Yan came to see me. I was delighted and fell straight on his neck. He said first of all I looked well and secondly that he had heard I was being hard on people. He was referring to George and his wife, of course, whom I’ve stopped seeing. I explained my reasons and he said he didn’t blame me one bit. We agreed that all we did was whiling away time for them. Once we’d left them, they were back with their old problems: lack of attention, lack of company. They would themselves have to come to terms with that, now – they were old enough. I had come to realize that I couldn’t give them any help and therefore wasted a lot of physical and nervous energy which could be spent more satisfactorily. I have acted accordingly and am now being called “hard”. I thought my reputation would change…Yan said he felt guilty for not seeing them more often. However, that is his business.
What had I done all this time he hadn’t seen me, he wondered. I had seen him last when my parents were here, and he told me he had found my mother “charming”. I had done some translation work in the mean time, poetry which is normally known in a musical context only. As a rule, people are more interested in the music than in the words. I showed him the cycle of Schumann Lieder. He wasn’t too sure what they were about. “The ideal man,” I said, trying to put it in a nutshell, because there wasn’t time for more. He sighed. And then the other pieces. Words and music composed by the same person. Of course, he knew the music well enough.
We passed on to another subject. Yan’s daughter was having a year in Iceland. Jeremy and his wife had been there, too, for a holiday. I had heard a lot about it. Yan hasn’t been, neither have I. My husband has and found it dreadfully cold. I didn’t think I would ever be able to get him to go there again, I said to Yan. “Why don’t the two of us go?” Yan suggested. His wife has also been. “Why not at all!” I said, “no harm in making plans.”
My eldest daughter came home from school and joined us for a little chat. I managed to send her away after a while, saying there was a piece of cake waiting for her in the kitchen. Yan couldn’t stay much longer. We would have some music some time, he said. I smiled without looking at him nor making any comment. He added cautiously: “If it’s alright with you.” I said: “Guess!” He said: “Very soon!” I was interested to hear that. I know what “soon” means for him. It means an “indefinite length of time”. What would “very soon” mean? A “very indefinite length of time”? I shall find out in due course. When he left, I watched him out onto the road as usual.
Later, I asked my husband, would he consider taking me to Iceland? He said “Why not” much to my surprize and I learnt what the attraction was: the Brown Trout in one of the lakes which he had been prevented from sampling when he went for the first time.
I went to bed thinking about another Schumann Lied: Loreley. And who were Circe and Calypso?