(Produced ca. 1983, revised 2013 & 2014, all rights reserved)
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
. . . sang the wonderful bass soloist. Feuertrunken, fire-drunk . . . no more wine would she drink that night. She would be tipsy only on the vintage of the music and intoxicated by the fire of Werner’s love.
He had taken her onto his lap, declaring that she was light as a feather to him. “Werner!” she said suddenly, urgently, through his kisses. “Werner! Show them to me!”
“Your hands. Show them to me.”
He held them up before her, and she seized them in both of hers and kissed them, backs and palms and each separate finger. “These are the hands that make the music,” she said, hardly believing. “These are the fingers that press the strings, that makes them sing the way he wants. This is the hand that wields the bow. He wields the bow, and the music comes out, and it fills the whole world. He plays his violin, and the music fills my whole world, it fills me ganz. . . ” She sighed deeply, then tightened her hold on his hands. “Werner!” she said again.
“Ja, meine liebe Zandra?”
“These hands. Use them. Play me like you play your violin. Make me your music. Bitte!”
Solemnly, joyfully, he complied.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
“Ja, ich habe ein holdes Weib errungen!” he exulted. “I have won for me a devoted wife!”
He took his time. Beginning at her hairline, his musician’s fingers explored the planes of her face, the line of her eyebrows, the tilt of her nose. His lips followed in their course, gently saluting each separate feature.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod . . .
As the quartet sang, the agile hands played over her parted lips, her jaw, her chin. He lifted her hair and pressed each strand to his lips, as if it was an object of precious wonder to him. Then, as earlier that evening during the Berlioz, his touch found that sweet sensitive spot at the nape of her neck. She closed her eyes and gave herself over to the blessed misery of holding herself back from responding in kind. Her breath came faster; her hands, which she had clasped in her lap that he might have this passage to himself, opened themselves in receptive submission.
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott!
And now, from her neck his fingers played down between her shoulder blades and took hold of the zipper tab of her dress, giving it the slightest tug. He looked in her eyes with a confident smile. “Ja?” he asked, in a tone that expected her to say Yes.
“Oh, Werner, Werner!” Sandy cried out within herself. “Don’t ask me, just do! Don’t make me make any decisions, please, if this is truly our bridal night, just sweep me away . . . !” The very fact that he had seemed to ask permission unsettled her. It cracked the door to the idea that perhaps all was not as it should be. She simply would not believe that; this– all that was happening– must surely follow from the promise they’d given each to the other.
He took her silence for consent, or maybe there was that in her eyes that said what her lips would not. As if in token and sign, the music that introduces the march of the knight victorious began to play. “Run, brother, on your course!” it urged him on. She gazed into his face, utterly still, hardly daring to breathe, while his practiced fingers unzipped the dress, down, down, as far as it would go. “Oho!” he chuckled, discovering the bra was attached to it. Quickly he undid the hooks and pulled both garments away as she herself, without resistance or demurral, slid her arms free of the confining straps.
He lifted her off his lap and laid her down on the bed. By instinct she knew what to do to receive him, but from some cause– discretion? habit? fear?– she kept her body straight, her legs yet armored in their stockings, her skirts covering all from waist to below her knees. Not tight, but closed, waiting. “Still locked,” she thought of herself, without embarrassment. “If this is our bridal night, Werner my bridegroom will have the key . . . the key of d minor . . . the Choral Symphony is in d minor . . . ” Inwardly a little laugh bubbled up at the double meaning. Then she saw in his face a look of triumph and wonder that made her gasp.
Froh, froh, wie seine Sonnen, seine Sonnen fliegen . . .
For a moment he seemed to drink in the sight of her virgin body, revealed now to the waist. Then with a passion that was all the more breathtaking for being so deliberate and controlled, he straddled her form and kissed her breasts over and over. “Meine Braut, meine Braut allein!” he said, and said again. Was that, “My bride, my only bride”? or “My bride only”? Her German wasn’t good enough; she couldn’t be sure. And what did it matter? That is what she was! Her arms went around him and held his head there, the clean scent of his hair in her nostrils, her entwining fingers becoming one with the wild luxury of its growth.
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen!
He sang the song of victory with the tenor, interrupting himself only to kiss her shoulders, her arms, and ever and again, her breasts, those breasts she wished were larger, but which seemed perfect in his eyes and to his lips. From time to time she was able to capture those lips with hers and drink deep of the wine of his mouth. But she perceived that he preferred to take the initiative in their lovemaking, and she let him have it his way; rather, she rejoiced to let him have it his way!
Werner’s voice grew huskier, his caresses more urgent and intense as the orchestra took up its own delight-maddened strains and rushed onward towards the chorus’s triumphant reiteration of the Song of Joy. “Du bist die Frau von Welt!” he proclaimed her. “Du bist meine Welt Frau!”*
“I am the only wife for him in the world!” Sandy received the words with delighted wonder. “Ja, ich bin!” she responded, her own voice thick with pleasure. Her fingers, the sensitivity of their nerve-endings seemingly multiplied a thousandfold, were taking in the glories of his shoulders and sides. No one could accuse him of having a bodybuilder’s physique, but years of playing the violin had left his arms muscular and strong. Those musician’s arms were hers now, hers and hers alone!
“Meine Welt Frau, meine Ewig-Weibliche,” he panted. Then more strongly, “Meine Ewig-Weibliche, Ewig-Weibliche!”**
She had heard him say that phrase before; what was it? “You are my wife forever”? Yes, that must be it. “Oh, yes, Werner!” she said, pulling him to her so she might kiss his body as he was kissing hers. “Yours forever!”
He was ready and more than ready: she could feel the hardness in his loins as he lay full length on her, rocking her as if their union could be consummated through the clothing they still wore. Was it time? Yes, it was time! She would tell him. She would tell him, the first of any man, that she loved him. She would open her heart to him, then she would open her body to him, and they would be one flesh, united forever in Love’s own joy.
But which language? “Ich liebe Dich,” to delight his German ears? Or “I love you,” to show she was giving him all her American self? Her inner debate was swiftly pushed aside, for swirling down upon them like a tornado descended the full force of chorus and orchestra, their massed voices powerfully upraised.
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
“Ach, der schöner Götterfunken!” he was muttering between kisses. “Ich verehre sie in dir, ich verehre es in mir, ich verehre sie in der ganzen Welt!”***
Barring a word or two, this Sandy could not interpret. A twinge of vexation stole upon her: surely he didn’t mean to, but he was leaving her out. “Werner, darling, please! I love your German, but speak English to me!”
His only response was to reposition himself so he could take his ministrations lower.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!
. . . sang the men of the chorus. Even now he did not hurry. He was easing her clothing down, following its progress with the caresses of his lips and hands. Her breath came faster, faster; her arms could reach only his head and shoulders, they ached with wanting to clasp themselves around his whole body again; her blood sang and her throbbing heart beat time. She was on fire, she was full to the brim and running over; she was Mount Vesuvius and Paricutin and Mount Tambora and every volcano that had erupted in human history, and if he did not come to her relief she would explode and the debris of it would blot out the sun for the next ten years.
Oh, no more of this dallying! Let him take her now! She herself would hand him the key. “Ahhh, Werner!” (It came out a broken sound, between a sigh and a moan) “Werner, I l– ”
Perhaps the noise of her beating heart drowned her out, for he didn’t seem to hear her. “Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!” he echoed the chorus, matching his action to the words. “Und diesen Kuss, und diesen! Für der ganzen, ganzen Welt!” His breathing was shallow, his voice heavy.
What was he saying? She sat up a little, so she could lift his head and see his face. “Oh, no, Werner!” she said, trying to control her alarm. “Not for the whole world! Your kisses are for me now, only for me!”
He shook his head, his long locks catching the glow of the candlelight. There was a glitter in his eyes she had never seen before and wasn’t sure she liked. “Nein,” he said. “Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! This kiss– ” (his lips tasted yet again of her waiting skin)– “this kiss– ” (and again) –“for all the world! When I kiss your body, Zandra, I kiss every woman in the world, so!”
“Oh, no, Werner!” she pleaded, raising his head again. “You can’t mean that! I am your bride and you are my bridegroom, for each other alone! Didn’t you say that to me? Didn’t you mean it?”
“Ach, Kleinchen, Liebling, meine liebe Zandra!” he responded, catching her hands and avidly kissing them. “How can I make you understand, how can I make you see? Die Liebe, the Love is zu große, too big for us to keep it to ourselves! I cannot do it, it would be selfish, wrong!” It seemed he could hardly breathe; his eye was wild and perfervid; his voice, barely coherent. “When I make love to you, I worship the spark of God in every creature; when I make love to the others, I worship the spark of God in you!”
“‘The others’?” In horror she drew up her skirted knees so as nearly to hit him in the face. “‘The others’? What do you mean? What others?”
He rocked back, his hair still hanging down over his eyes. Through it they betrayed an answering terror that told her he knew he had said too much.
The others. In a flash of revelation it hit her: A blonde Swedish girl, gazing upon him with adoration a million years ago that afternoon. A black-haired Japanese girl, glancing tentatively towards them from the top of the recital hall. The blonde girl again, in close conversation with him in the reception line. The dark haired girl, talking over the stall partition in the Ladies’ room, oblivious to Sandy’s presence, in raptures over his having played the scherzo.
The Scherzo. It hadn’t been a part of his scheduled program the girl had been talking about, it was–
“Werner,” she said. “The Wieniawski. The encore you played ‘for someone very dear to you.’ It wasn’t for me, was it? It was for her!”
* “You are the wife of the world! You are my world-wife!”
**“My world-wife, my Eternal Feminine” . . . “My Eternal Feminine, Eternal Feminine!”
*** “Oh, the beautiful spark of God! I worship it in you, I worship it in me, I worship it in all the world!”