Uit: The Page Turner
“Paul! Let me fix your tie!”
All at once his mother was on him, her hands at his throat.
“Mother, please, my tie’s all right –“
“Let me just tighten the knot, honey, you don’t want to have a loose knot for your debut –“
“It’s not my debut.” “When my son sits up on a stage in front of two thousand people, I consider it a debut. There, much better.”
She stepped back slightly, smoothed his lapels with long fingers. Even so, her face was close enough to kiss: he could see her crow’s-feet under make-up, smell the cola-like sweetness of her lipstick, the Wrigley’s on her breath.
“That’s good enough, Mother.”
“Just one little adjustment –“
“I said it was good enough!”
Writhing away from her, Paul hurried across the wings, to where Mr. Mansourian, the impresario, awaited him.
“Well, well, well,” said Mr. Mansourian, “if you’re not the best-dressed page turner I’ve ever seen. Come on, I’ll introduce you to Kennington.”
“Good luck, sweetheart!” Pamela called almost mournfully. She waved at Paul, a tissue balled in her fist. “Break a leg! I’ll see you after the concert.”
He didn’t answer. He was out of earshot, out of the wings, beyond which the hum of the settling audience was becoming audible.
Mr. Mansourian led him up steep stairways and along antiseptic corridors, to a dressing room at the door to which he knocked three times with sharp authority.
They went. In front of mirrors Richard Kennington, the famous pianist, sat on a plastic chair, bow tie slack around his throat. He was drinking coffee. Isidore Gerstler, the famous cellist, was eating a cinnamon-frosted doughnut out of a box. Maria Luisa Strauss, the famous violinist, was stubbing out a cigarette in an ashtray already overflowing with red-tipped butts. Her perfume, capacious and spicy, suggested harems. Yet the room had no softness, no Persian carpets. Instead it was all lightbulbs that brightened the musicians’ faces to a yellowish intensity.
Doorgaan met het lezen van “David Leavitt, Pascal Mercier, Franca Treur, Jean Anouilh, Richard Bach, Anna Achmatova”