This morning my Sunday looked quite promising. I was done with all the usual weekend stuff and was looking forward to go to lunch with my son. He is an intelligent young man and I enjoy my conversations with him. Even more so since last Fall when he took the course on Marx. And I like going to Hyde Park, the neighborhood, particularly the campus, has that smell of Ivory Towers so dear to me.
The minor nuisance was that I had to drop my daughter at her dance class; her studio is near Bucktown, some twenty minutes north of Hyde Park. I say minor because she is, since she started snowboarding this winter, almost bearable. You can even catch the glimpses of the sweet little girl, sweetest in the world, that she used to be only two years ago.
So we sat in the car and soon were on the highway. Cars around us are covered with that grayish salt dust, but the day is sunny, not too cold, around minus ten (degrees C, thanks God), not to much of a traffic. Even the music that she is playing is not so bad. I'd rather listen to some of my stuff but, hey, na mladima svet ostaje. Suddenly she tells me, listen Dad, this is new Joseph's solo! The number starts, and the piano, and although it sounds vaguely familiar it hits me really hard. Suddenly it feels like some giant fist squeezed my hart and my lungs into the tiny ball of burnt wire. And although my chest feels smaller than the seed of sesame my memories open wide. I find myself sitting, on a lazy early summer afternoon on the coast of the Adriatic sea, mesmerized with the dance of the light on the waves of the shallow sea. You know, that dance that ends the travel that started on the Sun less than ten minutes ago. That dance that starts when the light, a split second after it penetrated the restless needles of the Mediterranean pines, touches equally restless waters of Adriatic coast. That moment when it becomes completely irrelevant if the light is particles or waves or whatever else it could be because it transcends into the pure beauty. I sat mesmerized and quiet for 3 minutes and 51 seconds, and once the song and the piece of my Youth were gone I started breathing again. I didn't dare to ask Hana to play it again; I knew that I would start crying. And 15 year old girls have enough problems of their own, they really don't need to be so brutally confronted with the fact that their fathers are reduced to nothing more than sentimental old fools.
Luckily, we're soon at the studio, bye Dad, bye Honey, I'll pick you at eight...and I'm on the road to Hyde Park. Good that the drivers on Kennedy are beaten into the apathy either by the magnificence of the Chicago skyline, or by being deadly tired or by boredom or whatever, and nobody pays attention to the grey-haired driver that weeps in his car. Just blocks before my son's dorm I wipe my eyes and put a previous number on. He's waiting for me and he enters the car just in time for the number. Nonchalantly, desperate effort can produce miracles, I tell him: Oh, btw, listen to this, what do you say? He starts listening, hears the piano, initially is a bit disappointed when he realizes that it is not a classical piece (he's, for his age, plenty weird too) and then he listens for a moment or two and then starts talking about the water and the light and the restless pine needles and...I love him even more, if possible, at that moment.
The food in the restaurant was good, typical Mediteranean (when it rains, it pours), we talk about this and that, he injured his knee playing soccer, organic chemistry can sometimes be boring, he didn't hear Obama's speech but he will check on you tube, he knows that Holbrooke is Envoy for (to?) Southern Asia, does it mean Afghanistan?... The music and the light and the dance are not mentioned once. Soon he's back in dorm and I'm again on my way, alone in the car. The God is merciful, the traffic jam is there in its full glory, it takes me more than hour and half to home. And 90 divided with 3:51 is more than twenty...
Not that it is important but I knew that the music was
familiar. And that afternoon could be one of the lazy afternoons of summer of 1978 at Hvar...