At the San Francisco Symphony tonight where we listened to a magnificent performance of Rakhmaninov’s Ivan the Terrible.
I hadn’t been to a concert of classical music – or any concert for that matter – in such a long time before tonight. The last time I went was in February when the boyfriend took me to Shostakovich in Berkeley. This evening we went in to the city for my first visit to the San Francisco Symphony and it was an absolutely lovely experience. It was the perfect way to wrap of a busy week of emotional ups and downs; after a couple of incredibly hot and sunny days in the East Bay [October means summer time here] this Friday arrived with a much desired cloudy sky as the morning fog never completely evaporated. Yesterday I finally managed to gather enough mental tranquility to sit down for a few hours at home and work on my long neglected paper on Shalamov’s antinovel. In one day I went from zero to nine pages – that’s what I think is referred to as being ‘productive’. On Friday morning I arrived at work to find a sweet postcard in my mailbox signed by almost all of my coworkers expressing their condolences concerning my father’s passing. It was very touching. One of my office mates gave me a card as well which she told me to read when I got home; I did and as I did I began to cry. The card was sincere and kind and very moving – and it made me think that I have not spent so many hours by my desk in the office in vain at all. Sometimes you meet great people and make friends without even noticing it yourself; these friends somehow simply turn up and prove themselves capable of such emotional care that it can be almost surprising. I decided not to share the situation with my students. After all they are still all so young and even though this can happen to anyone I don’t think this harsh side of life should be introduced too easily. They will have plenty of time to encounter this experience elsewhere. Tomorrow is another day – for me as well as for everyone else. And I will greet it just the way it comes to me: take a deep breath and try to imagine what life might be like after this. My father’s memory is not going anywhere. As a matter of fact he was with me tonight as I listened to a beautiful concert and remembered the time he took me to the opera in Gothenburg when I was a teenager. My father loved the opera. I’m sure he would have enjoyed Rakhmaninov as much as I did tonight.