Tune the Violin
Her eyes closed and Wesley watched Raisa Katerina Orlov sleep, her chest rising and falling slowly, his hand still holding hers. The nurse tapped him on the shoulder, whispering that he could come back in two hours.
He needed to get back to the Hoover - finish some paperwork - tidy his desk and hurry back to the hospital. Too much was happening too fast and he needed some fresh air - needed to see if the world outside was as he left it or if he had wandered into some dreamlike state - never to return again.
It was quiet at the Hoover at this hour. Few people worked past 5PM and Wesley was grateful. He had too much to do and he craved solitude. Marta had left for the day - a note in her handwriting sitting on top of a stack of messages. He scanned them - nothing that needed his immediate attention. There was a reminder of the Orlovsky funeral to be held the next day. His agent had succumbed to the cancer, dying peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family and friends. Wesley planned to be there. It was expected of him and he wanted to see Myka Orlovsky again although he wasn't sure why.
He sorted the files on his desk - pulled the ones that needed his immediate attention and stacked the remainder to the side for another time. Working steadily, he read, made notes for Marta's attention, and finally completed the small stack. Rising, he stretched his sore muscles and looked at his watch. "Damn! It's 9:30! I hope they'll let me in to see her?" Grabbing his jacket, he raced out of the Hoover. "They damn sure better let me in!"
Raisa was sleeping but the nurse took one look at Wesley's face and felt it was in everyone's best interest to let him into the patient's room. "Don't wake her," she admonished.
"She might wake up when she senses I'm there," he said softly.
"Understood," the nurse smiled. "Just don't sing any arias or dance a polka and disturb everyone."
"Understood," he smiled and entered Raisa's room.
The moment he touched her hand she opened her eyes. "Sergei," she whispered.
"I'm here, barushka," he said softly, stroking her soft cheek. "Tell me about our first time together... in Atlantis."
"It was our beginning," she smiled at her soul mate.
Sergei, youngest son of Skogi and Anya loved the harvest festival. It was the best time of year. The crops were in, the weather was mild, the wine flowed and the beautiful single women performed the dances that bespoke their unmarried state. A few weeks short of his twenty-fourth year, he had finished his mandatory studies and his mentor had reminded his parents that it was time for Sergei to take a bride. Life was good.
Sergei wanted a bride. He wanted a life partner. He wanted children - a family. Mostly, he wanted what his parents had - a deep and long lasting relationship, a wife who would be his lover - friend and companion - and mother to their children - in that order. She was sitting in the audience not far from the dancers. Sergei thought she was beautiful and he moved forward to take a seat a few rows closer to her.
She's alone - no bonding rings on her fingers.
He watched her instead of the dancers, admiring her trim figure, her curly brown hair that hung to her waist and the most wondrous eyes. Amber... beautiful.
Two of the dancers approached her when they exited the stage, still breathing heavily from the energy they spent dancing. He heard bits and pieces of their conversation, the sounds of their voices sweet.
"Kat! Why are you sitting here watching? You should dance with us. You'll never get a husband if you don't," one of them teased.
"Don't want one," she answered tartly. "Husbands are too much work. They make demands."
"Your parents will want you to wed. If you don't dance and pick out your own mate, your father will do it for you."
Kat knew that was true and dreaded it.
"He'll insist you marry an older man - one who can tame your wild ways," they continued to tease.
"Why can't I just live on my own?" Kat moaned. I play the violin very well. I can earn my way through life."
"You dance very well, too. Come," they pulled her to her feet. "Come dance with us, just one dance."
She let them pull her onto the stage and join the dance in progress. It was an energetic one - their pretty limbs moving rapidly and very much on display. Kat and her friends were individual whirlwinds of motion - their bodies carrying them through the intricacies of the dance - their perfect rhythm synchronized one with the other - like some pre-arranged ballet. When the dance was almost over, only four remained to dance the sequence of steps necessary to complete the ritual of the season. It required slow, sensuous and perfect movements and only the most skilled dancers were able to complete the last measured pattern.
Kat was one of very few who had trained at this level and one of very few capable of completing the sequence so artistically. Aficionados of the annual dances were startled to see her on stage. She rarely danced outside the training area and only a few outside of her immediate circle had actually seen her dance. They were enthralled with her performance.
So was Sergei.
Shouts of "Brava!" and "More!" and "Encore!" filled the arena. Flowers were thrown onto the stage. Young men rushed to the front to shout their proposals of marriage. Kat blushed and exited stage left, away from the other dancers - in a hurry to leave the area - and stumbled down the stairs - and into Sergei's waiting arms.
Kat looked up into the eyes of the man who caught her. Sergei looked back into hers. And time stood still.
Whatever dreams, expectations or misconceptions they had about what life had in store for them flew out of their heads. Nothing else mattered. The many gods of the universe smiled on them as their eyes locked on each other, their bodies touching while their souls communicated instantly and their destiny began to unfold.
From this time forth they were meant to be - in this lifetime and in all the lifetimes to come - they were one. There would be times when they would find each other early in life - sometimes, late. Occasionally, they would misstep in time and forfeit that life to another. Always, when that happened, they would go through life uneasy - not quite settled - wishing for something else - unfulfilled - seeking happiness in the wrong places with the wrong people - never quite satisfied with their lot in life.
And when they did meet - in time to conjoin - couple - mate - and wed... the gods smiled again - enjoying their union, knowing they had caused it, rejoicing in their power and the glory that was theirs to create.
This beginning was theirs - Sergei's and Kat's. The lifetimes that followed were in the gods' hands and at their mercy. The gods were not always merciful.
It was why love was created. A man and a woman - loving and enjoying each other. Their lives were one long, harmonious union - filled with joy, an extension of their souls - two halves that matched, merged, and together were one.
And the gods were jealous.
"Did we have a long life together, barushka?" Wesley asked, his voice soft, his eyes filling, his joy short lived, bitter and sweet.
"Yes, my love," Raisa murmured. "Very long and loving."
"We missed each other this time. Now we have to wait again. I'm not sure I can bear it," the man beneath the AD fašade whispered, his heart aching unbearably. He squeezed her hand and cupped her cheek, his fingers absently brushing the silver-gray hair behind her ears.
Wesley no longer wondered at his sanity. He watched her as she spoke, seeing her as she was, catching glimpses of the girl she had been in Atlantis and the bride he had made love to in Russia. There were glimpses of other incarnations - he had vague memories of them but couldn't recall the details. One thing was certain. They were not going to share this lifetime together and he felt an emptiness that gnawed at him, draining his life force.
"Sergei," her voice began to fade. "I must rest now. Come back tomorrow. My time is short and I have more to tell you."
He kissed her brow and watched her drift into sleep, sitting by her side until the nurse tapped his shoulder and made him leave.
"She's important to you," the nurse said simply.
"Very," he replied and knew it was true.
He removed his jacket and shoes and lay back on the bed, exhaustion taking its toll, and sleep instantly claiming him.
He hovered over the fire, the flames tickling his toes, amazed he wasn't burning, and remembered he was dreaming. Slowly, he drifted down and to the side of the fire as a violinist raised his bow. The man was in shadows, vague and indistinct. He placed the bow across the bridge of the finely carved instrument, standing motionless until the dancer appeared.
She appeared as Wesley blinked, tossed her long silvery braid over her shoulder, clapped her hands and struck a pose. She bowed her head when the music washed over her and then rose on her toes and spun in circles, her tiny steps following the beckoning call of the violin.
Wesley watched - wondering again why he was here - in this place of mystery and secrets. He was missing something - some significant clue, perhaps, a distant memory. Probably so obvious I'm sitting on it, he groused.
He looked up when she sat in front of him, a smile on her face and a gentle hand on his arm.
"Sinovia?" he asked, not sure now that her face was young again.
"I am who I am, Sergei," she said softly. "I am who you want me to be."
"I want you to be Sinovia, my spirit guide. I want you to tell me why all of this," he gestured around him, "is happening to me. I want to know why you gave me Raisa at a time when there was no chance of..." His voice faltered, his throat choked with emotion and his eyes filled.
I've gone off the deep end, he moaned. I've lost it - my sanity, my grip on reality - gone, all gone.
Sinovia cupped his face with both hands and bestowed a tender smile on him. "You want me to be Sinovia and I am, Sergei. As for all this and all that you now remember, everything will be clearer to you when the time is right. You must wait a little longer."
"I don't have a lot of patience," he huffed, getting his emotions under control.
She laughed. "No, you don't."
"Raisa is going to die soon, isn't she?"
"Yes," she said, somber again, "but not before she tells you what you need to know."
She didn't pretend not to understand his question and she didn't lie. "Before she dies, Sergei, take a lock of her hair. When the time comes, I'll tell you what to do with it. Have her buried in a cemetery that is close enough for you to visit.
"She will come back to you sooner if you do."
"She'll come back to me? When? In this life? The next one?" His voice was harsh and he choked back more tears. "Why?" he shouted at her, his hands reaching out to shake the old woman. "Why did I meet her now - when it's too late for us? Why?"
His shouting woke him, propelling him to a sitting position and he cursed when he realized he was in his bed, still dressed. The dream had been fruitless - no answers - more questions - more frustration. He was drained.
The funeral for Agent Orlovsky was somber and fortunately, it was brief. Wesley wasn't sure how long he would be able to mask his emotions - Raisa's funeral was just around the corner - this was a prelude.
The agent's wife placed roses on the wooden casket, a few drops of morning dew bubbled on the polished surface like freshly dropped tears. It was over, it was done, he could pay his final respects and leave.
The resonating notes of a violin startled him. The bass notes rumbled down - over and across the coffin as it was lowered into the ground - the higher notes lingering in the air, death's song accompanying the body to its final resting place. Wesley looked across the lawn at the violinist, Myka Orlovsky. Her arm was held high, the elbow at a precise angle, just below her shoulder - her forearm thirty-five degrees perpendicular to the violin - an extension of the bow. Myka's eyes watched her father's coffin descend - slowly - as if it were a living thing loath to leave the surface of the earth - its movements lulled by the haunting notes she played.
Wesley blinked. The tune was familiar but he couldn't quite place it and he closed his eyes, all his concentration on the monody. And then he knew! It was the violin song from his dreams - a different cadence, a different tempo, but the notes were the same!
His eyes flew open and he stared at Myka Orlovsky who caught his eye as she struck the bow against the strings... who suddenly looked like Sinovia... who arched a brow at him... whose hair turned silver, then gold, then brown, then silver, then...
He blinked again and watched Sinovia, then Myka, appear and disappear... and reappear... and he knew he was truly mad - obsessed - haunted - and terrified!
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