My bottom having left its place in order for me to mark the score with a new bowing, moved to sit back down and missed, as if someone had played a prank and moved the chair.
Luckily, I managed to save my cello from the crash by holding it high, though my ‘seat’ got a bit of a battering.
A few days later, as I admired the muscled arms of the winter plane trees reach out over the Salzach, I realised I had tears in my eyes. I craved sinewy limbs around me. I needed bunched tree-fists to protect and stand up for me. I could not get rid of the feeling that I was moving to sit but tumbling into emptiness.
During the concerts I had a desk partner around whose sound I could wrap mine like mace around nutmeg and she helped me climb back into the music. The music, in turn, acquired muscle, reached out and held me. Whatever bruises to the ego, lashes to pride, whatever sense of injustice and misunderstanding, amongst whatever untruths or jealousies, the music coiled up through me and undid the noose. Though I was in pieces, I realised yet again that the music was indestructible; that it was in fact, as I sat broken at the bottom of the wall like Humpty Dumpty, performing a stunning act of reconstructive surgery on me night after night.
Walking off stage, I could feel the wounds prizing me open again, and the old familiar cry welling up. Like a child in the corner of the playground who has not been picked, I wailed:
‘All I want to do is play’.