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Huilunsoittaja

Don't Ask Me Why: Chapter 20

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Tanya had begun her research on her thesis now, studying the life and choral works of the 19th and 20th century Russian composers. She read biographies, musicological books and scores, trying to delve into the heart of the style. Tanya began to train in Russian diction, and learning basic speech. She knew this was important for herself, and also for her singers that were going to sing the Arensky Vocal Quartets. And finally, Tanya got her hands on Marcus' composition. It was one of the most beautiful things she ever sang, terribly poignant and tragic, hints of Shostakovich woven in. Thus, Tanya spent nearly 12-14 hr days at the Performing Arts center, classes, rehearsals, researching, and practicing. Her schedule was full to the brim.

The only time Tanya ever had a break was around lunch each day, and so she could meet up with her friends. Marie didn't come very often anymore, but they would meet perhaps once a week. It was the Monday of the week of Marie's birthday that they met up for lunch again. Both of them were not in good moods, but for very different reasons.

"How are you?" Marie began first. They were sitting in a corner together in the lounge.

"Awful... so swamped, and it's only been 2 weeks... I need a break..."

"Did you work over the weekend?"

"I did, nonstop. Except for Saturday night and then--"

Tanya sighed. She had been bottling up her thoughts and emotions for so long that she could barely handle it now.

"You don't mind me ranting, do you?" she muttered.

"What's to rant about? Tell me," Marie said with concern.

"It's Marcus! He's going crazy or something, I don't know what to do... it's like I'm not there anymore, or he's not there anymore, I don't know what's going on."

"What?"

"He's composing something that's using up all his free time, and he doesn't want to talk to me about it."

"Do you try to talk to him?"

Tanya grimaced. "I tried, like on Saturday night. But he picked that night to compose instead, as if to spite me!"

"Did you talk to him any other times?"

"No, I was often tired," Tanya muttered, staring down at the table.

"Maybe he was too."

Tanya sighed, and put her head in her arms on the table, but didn't respond.

"Hey, I don't know if this is the right time to tell you something," Marie began slowly.

"What?" Tanya's head was still down.

"I'm... I'm starting to have second thoughts about... you know..."

Tanya lifted up her head quickly. "No, I don't know," she said edgily, but actually she already had a clue.

"I... I think I've been doing something wrong. I ought to let Alex go."

Tanya's eyes flashed.

"Let him go?? You would give him up so quickly! You think he [she implied Ernest] actually cares about you! I've never known you so foolish! he is a flirt, he has no considerable emotions for you! And you would fall for his moves and give up on a man of, of--" Tanya stumbled, "of much greater merit... I'm ashamed of you," she added awkwardly.

Tanya had sat up from her chair, looming over the frightened Marie. Her blue eyes were aflame from the impulsive emotion that had surged up within her. Catching her breath, she sat back, staring dumbly back at Marie. Luckily there was no one around.

Fortunately, it made the impact that Tanya somehow thought she would get from her words. Marie shook her head and rubbed her forehead.

"Oh, you're so right... you are..." Marie whispered, her voice almost breaking.

Tanya couldn't say another word. She was too shocked at herself.

"I better go..." Tanya quickly gathered her belongings, and went away to the practice wing, deep in thought. When she found a room, she enclosed herself inside, and stared at the mirror.

She looked as she always did, stunning. Tanya always wore the most fashionable outfits, the most exquisite jewelry combinations, and the most perfectly done make-up. Her blonde hair was usually down, with no pins or clips, but it was treated with all sorts of conditioners to make it full and shiny. Ever since that fateful night the semester before, she became more self-conscious than ever, making sure there was not one flaw in her looks. And she was beautiful, she never doubted it. She was beautiful, bright, and multi-talented, the envy of many other women in the music school.

But she was absolutely miserable. Tanya could see it in her own eyes. But she didn't want to admit it, even to herself.

"What's happening to me...?" she muttered under her breath. After taking a moment to recollect herself, she went into her singing warm-ups.
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