The Cellist

Dimitri stood on a door step in a suburban neighborhood on a quiet Sunday afternoon. He pulled a piece of paper from his tuxedo jacket and checked the numbers on the house, and then checked his watch. He pounded a sinewy fist against the door. A crash came from inside. And then the sound of furniture being moved, and then another crash, and then footsteps growing louder, until: The door swung open. A man wearing a small pink bathrobe stood in the door. His eyes were red and burned like embers. There was ketchup in his beard and mustard in his mustache.

“Hi…” said Dimitri, a little taken aback, “Does Simon Jennings live here?”

“That’s me,” said Simon, his voice was dry and low.

“You, uh, you bought a cello performance–last year at the fund raiser auction. I was told that the performance was for this afternoon.”

Simon thought for a moment, “Yeah. Alright. Come in.”

The hallway from the front door was littered with wrappers and greasy pizza boxes. In the living room there was a tipped-over coffee table, a couch that was covered in dirty clothes, and a bookcase that held only empty bottles of beer. The carpet had stains that were beginning togrow mold .

“You can get started in there,” said Simon pointing to the living room, “What’s wrong? You look confused.”

“I usually play private events…”

“Well, I paid for an hour of your time so get to it.”

Dimitri unpacked his music stand and his music, and grabbed a wooden chair that laid on its side. He propped up his cello and began to tune. Meanwhile, Simon banged around dishes in the kitchen. Dimitri then took out his bow and held it out in the air for a moment as he stared at his music sheet. Then, suddenly, he brought the bow down upon the strings. Were there any small creatures nearby (not a remote possibility) they would have ran from the rapid growl that was produced.

Simon came in to the room holding a large mixing bowl full of milk and cereal. He dragged his feet to his couch and sat upon the layers of garbage and laundry. He faced away from Dimitri and showed little interest in what he was doing.

Dimitri, wearing a pristine black tuxedo, played masterfully in the dank, chaotic mess of the living room. From the cello resonated the deep, gravely tones of a lecturing father one moment, and then bounced with levity as he played pizzicato the next, followed by the warm, syrupy tones of the cello’s upper register. But, as with all cellos, there was also the ever-present undertone of tragedy.

The instrument sympathized with the room, and the room began to transform. The pieces of food and garbage began telling tales of high hopes that were crushed; the stained curtains told their tale of betrayal; the empty bookcase spoke of its trials, and the coffee table told of it’s tribulations. The room was no longer a chaotic mess, but a beautifully tragic scene. Where dignity was lost grandeur was gained.

That is, until the music stopped and Dimitri went home.