Harmony by Heinrich Schenker (edited by Oswald Jonas and translated by

By Heinrich Schenker (edited by Oswald Jonas and translated by Elisabeth M. Borgese)

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The bag with the quilt falls, momentarily forgotten, to the floor. That innocent yip of the horn signals that summer has ended. Molly stops playing, leaving a profound hollow of silence in the house. Seconds later, I can still feel the throb of the notes in the stillness. I go to the landing at the turn of the stairs in time to see her jump up, leaving the piano bench askew. She runs outside, the screen door snapping shut behind her like a mousetrap. Watching through the window on the landing, I brace myself for another storm of emotion.

She keeps her eyes on the road, her profile delicate and clean-lined, startlingly adult. It’s a bright September morning, and the lingering heat of late summer shimmers, turning the asphalt into a river of mercury. With a flick of her little finger, Molly signals and moves into the swift current of the middle lane. She is a competent driver, skilled, even. She’s competent and skilled at many things—water polo, trigonometry, getting rid of phone solicitors, being a good friend. Her spirit, her self-assurance and independence, are the sort of wonderful qualities a mother wants in her daughter.

I tease the knot loose and go back to my stitching. The border abuts a trapezoid-shaped swatch of neutral-colored lawn, snipped from the dress she wore to the eighth-grade banquet, the first grown-up dance of her life. At age thirteen she was impossible, taking drama to new heights and sullenness to new depths. I used to try to turn our dirgelike family dinners into something a little more upbeat. ” I used to ask my husband and daughter. ” Dan had been grinding pepper on his salad in that deliberate way of his.

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