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| | |-+  The Agnostic Violinist: Chapter Three
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Author Topic: The Agnostic Violinist: Chapter Three  (Read 1612 times)
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« on: January 03, 2007, 08:16:55 PM »

                                                                                                                              The Agnostic Violinist

                                                                                        The account of the conversion of Josprel’s parents.     
                                                                                                                                         Chapter Three
When he arrived home from his visit to Broszi, Tony paced the floor absorbed in thought.  Sara surmised that something had happened, but asked no questions, waiting for him to speak. Finally, Paul told her everything.

"If he hadn't quit I could have overlooked everything else," he exclaimed, "Friends always have their differences.  We always got over them before.  Sure he teased me; but I teased him too!  What really makes me mad is his quitting!

"Now he's religion crazy!  He's so holy he can't play in the orchestra any more!  'I've given up the kind of life I use to lead,' he told me; like he's joining a monastery;  like, all of a sudden, his God is going to strike him dead for being in the orchestra!  Can you imagine that?"

Then, waggling one of his forefingers at his wife, he declared: "Believe me, honey, if his God wanted to strike Broz dead, He has more reasons than I can count!  He doesn't need the orchestra as a reason!

Lowering his hand, he continued, "You know, if he had stayed, he would have pestered me to visit that church with him; and, nincompoop that I am, I probably would have gone - just to make him happy!"

Sara looked up from her ironing with a scowl.  Unlike Paul, she was devoted to her church.  She was shocked that Broszi and his family had "changed religion."  According to her view, what their former friends had done was unforgivable! 

"Don’t you dare!" she exclaimed, "I'm glad he quit! Don't you ever go to that church; even if you do see him, again!"

"Don't worry, Sara," her husband assured her, "I told him it has to be an accidental meeting.  In a city this size that will never happen!"
The new drummer was working out fine and the orchestra was doing better than ever.  Yet, for Paul things just weren't the same.  A malignant tumor had developed on Sara's neck.  The doctors wanted to operate, but refused to offer assurances.

As he had told Sara, the chance of an accidental meeting with Broszi in a city of some two million people was remote.  He hadn't seen The Percussionist for several months.  Though still angry with him, it still felt strange not to have him as his confidant.  He knew the big man and his wife would have been as concerned for Sara as he was.  Paul missed them.

Like now for instance - before the rift, he would have asked Broszi to drive downtown with him, to help shop for this expensive orchestra equipment.  They would have consulted together on the best quality.  And, possibly, they would have picked up Sara and Grace for dinner.  Instead, Paul went alone.

After making arrangements for the delivery of his purchases, Paul entered the parking lot. He noticed a new book store had opened across the street.  An avid reader, he walked over and entered the well-stocked shop. Like him, several others appeared to be checking it out, too; but Paul paid them no mind.  At the rear he noticed shelves and bins filled with hundreds of old books. Old books were his hobby.

He had been browsing for a while, when someone brushed against him.  Making an apology, without looking up, Paul  moved to clear the passage.

"Hello Paul!" The Violinist  tensed, but kept his eyes glued to his book.  That voice was unmistakable!

Again, the voice spoke. "Hello Paul!"

This time Paul turned. The big man's hand was extended for a handshake.  But The Violinist did not reciprocate.  Remaining silent, he noticed Broszi looked well.  The season was warm and, like Paul, he wore slacks and a sport shirt.
Withdrawing his hand, Broszi inquired about Sara.  “Grace and I heard about Sara.  Our whole church is praying for her to get well.” 

Still Paul's silence continued, creating an atmosphere of awkwardness.  “Here he is talking about religion again!” he mused to himself.

At last he spoke.  With cutting sarcasm he asked, "Did your God tell you I was here, or did you sniff me out on your own?"

"This meeting is completely accidental, Paul.  You know I’d never lie to you."

Paul knew that was true.  Broszi had a lot of faults, but lying wasn’t one of them - if deceiving his wife wasn’t factored into the equation.   At any rate, Sara was the only one who had known that he had gone out. More to the point, he had not known about the new book store, so how could Broszi know he would be there?

"I suppose now you expect me to visit that church," he stated, bitterly. 

"No Paul. What I did was wrong.  I was totally out of line.  It's a wonder you didn't hit me.  I told my pastor what I did, and he said I was wrong to force the promise from you.”

“Well, at least he has more sense than you do,” Paul replied.

 “I was wrong, Paul. I release you from your promise."

"Oh!  You were wrong!  And, you release me!   How kind you are!"

Ignoring orchestra leader’s dripping sarcasm, The Percussionist responded, "Yes, I was wrong.  I have no excuse, Paul, except maybe my ignorance.  Please forgive me."

Paul stared, slack jawed. To his astonishment, Broszi’s eyes were brimming with tears. In all the years they had chummed together, the only time Paul had ever seen his former friend cry was when he and Grace almost lost their son to a swimming accident.  Even then, the brawny man hid in a corner.  But, these tears were flowing openly; in public. 

The Violinist felt uneasy - plagued by vague sense of cruelty.  His sarcasm dissolved.

Again, The Percussionist’s hand was proffered.  This time it was grasped. Pulling the smaller man to him, Broszi embraced him, and Paul could feel tears welling in his own eyes. 

Releasing him, Broszi stated, "Paul, Grace and I really miss you and Sara.  Can we visit you?"

"No, I don't think that's such a good idea.  Frankly, Sara wants nothing to do with you since you changed religion." 

Broszi nodded his understanding.
"Brosz . . . about  . . . that . . . promise,” Paul began hesitantly, “I . . . I . . . just . . . I just . . . Well, you know that I always try to keep my promises, and I wouldn’t feel right about not keeping this one,” The Violinist finally blurted out, “I've been limiting the orchestra to local gigs because of Sara's treatments.  So I have a few open nights.  When's your next mass?"

"Our church is having services every night. They start at seven-thirty. I really want you to attend, but not because of the promise."

At first, Paul stared at Broszi with disbelief.  Then his response to Broszi’s disclosure fairly exploded from him, "EVERY NIGHT!! YOU’RE GOING TO CHURCH EVERY NIGHT?!?”

Coupling amusement with befuddlement at his own change of life-style, Broszi responded, "Yeah Paul; ain’t that a shocker; who’d of believed it?"

Paul shook his head in bewilderment. "Give me directions to the church. I'll meet you there tonight, so I can get that promise out of the way."

Broszi wrote out the directions.  "I'll be waiting in front of the church," he promised. And, with a final handshake, the two separated.
                                                                                                                       Continued in Chapter Four

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