“Morning Lieder” – a short story by Zary Fekete

July 6th, 2023

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“Morning Lieder,” a short story by Zary Fekete, was a short-listed entry in our recently concluded 62nd Short Fiction Contest, and is published with the consent of the author.

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photo via Pixabay

photo via Pixabay

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Morning Lieder

By Zary Fekete

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…..I like opening my violin case in the morning. I like knowing that during the night the darkness gave the wood time to rest and the light hitting it now is slowly awakening the molecules, allowing it to breathe. I like knowing the strings will need to be tightened slightly because they have just barely moved out of tune during the last 12 hours. When I tighten the strings there is a tiny creak and leftover resin from the day before is released into the surrounding air. The resin is so light that it hangs in the air for a moment, like a little universe of particles. Then it’s gone.

…..It has been interesting to watch people respond over the past weeks. Most smiled in my direction when they entered the library but few made eye contact. Perhaps they think I’m waiting for a tip, so they are doing that suburban “I know you’re there but can’t quite bring myself to see you” thing.

…..Last night before bed I thought about what I’ve played these past weeks. I played all of Schubert’s Winterreise.  One of the lyrics describes the switching back and forth of a weathervane in the wintery wind…like a worried mother.

…..I played Die Schone Mullerin, with the song “Des Baches Wiegenlied”. I had no singer to accompany me, but I played through the melody and heard the words in my head, “Rest well, close your eyes, you weary one, you are at home.”

…..These songs accompanied me these past weeks. It was as though they were born in the morning with me there in the library and then floated behind me throughout each day. Playing them created a sound bed for my movements, and their lyrics became my thoughts.

…..Today is my last day. I tightened the strings one more time, and I played. It was Friday, and not many people came in. The morning hours drifted by. My eyes were closed most of the time, in a world of woods and streams.

…..Just before noon I stopped. I replaced my violin in the case and slowly closed the top, savoring the final glint of sunshine on the bright wood. I walked to the return’s desk. The library manager had a smile.

…..“Was that Schubert again?” she said.

…..“Always,” I said. I put the violin case on the counter and slowly pushed it across to her.

…..“This is such a blessing,” she said.

…..I turned to go, but then paused. I looked back at her. “Where will it go?” I said.

…..She pointed to a wall of pictures behind her and singled out a boy in the bottom row.

…..“He’s the one,” she said.

…..I looked at the picture a moment, imagining his small hands opening the case for the first time.

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Zary Fekete…

…has worked as a teacher in Hungary, Moldova, Romania, China, and Cambodia.

…lives and works as a writer in Minnesota.

…has been featured in various publications including Zoetic Press, Bag of Bones Press, and Mangoprism.

…has a debut chapbook of short stories out from Alien Buddha Press and a novelette (In the Beginning) coming out in May from ELJ Publications.

…enjoys books, podcasts, and long, slow films. Twitter: @ZaryFekete

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Listen to Schubert’s “Des Baches Wiegenlied,”
as performed by baritonist Thomas Quasthoff and pianist Justus Zeyen [Universal Music Group]

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Click here to read “Mr. P.C.,” Jacob Schrodt’s winning story in the 62nd Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Click here for details about the upcoming 63rd Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Click here to subscribe to the Jerry Jazz Musician quarterly newsletter (it’s free)

Click here to help support the continuing publication of Jerry Jazz Musician, and to keep it commercial and ad-free (thank you!)

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