On German lakes

we interrupt your regularly scheduled Prokofiev program notes with something that must be said.

[POI: a conversation where two people ask each other if there’s “any other unfinished business,” and the answer is, “of course,” but nobody dares utter it.]

dear _____,

One of my favorite memories with you is sitting on the edge of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German), close enough to the pewter-colored water to poke the swans squawking on the surface. You likely don’t remember it. A Cavalier King Charles spaniel bounced by. “It’s so regal,” you exclaimed, your voice hushed. “So English,” I agreed.

Things were untainted then, on that bench by the lake. I hadn’t yet loved you. You probably loved me, but you didn’t know it yet. You simply kept asking that I quiz you from your German notebook. Laid out maps for me in the morning before you left for class on the kitchen table, in case I got lost (I didn’t, thanks to your ever-meticulous instructions). Met me by the train station. Still slept on a board the third night because you insisted I have your mattress. When I think of the way you were kind to me those four days, in my ears I hear your voice: calm, assured, and steady, like marble.

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