Embrasse-moi quand tu voudras - fraumozart (2022)

Salzburg,
Holy Roman Empire,
1772.


a thousand verses were long written to you,
as my letters turn into tragic fiascos.
but to all of my pathetic "ich liebe dich",
you laughingly answer:
"danke".

I see him every day when he runs out of the house in the early morning, a little disheveled from the sleep. A blush glows on his cheeks, but Mozart always looks elegant and neat. He walks right through the rain puddles and grimaces, apparently having wet his shoes.

The Sunday market is spread out by the church school. The vendors are noisy; juicy red apples, pot-bellied like a fine Bavarian mug, are rolling around the tables; sugar-coated buns are plopping on the wooden countertops, they smell so delightful that one wants to stop in the middle of the old town square, and breathe in, inhale the sweet aroma of fresh pastries until they feel dizzy. Here I sell flowers that grow in abundance on the meadows — I pick modest tulips, lush dahlias and poppies, I collect white roses from our garden and carefully put them in a wicker basket. From the counters, shy daisies gaze upon those who don't mind giving away a few ducats for these delights. One of these people happens to be an elderly count who often buys camellias from me. Beautiful flowers without any fragrance, which the lady of his heart, obviously a young charming damsel, pins to her bodice. Once again, he smiles kindly at me, and instead of two gold ducats, holds out a whole handful — that is an unprecedented generosity.

I covertly observe how Mozart counts coins on his palm, hands them to a plump German lady who is rather advanced in years; she hands him the cooled bread and calls over the next customer. His smile is not wide, not childish, it barely touches his lips, although he is still such a young creature.

His name is Amadeus — beloved by God. And he is carved exactly according to God's pattern: the waist is fragile and slender, the shoulders barely protrude in breadth. His hair is never tucked under a powdered wig, and cursorily I admire the golden molasses of his soft curls. Usually the passing by ladies' hair is nothing but dry straw that they hide underneath tall wigs; but right there, I see ripe sunny wheat. The aristocratic shape of his nose, with a small hump, protrudes forward. His blue eyes burn me through. The heavy glance reaches my heart, turning it into black ashes. Violets grow in its place.

"Mother and father are expecting you for dinner today," Wolfgang says to herr Schachtner, a music publisher and his father's friend. Meticulously examining the dutch lace, he smiles at the young man and promises to come by five.
I hear the dark-haired Bavarian say to Wolfgang:

"As for the three sonatas for piano and violin, I will consider publishing them, if they are suitable."

"I have also finished my variations, I believe you shall find them to your taste." Mozart glows with joy.

At high noon, coming from the wide-open window on the third floor, the enchanting sounds of music reach the passers-by. I know — he rarely preludes, but immediately sets the right pace. An impatient staccato. I don't see his face this moment, but I'm sure that Wolfgang's eyes are closed, his fingers flutter freely over the keys. As if it wasn't a harpsichord at all, but some invisible threads, from which he weaves the semitones and sharps, turns them into a silk fabric of a melody.

I don't believe that such notions as notes still exist for him. It is impossible to imagine that Mozart thinks about notes when he composes his pieces. What are seven full octaves for him, what are scores for him? Everything that is imprinted in ink on paper, everything that I hear, standing under the windows of a gray stone house, has long been played inside Mozart.

Music lives in him, sprouts from the outside with thin branches, converges like a crown of thorns above his head.

The music gave you everything, and the music will be the death of you, Amadeus.

He plays an allegro, unhurried, calm, meek, like a doe darting under the warm sun. In a matter of seconds I find myself at home, in a village near Cologne; the Rhine splashes loudly under a narrow bridge, the sound of heels is heard, the rustle of satin skirts.

I write him a letter with a declaration of love that evening.

***

Today a snowstorm has been howering all day, the whole of Salzburg is wrapped in a strict white shroud, not a sound is heard on the narrow cobbled streets, only the trees creak painfully under the snow's weight.

The window panes are painted with an icy impression: they remind me of the patterns on Italian linen fabric, from which my mother usually sews dresses.

First I notice a slender tall shadow, only then — himself. He seems to be in a hurry, his movements are fussy, but the step is cautious; it's too easy to slip on the roads now. A narrow smoky-colored camisole emphasizes his natural elegance, the thinness of his hips, and I casually think: "what a dandy!", and then I rush after him, picking up the hem of my black dress, so it wouldn't interfere while I rush under the low city arches. I go by his breath, as by a saving thread in a labyrinth.

In ten minutes, Wolfgang is on the right bank, passing a long bridge. The new town is deserted and gloomy. But he does not have to go far, almost immediately he turns to the park alley, which leads straight to the residence of the archbishop. In summer, peonies bloom here, hyacinths blossom, girlish figures flicker among the white marble, sonorous voices sing, the violins play.

They say that as a child, Mozart would perform for the local high society, but now he writes more and more for the church only. They say that he has been entertaining the spoiled le beau monde his whole childhood — those well-groomed nobles, offsprings of the French rococo, who stained their wrists with rosewater and cosseted their skin with powder.

But Amadeus was not a buffoon. Not in my eyes.

He sits down on a black carved bench, and I freeze a few steps away from him, not daring to break the silence. Under the faded gloss, I see the dead beauty. Stone statues are motionless, tree branches don't sparkle with gilded leaves, only a snowy shroud covers the garden.

I want to get closer, look at Wolfgang, read the thoughts off his face. But he manages to get ahead of me. He turns to me, and I step back, all startled. His gaze is languid and hopeless, and his hands are trembling, as if they are looking for something. I clutch the letter in my hand.

"Tell me, do you hear the music?" Mozart asks quietly and looks at me. "It is gone. It is... dead."

I take a deep breath and slowly sit down next to him. We sit in complete silence for a while.

"Allow me to say, Wolfgang. May any organist or a violinist forgive me, but as long as you are alive, so is the music."

"You are always so kind to me, fraulein." His voice is full of quiet sadness. I turn to him and see how the snowflakes, floating in the frosty air, fall on his eyelashes and tangle in blond curly locks of his hair. His cheeks are flushed with cold.

"I'm in love with you." I say suddenly, and my voice trembles. I find the desperate courage to look into his blue eyes. He looks at me, with december in his gaze.

Then I lean forward and kiss him — his lips are cold, but he allows himself to drown in this aching tenderness for a moment. Amadeus touches my icy cheek with his fingers, strokes my smooth skin, carefully tucks silk curls behind my ear. There is nothing vulgar in his movements, on the contrary: in his every gesture there is chaste restraint.

"Danke." He breathes out, pulling back. Wolfgang takes my hand in his and kisses the back of it.

Not even a word escapes from my lips. I peer into his face for some time, then I hurry to leave.

Away.

***

A few days later, Mozart leaves for Vienna.
They talk about it in the city, casually dropping a phrase or two over an afternoon cup of coffee or a glass of schnapps; they say, the court organist finally went over to the Austrians, driven by the thirst for imperial gold.

The window on the third floor is still open, but as I pass by, I don't hear the harpsichord. Much later, I manage to find out that the Mozarts rent an apartment on the right bank, leaving the gray stone house on the Getreidegasse.

I feel a certain satisfaction, thinking about his future fate, at the same time I am seized by despair, similar to what I experienced, standing in front of Wolfgang in a silent snow-covered garden.

I enter the garden, stop next to the carved bench, and look under my feet — I see the blackened earth that is waiting for the first grass. The snow has melted.

I know that by the age of thirty he will meet a great success among the public; I know that the boy in a red camisole will win the hearts of people among the whole Europe. I know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will leave a trail, and that this trail will pierce many centuries.

And then the unhurried allegro is heard again, I see Mozart smiling, his eyes are closed, and his fingers touch the keys.

I still love him with all my heart.

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