The Dancing Violinist

She really should have inspected the flat more carefully before signing the contract, because on the first night she realised that the room was actually on fire. At night it was tolerable and the flames were not too hot, but usually in the evenings she had to strip down to withstand the heat.

After a while she got used to it and felt quite liberated walking around with no clothes on. Sometimes she tried to read in a corner where the flames did not reach, but more often she danced, arms high above her head, swaying her hips, swirling around and making sudden kicks, jumping over and around the flames as though they were just rocks.

Other times she played sad melodies on the violin and watched darkness descending into town. She began to get admirers who stayed outside casually taking walks on the other side of the street where they might catch a glimpse of her dancing, but nobody dared to approach her. She complained to her friends that it was not her fault, she was perfectly normal, it was just the flat playing tricks on her. But the friends soon stopped listening and suddenly she was all alone, a lighthouse in a sea of flames.

It was getting more and more difficult for her admirers to see her because her body was becoming effulgent and crimson from all the dancing and they could no longer distinguish her from the flames. It looked like she had become invisible in her own flat, but when she went out to walk by the river people stared and walked across the water to a safe distance because they could see little flames around her mouth and eyes, and dogs barked so furiously that their owners got quite frustrated.

But among her admirers there was a boy, there always is one, who stayed behind when all the others were gone. He did wait to see the apparition of her naked body in the window, just like everyone else, but what he really wanted was to hear her violin.

He played the cello himself and one day when everyone else was either dead or eating toast he gathered his courage and asked to play counterpoint for her. It was not that exciting at first, rather too mechanical, but the longer he stayed in her flat the more he learned to let go.

The walls of the flat are very thin and often I lie awake at night listening to the music they make. It is so beautiful that it still makes me weep in gratitude.