out of the ashes

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In The Garden

I discovered Aram Khachaturian recently! His ballet score of Spartacus. The adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia is magnificent. What an awesome composer. I tune in to Classic FM on iTunes mid-evening when I'm writing. They play a lot of really excellent music. Last night I went back to my lost files and found a chapter I'd written...I don't know...back in September of last year? Chapter 22 of the rewrite. I rewrote it again while listening to Spartacus. I haven't seen the ballet--somehow it seems odd that someone could write a ballet based on a gladiator. But the scene with Spartacus and Phrygia must be very beautiful, nonetheless. I miss concerts and the ballet, really.

Anyway, I like this one. Marvin has settled in at the mansion, Maribeth at his side constantly. Kind of a Spartacus and Phrygia love that will eventually develop.


Ten peaceful days passed after Marvin found himself placed on the permanent guest register at the Governor’s Mansion. In the basement, yes, but compared to his former address, the simple lodging was paradise. He lived quietly, immersed in reading every book Maribeth could get her hands on concerning the subject of genetics. She brought him many—better, she knew, than taking him out so that he could steal them.
Mornings found him scratching formulas and equations on a large blackboard he had asked his young friend to dredge up for him. The quaint paintings on the wall separating the bedroom from the bath had come down, and Robert was enlisted to hang the blackboard in their place. He did so, though not without a great deal of low grumbling and a visibly dour complexion.
The surface of the board quickly filled, top to bottom. The string of chemical notations and numbers was dizzying, and ran slightly downhill from left to right—due to a muscle weakness in his writing arm, and the weight of the chalk, he began to think. Why he wrote with the same irritating downturn on notebook paper mystified him, however, as this seemed to have no connection to muscles or the heaviness of the pencil. Marvin passed both off as mere idiosyncrasies of genius in the end. They had no logical connection in his mind to gene disorders. Over the days he had filled six spiral notebooks with a labyrinth of thoughts, speculations, hypotheses, dead-end equations, brilliant insights, and yards of hen scratching. Through all of this sometimes seeming uselessness, a beautiful, complex, basic instructional pattern was beginning to emerge.
Afternoons he spent in the domed gazebo near the rose garden of the south lawn, reclining on a chaise lounge reviewing his downhill notes, listening to the birds chirping, and the roughhousing of the dogs. Sometimes he could hear the grass growing. These were the hours he most enjoyed, and he had lately begun to visualize himself in a permanent setting just such as this. Someday…
The days were warm, lacking breezes, mostly, but the conifers and elms buffering the westward edge of the estate property cast a blanket of cool shadows across the grass and walkways and calmed the fierce workings of his brain. Maribeth brought him lemonade and chocolate chip cookies, and pleasant companionship. Robert kept a watchful eye on the mistress of the mansion, at a discreet distance, and quietly observed when she placed an arm around Marvin’s shoulder and laid her cheek on top of his head.

And then we go into Robert, the head servant's back story in New Orleans.....

...Eight years later, in 1978, he left Camilla Fornier alone and penniless in their rat infested apartment in Saint Bernard Parish with a final kiss on her brow, a single suitcase containing all his worldly belongings, and he moved west to Denver. There, fate was kinder to him. He met the young business upstart, Richard Harris. Richard hired him to maintain the home in the southeast neighborhood of the city; moved him into the small guesthouse at the rear of the property. One year later, Trish gave birth to the child he would come to love, and as the family climbed the steps to success, Robert devoted himself to them, especially the precocious little girl, more deeply with every season that passed. Until petite Maribeth turned sixteen and blossomed into a young woman and his feelings began to change. Despite himself, he could not help but notice—and wonder. There in her presence.
And alone in his room.

Marvin sat upright on the edge of the chaise, a notebook resting on his knees. He had taken to wearing baggy shorts with black socks and dress shoes, all of which made him look like a half dressed stork from the waist down. His legs were lily white and spindly; his knees, knobs of wrinkled flesh. Maribeth took a seat on a patio chair next to him after having brought his lemonade and cookies.
"You could use a little sun, Marvin. Put a little color in your skin." She chuckled. She wore a halter top, designer shorts--denim, cuffed at the bottom--and sandals. Her arms and stomach and thighs were a smooth field of light brown. Shadows played across her blonde hair and made it seem as though it breathed in the warm air. The difference between them was marked, and his eyes flicked to her the moment she uttered the comment.
Someday...Someday I'll have.....

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