I stare into my coffee as if it will give me answers, a swirl of black coffee foaming from the press. It isn’t talking. Maybe some tea.

I’ve been here before–a cold, hard rock and a lost place. I am not a child. I sit paralyzed. The door annoys and the phone is an intrusion.

There is one thing that is tolerable. And as a child, music could soothe me. But which? Blues is too sad. Would jazz make me bitch-slap someone?

Ah, Brahms,my old friend.I smile and squeeze his hand. No,It must be Ludwig. Do understand. It is not you, it’s me. There is so much at stake.

No. 7. I take the album from its cover tenderly. I eye it critically for dust and scratches. As it begins, my shoulders relax. My eyes close.

By the time the third movement begins, I stir sugar into my coffee. The music fills the room and spills into the yard. I remember Vienna.

There is a knock. Shoulders stiffen. Eyes open. I walk to the door, my feet bare. My hair hasn’t been touched, an angry swarm around my head.

The turntable falls silent. I open the door. My neighbor holds a baby on her hip. In her hand is a wad of crumpled sheet music. “Is this yours?” Baby bounces.

I look over her shoulder, finding the yard white. Baby suckles. I take the music from her, nearly a ream in her claw-like hand. “Did it snow?”


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