” to lure attendees to the scheduled recital.

Thus was her life, lived – by the standards of her alleged family – in complete self-indulgence. Somehow, she had missed the importance of being seen out, in the evenings, where people gathered. She had neglected to form relationships with those who would sustain her social standing. Now her words, last testament to the proof that she had lived, were batted about by anonymous ghost writers, grifters in a world of the younger, prettier, and classed.

Pressing the space bar and the shift key, she placed the next set of them onto the template of the laptop screen.






© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   1/27/17   Post #478, all authentic, created by this writer, whose rights are reserved in spite of all attempts to the contrary. Yeah. To all the pathetic parasites: Someday, all your sins will find you out. To the honest among you, go in peace.



Pin it.



NPR had just aired an instrumental music selection, entitled, “Unfortunate Is He Who Hath a Wife”. Unfortunately, she didn’t catch the composer’s name, though the piece was quite short.

For the past seven, much longer months, she’d let something play out on her own, inner radio. In fact, she’d pinned her hopes and dreams on one, grande tune.

Well, okay. One somebody.

Or, rather, pinned her beliefs. Her expectations. Thoughts. Affections. Her fantasies….her…future?

Would that a bassoon and oboe would have something to offer, right about now. All the BBC shows featured them, and with remarkable effect. Everything progressed so nicely, immediately following those double reed interludes. All the plot development. The suspense. The dramatic climax. Even the resolution, so often banal, closed with that maddening woodwind cadence. You know. Over in the UK, where everything was neat, sweet, small and, seemingly, complete.

Yes. She could really use one of those banal BBC bassoons, right now.

Alas; NPR had already moved on to something that sounded like Haydn. Even the music couldn’t help her now. Back to that God forsaken pin board.

Now, whom did she believe, exactly?

Somebody other than herself, apparently.

Instead of turning her energies inward, toward the ineffable blessings bestowed upon her at birth, she chose to funnel herself through a very narrow opening that led to: somebody else. In fact, she’d poured herself into that somebody – figuratively, symbolically, emotionally – until there was nothing left of her, apart from the one in the picture. She called what she’d done “Us”, and already had Us traveling to Scotland, maybe Norway, even making music together, becoming that fabled, “two are better than one” coupling that she’d been taught would come along right as she had given up all hope.

Hope. Hope for what, exactly? Something that she could not find anyplace else?

Perhaps it was the notion that, two, when they made three, would make everything better, which had thrown her for the better part of the last forty four years. She wouldn’t get to find out, however, unless one counted the morning in December of ’85 when, upon awakening, doubled over in pain, crawling to the bathroom to vomit and then, to call her mother who, upon arriving, asked only if there were any chance she could be pregnant. She supposed it might have been several years hence before she realized that, even thought the test had come back negative, since she’d begun flowing within minutes of the blood draw there actually could have been a conception.

Perhaps it was the moment she’d relived a thousand times, thereafter. The child she almost had. The father unmistakable, a veritable unknown who, since he’d known her Biblically, had gone on to become the most celebrated home builder in the entire county. The biggest houses, in the most spacious developments, all his creation, where all the most affluent, stable families settled to grow old together.

Two didn’t make anything close to three, in her case. In fact, there weren’t two, back then. There was just one, and one. One, her; the other, without her. They’d diverged, never to see each other again, for decades.

But, did I just digress?

I believe so. Or, was it just your expectation?

Fodor. That’s what NPR just played. Somebody that just sounded like Haydn. Finally, air time, in the dead of night, when all the anonymous were listening.

Yes. She’d really believed that somebody other than herself would come to her, lift her out of her stupor, and offer that endless vista of expansive opportunity. It would be called love, and would make everything that hadn’t yet a reality, and anything that didn’t, well, better, anyway.

That’s not what happened.

Instead, at the eleventh hour, all the beliefs, expectations, hopes, dreams, and fantasies disappeared into the obscuring ether of a double standard called “choice”. One had it; the other didn’t. All that remained, when the sandstorm cleared, was: herself, alone.

And, so, she’d faced herself. And, becoming intimate with the totality of her purpose, she discovered that nobody else could have done that for her, anyway. You know. The choosing part.

And, so it had become time to choose to remove the pins.

Each one had left a tiny wound. Multiple pores, where feeling had been. Each microscopic tunnel, leading into her and through the other side where the attachment to the somebody had allegedly formed. Each a hidden vacuum, sucked shut as quickly as its pin was released, and with each disappearance taking the attachment itself.

There was no pinboard. There was just a story, told into her itching ears, taking up temporary residence in her head.

And, now was the time for all good listeners to turn off the radio.

Living, instead, had already begun.





© Ruth Ann Scanzillo


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