It was on a breezy night – the moon high up in the sky and the hills in the distance blurred by nighttime fog and scarce clouds – that I heard it for the first time. It was music of the kind that I had never known before. Plaintive tunes, faint and distant, wafted through the windows into my room and held me captivated, completely spellbound. For a long, long while I just listened, motionless, and let the music take me away to other worlds with it. But soon, curiosity got the better of me and I sneaked out of the house in pursuit of the source of that enchanting melody.
I don’t even clearly remember how I found her. If you ask me to lead you up to that place now, I will not be able to. Even at that time I was not aware of moving. It was like the music was attracting me, hypnotizing me, compelling my feet to walk in the direction it came from. And it wasn’t long before I got to her. The woman. She stood on the edge of the cliff, facing the full moon, her hands playing the violin so effortlessly that it almost looked like she was not even aware of the brilliant music she was producing. She had not noticed me, for her back was turned, so I quickly hid myself behind the thick brambly bushes behind the cliff-top. For hours and hours she played, swaying to the music, and for hours and hours I listened, so quiet and so still, until it came to a point when for me, the music became ubiquitous.
I returned the next night. And the night after that one. And every night following the previous. The music would beckon me to pursue it, and I would do just that every single night. For some reason, the tunes were always the same – it was the same music that I heard every night and it was most definitely the best music in the world. The woman who played the music on her violin never noticed me, or so I thought, because she managed to ignore my presence every time I sneaked up to her on that cliff-top. Sometimes I would imagine myself in different places when the music played – in the most beautiful places in the world, just me by myself, in a peaceful place with the same violin music playing in the background. It was contagious. I soon found myself addicted to it. There never was a night that passed without me listening to the woman play her violin so skillfully and many a times I wondered whether I should talk to her, find out who she was and speak words of appreciation for her talent. But every time that thought provoked me, I shut it out, for I knew it would not be prudent for me to do so. It was much easier just to listen and listen for eternity.
But one night, many months after the time I first heard the music, something strange happened. The music did not come. I waited all night but the tunes that I had gotten so used to did not flow in through my bedroom windows. I went up to the cliff-top to find out why, but the woman was not there today. Instead, on the edge of the cliff where she used to stand, there was the same violin that belonged to her. I reached up to it and held it in my hands, immediately feeling a sense of pride and wholeness upon having had the privilege to hold a magic instrument like it. Beside it was a note. It said –
To the stranger who listens to my music every night, I leave my prized possession, my violin, in hopes that he shall find the love in its music the same way that I did, in hopes that he shall care for it the same way that I did.
It was overwhelming. A part of me was flustered at having found out that the woman always knew I was there, listening to her music, but that she never even let me know about that. But the other part of me was curious and inquisitive. What had happened to the woman? Why had she left this violin to me, a stranger? Why did she feel I would like to play it the same way she did? But there wasn’t time to find answers. I was already too busy tightening the bow hair, tuning the pegs and exploring the different world that its music promised to carry me to.