A Secret Grave 54: A Fellow with a Cello

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As Victor’s fingers caressed her wrist, Caroline began to calm down. The terror of a few minutes before left her eyes and she took a deep breath and seemed to grab ahold of herself. I can only imagine what it was like for her to sit so close to the man who was both the secret father of her child and a virtual stranger, someone she hadn’t seen in years and didn’t want to see, or be with, now. “Listen,” she said in a shaky voice. “In all the excitement I left my cello behind in the house where the concert was. Do you think you could go get it?”

Victor smiled at her. “Of course,” he said. “Glad to be of service.” He gave her hand one more gentle squeeze and climbed out of the car. Back in the house, it took a few minutes to thread his way through the remaining guests, locate the host who pointed him to the cello, which had to be zipped into its case and lugged down the hilly front lawn to the street.

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cello

CELLO, Robin Zebrowski, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Almost immediately he realized that Caroline’s dark gray Honda CRV was gone, she’d driven off, vanished, leaving him with the goddamn cello. He fought every urge to smash the beautiful instrument to bits, returning instead to his car, struggling to fit the bulky cello in his back seat, muttering curse words to himself throughout the entire procedure. At home he unloaded the cello and spent the next few hours pacing his house, trying to figure out where to go from there. He had her full name, Caroline Guerrero-O’Hara, and the program notes from the afternoon’s concert gave a brief history:

Noted cellist, Caroline Guerrero-O’Hara has played with the Clayton Quartet since 2002. Originally trained at Juilliard in the mid-eighties, she has performed over the years with the New York Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Guerrero-O’Hara has said that when she’s not performing, she most enjoys being home reading stories to her son, Mercer, hiking, dancing, cooking and being with her family.

With a little bit of searching online he was able to find her email address and send her a message, but it was a good week before he heard back from her. In that week, running his hands over Caroline’s cello, biting his nails down to the quick, cancelling appointments with clients, driving his receptionist, Helen, crazy with questions like: “How do I find someone’s street address here in Austin if all I have is their email?” or “If you didn’t know me and you were a young woman, would you find me attractive?” – in that week, he died a thousand deaths. And then, finally, he received the following message:

Sorry for the delay. Please bring the cello to Kerbey Lane Café on South Lamar at 6PM, Monday, June 12. Best, Caroline

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ http://www.herosite.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/peter-smashes-cello-415.jpg

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