She motioned to him with the head of her mandolin out on her balcony.
“Give me something to work with,” she said.
“Uh-may zi-ing grace!–” he sang.
“Haha, no, no,” she set the instrument down to uncork the third bottle of wine. “Have you ever … have you ever heard some of that contemporary stuff? There’s really no discernible melody. Think of it like … if the fret board were a constellation, what would the fingerings be?”
He thought a minute playing the air mandolin, though the nature of the conversation did not require such concentration. “What if you play the seventh fret, any of the first three notes, then the two opened strings below it. That’s just the beginning, anyway.”
“That would be the same note on four strings.”
“Your instrument’s running kind of sharp, babe.”
She played the G at the seventh fret and an opened A. “Yeah, ok. What’s it supposed to mean?
Their thoughts trail off listening to A, A, A sharp, A sharp, somewhat like the oscillations of a cricket in the dark. “Maybe,” he kissed her just beneath the earlobe, “like two sides of the same coin. I dunno,” he laughed and she stopped. At some point they inched inside, sharp breaths against the flat, mat darkness. He brought her to orgasm–how matters not–and laid there beside her until night reached that ultimate calm where the soloist’s strings recognize all your wants, but he stumbled to the porch hearing A, A, A sharp, A sharp. Did it validate everything? No, no, but at least he knew the source. At least he knew he could hear those minor contrasts again.