Chapter One – When a Child

When a child Viola loved the violin. She played it every day. Her mother had been a viola player of some renown and had named her one and only daughter in honor of that. But Viola fell for the violin instead.  Her mother, Violet, didn’t mind. All she wanted was for her daughter to be happy.

Chapter Two – When an Adult

But when an adult Viola was not happy. She had stopped playing the violin because her girlfriend, Clarina, didn’t like the sound of her practicing and she wanted more than anything to make her girlfriend happy. She thought if she stopped playing her girlfriend would love her more and be happy. 

Chapter Three – When a Lover

The happier Clarina became the unhappier Viola became.  She didn’t know why but she was very sad most every day.  Her therapist, Timpany, said it was because she wasn’t playing the violin any longer.  Viola wasn’t sure but she thought it might be true.  She decided she would play the violin again, but only when Clarina was not at home.

Chapter Four – When Alone

Viola started to play the violin again.  Viola’s neighbor, Mr. Horn, who was french, heard her every morning.  He saw Viola in the hall when they were both getting their mail one day. He told her he loved hearing her play, that it made his mornings so relaxing and happy. He told her he was a photographer and asked if one day he might be able to take some photos of her playing. He had been doing a series of musicians and had not yet done a stringed instrument player. She was delighted and said yes.

Chapter Five – When Together

She didn’t tell Clarina, but Viola went to Mr. Horn’s apartment 3 days later to be photographed.  He had her stand on the fire escape and he took photos of her with the city in the background.  He complimented her again on her playing.  It only took about 20 minutes to get all the shots he wanted.  Then he offered her some tea, which she accepted.  He asked her questions about her playing, her life, her interests.  She was happy to have some attention and was sad when he said he had an appointment he had to get to.

Chapter Six – When Apart

Viola was very excited to see the photographs.  But she didn’t see or hear from Mr. Horn for a number of weeks.  It was making her crazy waiting. It wasn’t just that she wanted to see the photographs but she wanted to see Mr. Horn again.  She liked him and felt positive and hopeful when she had been with him.  She wanted that feeling again.

Chapter Seven – When Surprised

After 2 months had passed, an interminable amount of time for Viola, she saw Mr. Horn in the hall.  He greeted her warmly and apologized profusely for the delay in getting back to her. He invited her right then to his apartment to see the photographs and she of course accepted.  She was so surprised to see the photos. She didn’t realize he would convert them to black and white or that they would be so dramatic and emotional.  She actually started to cry when she saw them.  He embraced her lightly around the shoulders and said, “I hope those are good tears.” She said that she had never actually seen a good photograph of herself playing before and she didn’t realize how moving it was going to be.

Chapter Eight – When in Love

Mr. Horn asked if she would mind if one of the photos was put in an exhibition he was going to have.  She immediately agreed that it would be fine. She asked if she could have a small print of the photograph just as a remembrance.  He said that was part of the plan.  5 months later the exhibition opened.  She went to the opening and saw the print framed for the first time. She cried again.  She also whispered to the print when no one was looking, “I love you.” She felt the image speaking it back to her. She was happy.


The next morning she confessed to Clarina she had taken a lover. Clarina was hurt and asked, “Who was it?”, “When did it happen?”, and “Why?”  

Viola brought out the little print Mr. Horn had given her and showed it to Clarina and said, “This is my new lover.”

Clarina didn’t understand and never did. Viola and Clarina broke up later that day and Clarina moved out 2 days later. Viola became 3rd Violinist in a local orchestra and was very happy. She also became one of Mr. Horn’s favorite and most popular models. He eventually published a photography book called ‘The Violinist’ that became a big seller for his small publishing company. 

Viola and Mr. Horn’s friendship spanned over 30 years. They remained great friends until Mr. Horn died at age 78. Viola helped organize the work he had not yet been able to catalog due to his sickness and led the effort to have one final book published of his work.  She succeeded and was very happy for him.

The End

Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman |



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