As the evening came, the visitors left for supper, leaving her alone for the first time in 48 hours.
Sasha came to Aria’s bedside, alone. He convinced them to let him play his cello. He entered the room and examined Aria’s face. Flat and expressionless much like his own had been when they’d first met. Tuning his cello, he nodded to Aria and began to play. The piece was exquisite and haunting, another prayer as old as time: this one asking Aria to stay, a story told through music of a bad time, with the potential of hope. On Sasha’s contorted face a tear performed a slow dance along unexplored terrain. He did not attempt to wipe the tear away when he finished playing.
“Aria, if you decide to stay, you must find an anchor in this life. I was a mute until I was eight. Mom and Pops thought I was autistic too. I just didn’t want to be so different from Kiev I think I was waiting for him to catch up or open up. I was six years old when I discovered the cello. I thrived. A couple of years later I began talking in complete sentences and paragraphs, at home. But I chose to interface with the rest of the world through music, which was also the only way I could access what I thought was Kiev’s world. Not pictures or words, solely through music. Music is my anchor. And obviously the dark times still come.’ He examined the scars over his wrists. “You’ve got to find yours if you decide to stay.”
Sasha departed, the tear, not yet dry, still caressing his face.
Trish snuck in on a Sunday early afternoon. She entered the room trembling.
“Aria, why’d you take those drugs? Now everybody is blaming me. I sure don’t want anything to happen to you. Goodness, how bad would that look. Rudy and his
brothers are so much happier with you around. He would never forgive me. I could lose everything.”
Trish choked, then sucked in a steady stream of air.
“You became their gravity.”
Hands clasped, eyes closed, she rocked next to the bed, but left suddenly and abruptly.
Aria, from the beginning, had an understanding and surprising respect for Trish’s fundamentalist ways. She better than anyone, understood the danger that truth posed to made-up realities.
Eloisa didn’t visit, instead she built an alter from scraps she had extracted from the garden, in front of the small Ginkgo tree that Aria had given her as their meeting gift. She had a small bronze plate with the inscription “Do this in memory of me” placed on the front of it.