The Seat Where Mr. Fiedler Sat *FIRST THREE CHAPTERS*

Each morning, the girl would see Mr. Fiedler on the number thirteen tram, seated on the same left-hand side window seat as the morning before and every morning as far back as she could remember.
This is the story about a young girl named Wilda, who sees her teacher on the tram to school every morning; a teacher who loves music and stories and making children smile. This is a story about a poor country and some powerful, scared men and time and how it changes. It is a story about fear and friendship and forgiveness.
So, yeah. Just read it.
It's my entry for the "Young Movellist of the Year". Please comment and stuff. I'm only posting 4 chapters, but please tell me if you would like some more.
Peace and stuff. :)
EDIT: I'm not submitting this for the competition. I want to share the rest of the story with Movellas. I'm not sure how many likes I'll get, seeing as there is no "One Direction" based explicit content, but I'll see how things go. Thanks guys.


3. The Classroom

If anybody had bothered to ask, (which, in case you’re wondering, they don’t), I would have told them that they’re cold: the stories. I find them iced and chapped, and then warm them in my pocket, until eventually I can crack them open. This story was like that. It bit my fingers at first, and then began to de-frost and speak to me. There is always some fear in the beginning. In the best stories, it gets taken away and replaced by laughter. And the best laughter? The laughter of children. Of course, they smell terrible, eat their own snot and run around with poo in their nappies for hours, but if anyone knows how to smile, it’s a child. Their laughs cure blindness, stop wars and, above all, throw away prejudice and first impressions.

Now, shall we continue?

Wilda found herself squashed between a clump of other over-sized uniforms, lined up against the inside wall of her new classroom. Inside was warm and carpeted, with various maps and charts that dotted the wall. It wasn’t home, but it smelt of musk and cool milk and there was a shelf with books like “A Child’s guide to Bird Spotting” and “Hilda’s Red Balloon”. There was a large oak-wood cupboard in the corner of the room, that housed an assortment of welcoming pastels and crayons; a fat-bottomed stove near the door that crackled and flaked each time a whimpering gasp of wind seeped through the cracks in the frosted window. Near the front desk, there was a piano; a small one, albeit, but it looked loved and worn, with cherry-wood glossing and clean curves; and row upon row of desks for each of the blossoming uniform-flowers, that stood in a row, stiff and timid. Their gazes were fixed upon the sterile, sparse blackboard that dominated the left wall of the classroom. Greetings, it grinned at them, its white chalk teeth like a shark’s, I am your worst nightmare. This particular blackboard was a psychopath, you see. It had devoured the living souls of many seven year olds in its lifetime and was not planning on an early retirement. But, glued in the middle of the line of children, was a girl with a smile. Wilda read the name that was written, in a tall, slanted script upon the schizophrenic blackboard. It read: “Welcome, Class” and beneath that: “Herr Fiedler”.

The classroom door opened. Mr. Fiedler, the man-from-the-tram, walked in, briefcase in hand, and settled down by the front desk. “Good morning, children, I’m Herr. Fiedler. I will be your teacher for this year.” His suit seemed to complement his creased, speckled face so well that Wilda was convinced he had been born in a tweed elbow patched jacket, with pressed tan trousers. “I’ll take the register, now. In fact, seeing as it’s such a glorious day,” The man motioned towards the shrouds of gathering black clouds out the window, “I think that I’ll sing the register.” A bout of giggling trickled down the line releasing all previous qualms and fears into the air. “As I call your name, I’d like you to file into the desks, staring with...” He cradled the note book in his arm, pencil between his teeth. “Good morning, Bruno Adler.” Mr. Fiedler burst out, in his finest baritone.

Bruno Adler was not quite your ordinary seven year old boy, as was made apparent to the rest of the class when he stomped out of line. Comparing him to a fully-grown man would be an understatement. A young Rhinoceroses would, perhaps, be a slightly more fitting description. Bruno was a keen violinist and enjoyed gardening with his Grandmother on Sunday afternoons, after Church. Problem? He didn’t think so. Wilda stared at him with her mouth wide open, in the exact way her Mother had always told her not to do. The boy was gargantuan; humungous; a towering spectacle. Neither of them knew it yet, but they were to become firm friends from that day on.

A line of Ackermanns and Baums and Dietrichs and Hirchs and Kirchs and Kleins and Schiffers and Schultes and Vogels and Weisses and Zimmermans followed suit, and spilled into the little rows of desks. When he saw the little tyrant from the tram, who now stood by the wall, Mr Fiedler said “Nice to meet you again, Wilda”. He sung her name in a disturbingly high pitch; the type that men Mr. Fiedler’s age should never attempt, in fear that they would mentally scar anyone listening. Wilda was sat on the end of the second row, next to an impossibly small girl named Sofie. Her last name was Sankt, Wilda’s was Engel. Sankt and Engel. Saint and Angel. Out of the two girls, one was tall, one was short; one had short blonde hair, one had waterfalls of flowing dark hair; one’s knees were grazed and cracked from rolling around in the mud with her brothers and one’s knees were soft and rosy; one’s Father was an affluent bank clerk, who never cared to see much of his daughter and one’s was a labourer who used to paint, before he was gassed in the trenches of a forgotten country. They smiled at one another. That was all that was needed. A smile to make the other know that they were welcomed and liked.

“I believe that’s everyone.” Mr. Fiedler put down the register and rolled up his sleeves. “So now there’s at least one thing that you know about me,” He smiled outwardly, “I am an appalling singer.” The class laughed half-heartedly, slightly worried about whether they should agree or not. “I can remember my first day at school, many, many years ago, a long time before any of you were born. I didn’t think I’d like it. In fact,” He chuckled to himself, swiping his glasses off of his nose to clean, “I tied myself to the post of my bed with a linen sheet and some chicken wire. It took my Father 45 minutes to untangle to the mess I’d made. I could barely walk on that leg and turned up half an hour late to my first lesson. Text book stuff, of course.” The children really did laugh then.

“But, I enjoyed it in the end. So much so, that I came back to teach. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this year as much as I’m going to and that we’ll all get on splendidly. We’ll be exploring foreign lands, discovering ancient treasure and learning about the stars and planets. And that’s just History, Geography and Science for a start. What I am most keen on teaching you about, however, is Music.” He gestured towards the piano next to his desk. Mr. Fiedler sat down by the cherry-red piano and tucked himself snugly inside, as though finding himself back in a place that was vaguely familiar and comforting. His fingers gently caressed the wooden curves as he opened the lid to reveal a set of white and black keys, a faint polish still apparent on their surface. “We’ll be studying the great composers,” He announced, cracking his knuckles and preparing to play.

And just like that Mr. Fiedler sprang into “Eine Kleine Naschtmusik”, arousing a bout of giggling in his premature audience. Even the ones who had never been near to a piano before in their lives could bumble along to this well known tune. “For one point, who can name the composer of this piece for me?”

Wilda’s hand shot up like a bullet, alone in a sea of blank, answerless faces. But his was common knowledge to Wilda: her oldest brother, Nikolaus, could play that song backwards from memory on the Cello. “Mozart!” She cried out and Mr. Fiedler grinned out of the corner of his eye. “Excellent, Wilda” His praise warmed and pleased her. “A composer is someone who writes music. Mozart was one of the most famous composers on the planet. He was born in Austria, a long, long time ago. In-”

“In 1756. I think that’s what Nikolaus told me.” Wilda mumbled, with as much assurance and nonchalance as if she was answering her name in the register.

“Yes, exactly, Wilda. In 1756.”

“Is Mozart still alive, Herr. Fiedler?” A clearly attentive and astute boy named Gunter called from the back of the class. All of the children erupted in cackles. Gunter looked a little crest-fallen, but joined in anyway.

“I should certainly hope not, Gunter.” Mr. Fiedler chuckled, referring to his register to identify who the question had come from. A palpable sense of relief flooded the classroom. This, the uniforms thought in uniformity (yes, I can be quite humorous when I want to be, dear readers), is a teacher that we can act ourselves with.

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Fiedler had devised his very own poem to accompany the tune, designed to help the children appreciate the genius of Mozart, in under 40 words. “Ehem,” he cleared his throat boldly. His breathing rattled (a symptom of the unavoidable disease of old-age and from having a few too many cigarettes), but he managed to curb the way that his body shook.

There once was a musician named Mozart,

Who wrote symphonies with many, many parts,

A pianist by the time he was eight,

Everyone thought his songs were great,

But he was dead by thirty-five, the old fart!”


It was excruciatingly bad; painful; a travesty to the world of music: But Wilda and the rest of her class loved it. The bars of sunlight that struck themselves violently against the window frames were refracted, and seemed to dance across the classroom like miniature bolts of starlight in time with the laughter of the children.

“Mozart was from Austria.” Mr. Fiedler commenced, once the chuckling had began to subside, “But no one can beat us Germans when it comes to performing classical music.” All of a sudden, he fearlessly dived into “Beethoven’s 5th”. The foreboding, cut-throat tones paralysed the class with awe and wonderment. Mr. Fiedler’s fingers slotted on to each of the keys forcefully; he was in command of the instrument, a dictator, spurring it on. “Another point for the pupil who can tell the class who wrote this tune.” He shouted, his voice towering above the brash and domineering chords.

Yet again, Wilda’s hand was the first to emerge. “Beethoven.” She said, without any trace of doubt. “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.” Tribute nights were broadcast on her Grandmother’s favourite radio station, on the second Thursday of every month. She could remember times when she would fall asleep in her Grandmother’s lap, as she snored in time to the rhythm. Mr. Fiedler raised one eyebrow, forming an expression that was half-way between appreciation and surprise. The class mirrored this, eager to speculate at the girl who clearly had all the answers. “Right again, Wilda.” He paused for a second; the pause was so short, that no one was even aware of its presence, but it gave Mr. Fiedler enough time to think. He thought about the little girl from the tram this morning, and how she now raised her hand with such confidence, that it almost seemed impossible for the two little uniforms to be the same person. Music made her forget about her mother and home, because music acted as a surrogate: a surrogate home and a surrogate mother. A sort of comfort blanket. Mr. Fiedler was very fast when it came to thinking.

“I have another rhyme for you to remember about Beethoven.” Again, he cleared his throat, but this time prepared to sing. The result was a monstrous, gulping bulge.

“Beethoven wrote in the treble clef!

By twenty six, he began to go deaf!”

The class repeated the poem with gusto.

“Then again,” He pondered out loud, the vocal ordeal now over. “No one can say that the French don’t know how to have a good time.” Out of the lively and empowering world of Beethoven came the drone and ceaseless humming of Saint-Saen’s “The Snail”. It was desperately slow-paced, but Mr. Fiedler knew perfectly how to curb his class’s increasing boredom. The pace quickened gradually, getting ever faster, like a train on its journey out of the station and into the raw and bitter wilderness. It soon became impossibly fast, Mr. Fiedler’s fingers moving at a speed faster than that of a Race Horse. The tune bubbled and glistened in little gusts and soon every child was jumping in their seats with enthusiasm. Wilda gasped and laughed in amazement, but she saw something beyond what the others saw. Instead of seeing her teacher play the works of the great composers with admirable skill, she saw a piano and its soul. She saw it bend over backwards for its master; not out of blind obedience; but out of love. Out of the pleasure of watching an audience cry and laugh and dance to the music that it could spill out so gladly. Wilda, too, wanted to tickle the keys with her fingers. She wanted for it to love her and for her to love it.

“Wilda,” Mr. Fiedler called out, “Why don’t you tell us who wrote this piece?” He wasn’t teasing the child, or mimicking her knowledge. He asked the question with genuine interest, as simply as if he was asking her to recite a poem or ride a bike. “Saint-Saens.” She said bluntly. “My brother, Isaak, showed me a funny dance to this, once.” All the children stared at the little girl with wild blonde hair and blue eyes. They smiled at her, and the unfamiliar names that she could spill out with ease. They sounded so official, so adult and foreign. But Wilda thought nothing of it. She’d heard the song before and someone had simply told her who had written it. But she didn’t care much for composers or treble clefs or quaver rests or other such jargon. She loved the music: the sweet, raw, harsh, brutal, gentle rhythm. Smooth as silk, bitter as sleet. That was all that she wanted.

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