The Music of Affairs
This may sound as awfully predictable to you — if not utterly boring: having an affair with your piano
teacher. How many books have you read, how many movies have you seen where a common passion for
music developed a sticky side, hot and a little off key, only to dwindle when the music was all played and
Yet, it happened.
Miss Lydia was a slender, greyish creature; she seemed to have just stepped out from one of those sepia-
faded pictures that people usually keep on their piano as an excuse for not playing: “We mustn’t disturb
Grandma, you know, she always feared drafts...”
Her big eyes, in which the colour seemed to have been desaturated by the clever application of a Photoshop
tool, had that dreamy quality that some artists have, giving the impression that their reality isn’t located in
your world but somewhere else entirely, a quality which makes you want to grab and shake them or — as in
this case — to lose yourself in the faint pool of luminosity that comes from within. In such a mind, depth
must be found per force, even if just a sterile extent of desert dunes.
The usual hoax.
Fittingly enough, when I first seized her, I found that she smelt like a piece of music — Shubert’s “Trout” to
be precise—an odd mix of a fishy smell that may have come from the binding on her score book with a
musty scent of decayed paper like something a bookworm might have chewed on melancholy for a while and
discarded for a more substantial cantata. A woman made of paper, with a taste of something — animal — in
I looked for that animal but could only find a wet fish.
I searched for the depth within but faced an empty room, a dusty attic abandoned by its occupants while
moving on to a rosier place.
Frantic for the passion I knew must be somewhere — how could she play without it? — I rumpled and
crinkled and ruffled her paper-thin skin, leaving hungry bruises, sparks that should have but did not spread
I became desperate.
That’s all I can say.
She was too fragile for music.
Her books were sturdier—they gave me a hard time when I tried to set them alight.
She burnt without a flame.
Nathalie Boisard-Beudin is French yet currently living in Rome, Italy, working by day
as in-house lawyer for the European Space Agency and by night scribbling furiously,
with results being published in the multi national anthology "Wonderful World of
Worders" (Guildhall-Press) in 2007 and, on-line, in Six Sentences, Crime and
Suspense, Micro Horror, Pen Pricks Micro Fiction, Qarrtsiluni and Membra Disjecta.