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Huilunsoittaja

Faces: Chapter 11 (Part 2)

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No more than a week later did I find out that the bassoonist I had spoken to was ill. I had the urge to visit him, just for some conversation, when I noticed a great commotion at his home. His extended family was all there, and looking terribly distressed. I made my way in, as I wanted to pay respects to him. It was then that I realized how close to death he really was.
This poor man had taken an unusually high fever, and wasn't expected to live. His family was all there, clamoring about what would happen to his inheritance, the home, and all that he owned. He was a well-to-do citizen (as explains him owning 3 instruments), and so were his relatives. They were there to demand that he wrote a will, now in his last hours of life! What a cruel treatment of him! I scolded them all openly for only thinking of themselves at a time like this, and went to his bedside.
"If there's anything this man has taught me... he's taught me what it means to fall in love," I said. Everyone in the room was stunned and confused, having no idea of what I was alluding to. But that was my point: only the man knew. He smiled weakly at me.
"Who is this young scoundrel?" an older lady spoke up."What relation is he to you? No doubt only here to beg something out of him too, you hypocrite!" everyone clamored agreement. I was so shocked and offended, that all I could do was mouth "never" to the man before I was immediately taken out of the house.
They say the man died that evening after writing only a short will with not many details. I was very sad to have seen this all happen, and I felt very sorry for him. I prayed that he would rest in peace.
That's when the miracle happened.
I was in a park sitting on a bench the next day, lost in thought about all of this, when I saw a little girl come to me. She had blonde hair and was dressed in very cheap clothes, more like a servant's daughter than one of the middle class. But she held a big black case with her, almost half her size.
"Are you Vasily Sergeyevich?" she gasped. She apparently had been lugging this box around for a long time, looking for me.
"I am. Who are you?" I wondered.
"I'm just a messenger. I was told that you would be a young, handsome man with a tan coat and red tie, and I was hoping all day I would find you in the streets. I am successful! But I was told nothing more, except to give you this box, and this little letter," she placed the box at my feet, and handed me the letter with a bow.
I opened it up. It was an anonymous note:

To Vasily Sergeyevich, a man of sorrows, but a man of infinitely more love...

I stared at that note for a long time. By the time I turned to the box, the girl had disappeared. I never saw her again.
In that box was the man's bassoon, the one you see before you now...

When Vasily stopped talking, everyone was silent. Surprisingly he hadn't coughed at all while he spoke, though he cleared his throat a few times.
"I have that note too... I put it in a secret compartment of the box," he felt the inside wall, and flipped back a small door in the corner. Inside was the piece of paper. "But keep it there..."
"Thank you, Vasya," Ilya whispered. His eyes were very bright and attentive now. Looking at the bassoon, he brushed his hand over on of the pieces, feeling the silver keys.
"It goes without saying... I've valued this bassoon as if it was my own child. Often, when finding challenges to play it, I would complain to myself why I ever picked this instrument. But then I always remembered soon after: it picked me."
"It's beautiful, and so was your story" Ilya said softly. "Thank you," he hugged Vasily for the last time.
Everyone said their farewells for now, and the Osslovskys left, Ilya carrying his black box in his arms.
"Vasily is the best man in the world," Ilya thought to himself gravely.
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