Often, when people talk about Chopin, they talk about his Nocturnes which resonant with too many souls; or the Mazurkas hardly fail to raise our spirits. When it finally comes to his polonaise, most get held by “Heroic” and would rather to construct the link between the piece with the French revolution. Of course the long pieces of Concertos brings the musician fame and money. But I’ve learnt it first through a melancholy youth story.
I was sitting in front of my 90s Yamaha keyboard with Z when he played No.12 in B flat major.
“This is my favorite one. Chopin wrote this when he was 7.”
“I could see that from the cheerful tone, sounds like a kid, but slightly over-mature for a 7 years old.”
“How hearty your comment is.” he replied sarcastically, “You’d better go to Concerto No.1 Second movement. You know Chopin wrote that for someone he secretly loves?”
So I learnt when Chopin wrote the Concerto No.1, he was 20 years old. It reminds me of Ma jeunesse ne fut qu’un ténébreux orage. He must fail to see any romantic possibilities with another, or with George Sand, the other.
“So how it ends?” by that time, I never knew any of Chopin, not even mention his personal life.
“Nothing. He loved; he composed; but he only planted this love deeply in his heart and never told. It’s not until he dead did the girl found out she had been loved by him and herself the one inspired the Second movement which rarely fails to awake memories of youth.”
“Well, bummer.” I tried to ignore his apparent implication, “He really should let her know. I say giving it a shot prevents the future regret.”
“That’s what you’ve done. But who’s feeling like a mess now?”
“Shut up, it’ll pass.” I snapped, very uncertain about my reckless claim.
“Anyway, Chopin, taking this emotional and sentimental romance with him, later on lived happily with his new lover(s) for ten years.”
“So, I say you’d better let it go right now and start with someone new.” he smirked.
Later on Z went back to San Jose for his normal and endless work. We talked more about Chopin, Hummel, and Mozart. He introduced more albums and single pieces to me, but none draws me like the Second movement does. I always feel there was something left out about my unspeakable feelings.
One day I was listening to Polonaise No.12 and Concerto No.1 together again, it suddenly struck me that this is how youth coming after childhood. The two pieces are marks of his life, both out of instinctual and pure emotions; the latter is like a Rest to the former, a line once crossed means a claim to end the childhood.
But Traversé çà et là par de brillants soleils.
I guess this is when I found why my defense is invalid and my hope insincere.
Things are piling up, so many colors and shapes, all in a primitive manner which rouses endless sentimentality from an alien culture.
We went through Calhoun St, entered Temecula Olive Oil Company.
“I was here two days ago, and there was a woman singing on the open stage.” There are less and less words in between; it mattered a lot to me at that time, though not any more.
S smiled at me, then add a comment on the garlic flavored olive oil. “This is really nice! Do you just add in the flavor?”
“No. We do cold press of the olive with garlic, all residuals are filtered out,” she said proudly, “if you ever see any olive oil with garlic powders at the bottom, they likely add the flavor afterwards.”
Did S try the olive oil? Yes he did. He likes to try new things, to know new people, to have new life; but all prevent him doing so is that he’s lazy. He’s afraid of changes, so we always go to the same coffee shop; so we always hang out at the same shrine of our memories.
Washington Square had fallen into a peaceful sleep. There were only two or three tourists sauntering and chatting in low voices.
“Tell me, how do you feel when Bree got married?” I asked him casually when we walk past Cosmopolitan. He didn’t answer, instead sliding into the half opened door. I followed him, feeling like a student afraid of being caught in the middle of cheating in her final.
We entered a palace. The dining hall was lighted up by the huge crystal pendant light, and vintage wooden chairs all has soft colored makeovers neatly circling around the small round dining tables. If Blue Bayou ever has land setting, it supposed to looks like the Cosmopolitan.
We kept walking on Calhoun and made a turn in front of San Diego Art. The art booth already closed but the market place was still playing out some Mexican music.
“Every time I listened to this kind of music, I want to dance.” I remembered my Salsa classes back at school, our teacher is a Cuban lady, she has red hair like burning flame, she told us she dyed it that way to show her passion about life, and dancing. It was the first time I listened Tu Amor Fue Diferente of David Kada. I never stepped on my partners but never stop giving my teacher a headache. The song we heard outside of the art market was something unfamiliar.
S stepped forward then backward with awkward salsa steps. I couldn’t help smiling then joined him.
“I’m so bad at dancing.” he admitted.
“Haha me too.” I laughed out, “this is a lot of fun though.”
I was thinking impish kids are not always caught in the middle of their mischief. Maybe S and Bree were merely unlucky when someone from the other dorm yelling and daring them for a duel when he saw the salami Frisbee hit his window and slid down with an oily trace.
Several months later, I found a playlist called Salsa Nation. I use that list to practice my salsa dance in the small wooden floor studio. Tu Amor Fue Diferente is in the list too, and whenever this song is on, I find myself standing on Calhoun St, stepping on the dirt road in Old Town’s night fall. Then I’d do a spin to start, and then another to finish.