I knew something was wrong when Sasha didn’t come up to see me that day. He had finished playing and only silence remained, I waited and waited but he never showed up. At first I didn’t panic, this wasn’t the first time it had happened. Sometimes Margarita Vladimirovna wouldn’t fall asleep and he would stay playing music or talking to her. I generally tended to get very annoyed when this would happen, but there was nothing to be done. I peaked outside the window, waiting to see him leaving the house. I noticed one of the servants run from the house and soon he returned with the doctor and a priest. Right away, I realized something must have happened to Margarita Vladimirovna. If they had fetched the doctor and a priest, perhaps she was dying. It was about an hour later, that Sofia came into my room and told me that Margarita Vladmirovna had died in her sleep. It was all very sudden and my godfather was quite killed with the grief. I silently heard her out and nodded my head in condolence. I didn’t know anything about the lady; I had never seen her in my life so I found it hard to feel anything about the fact that she was dead.I did feel sorry for my poor godfather, as I knew had loved his mother very much.
But there was one thing that did make me very sad; with Margarita Vladimirovna dead, Sasha would no longer be needed in the house and that meant he would no longer be able to come see me. That night, I softly sang out the window, I could see him standing underneath it, like he had done for such a long, long time. I wondered if he missed coming up and talking to me. I wondered if he understood that he wouldn’t be able to come and see me anymore.
I wanted to call out to him, but didn’t dare, I might wake someone up and everything would get very awkward. At least I could still catch a glimpse of him at night. Things would go back to the way they had been before he had discovered where I lived, and though I would miss him, his smile, his sense of humor, his kind words and quick wit, still, at least there was a little part of him left in my life. I could try and be happy with only that.
The next day was the funeral, which of course I didn’t attend but I watched the sad possession out of my window. I thought back to my own parents who had also died so long ago. There had been no fancy funeral for them; my mother had burned in the fire, so had my brother, I didn’t know where they had been buried or even if they had been buried. Not like it really mattered to me. I would not have dared to venture out to visit the grave anyway. Since I had been placed in this room, I had never once left it. I was afraid of what would people think of me. I stayed on the safe side.
Only a two days after the funeral my godfather came to see me. By now my godfather was in his late forties, but still very good looking. Strong as an ox, with broad shoulders and strong hands; his hair and beard were a nut brown color, but I did notice that he had a bit of grey hair in a few inconspicuous places. He had the most clear blue eye ever and very handsome, smooth facial features. His voice was usually strong and calm, but when he got angry, the whole house shook. Even I, up in my little corner, would be able to hear him if he happened to go into rage, even if he was in a completely different part of the house. Today, as he addressed me, his voice was broken and sad.
“Marina,” he said, “tomorrow we are leaving to a different house in a different part of the city.”
I sat up straight in my seat, leaving? LEAVING? We couldn’t leave! That would mean that I would never, never see Sasha again!
“But why, how?” I asked him in a confused manner. A manner I am sure he didn’t understand. Honestly, why should it matter anything to me where I lived? One secluded room was no different from another.
“The you know I have another house located in a more convenient part of town. We have long been meaning to move there and settle in it as our permanent home. But my mother had been feeling weak and feeble and we felt it would be best till she gets better before we move. Now she is gone forever and I am planning to sell this house.”
“But...but I don't wish to move, I like it here. I am used to it here, I've grown accustomed to the way it is, please, Godfather, must we move?"
“Trust me my child, with time you will get accustomed to your new room. I had it prepared especially for you. It is large and very pleasant, with new furniture, I am sure you will like it very much. Sonya will pack you things. We leave tomorrow at the crack of dawn, I want to settle you in before the rest of the family goes there. Get some rest before the journey.” He placed kiss on the top of my head and then left the room. I had held back the tears until he had left, and then let them all come out.
There was no way for me to warn him about what was to happen, now way to tell him that I was leaving and where I was going. If circumstances had been a little different, I might have written him a note, telling him of my new location. But a note wouldn’t do the man any good to a man who couldn’t read; not to mention the fact that I didn't know where to send the note. I ouldn't ask my godfather, he hadn't known of Sasha's coming up to visit me and if I were to tell him, he would probably get very upset.. As for Sonya, I could have sent her, but I didn’t know where Sasha lived. I didn’t know where he worked. He had said it was at a public ball house, but which one? I hadn't the faintest idea as to where to find him in this large city. I felt so hopeless, there was no way I could even say a proper goodbye.
That morning at dawn, Sonya helped me into a coat and put a bonnet with a veil on my head. I hadn’t worn a coat and bonnet since the day my godfather had brought me to this room. My godfather picked me up and carried me down the stairs. I wouldn’t have been able to master the stairs on my own. Both of my legs being severely disfigured I could walk with a limp and going up and down staircases was in an easy or quiet task. It was vital that no in the house wake up and discover my presence. I was still a secret; I would always be a secret.
I had wished of leaving that room for so many years of my life, now I would have given anything to stay. Before I had had no reason care where it was I lived, now I had someone' someone who would miss me, someone who would worry about what had happened to me. I just couldn’t abruptly leave like this without warning him. But there was no turning back. Soon I was carried into my new room.
True to my godfather’s words was a little more spacious than my old one. There was a new bed and a new chest of drawers for me. It was light and the fresh. But I didn’t care for all this; I wished I was back in my old room where I could see Sasha out of my window. That night, I didn’t sing, somehow I just didn’t have the heart to. I thought of my poor Sasha standing by the window of my old home. He was probably wondering what on earth happened to me. Why I just suddenly disappeared, why I was silent? What would he think of me, would he think that I had flown away? I once told him I was a nightingale with clipped wings, perhaps he would think that now my wings had ‘grown back’ and I had traveled somewhere else. The next night I was silent as well, I didn’t care to sing at all anymore. Somehow I felt bad singing here while Sasha was waiting for me there.
I would sit at night and look out my window, wondering how he was. Was his cough getting better? He had been coughing a lot of late and I had been very worried. He had always brushed it aside, saying the damp October air always had this effect on him. That could very well be true, but he had been coughing for two weeks and it wasn’t getting any better. Was it getting worse? Did he have money for a doctor? What if he got too sick to work? What would become of him and of Martha Ivanovna? They wouldn’t be able to pay the rent if he didn’t have work! Would they be kicked out of their home? What would they eat? Where would they sleep? All these fears clouded my every day. I would never see him again, I knew that for sure, and because I would never see him again, I felt that it would be right to tell him all about me. But there was no way to do that! I would forever remain a mystery to my blind admirer.
Perhaps it was for the better after all. I would be a pleasant, beautiful memory. To be remembered as something lovely, what more could I have asked for? This was the only thought that kept me going those long days and nights, days and nights that were always silent. What was the point of singing if Sasha wasn’t there to hear me? I would just sit by the window for long periods of time and silently watch the world pass me by.
Your nightingale doesn’t sing anymore, Alexander. The nightingale of the city had fallen silent. She has lost her voice and forgotten her song and I don’t believe she will ever be able to find either again.
End of part II
So there we have it, we know who the Nightingale is and we know what has become of her....but I'm sure you are all wondering what now? Will the two of them ever meet again? Are they destined to remain apart, will Alexander ever find out who Marina is and discover her terrible secret?
Stay in tune for Part III of The Nightingale of St. Petersburg. :)
(oooh, and every time any of you click that star and/or leave a comment, that really makes my day :) )