“Mommy, do you know Mozart?”
I am pouring oats into the boiling water. “The cat or the musician?” Our long-ago pet’s musical mrawr? earned her the moniker of the great composer. The resident felines ran her off when we moved here in 2010. Bug only remembers the cat from stories and pictures.
“The musician,” he says.
“I’ve heard of the guy.” Stuffing the snack in his backpack, I tick off my mental list of tasks. The clock is inching towards 7:45. The pan on the stove is beginning to froth.
“Did you know,” Bug says, “that Mozart wrote all those songs when he was so young?”
“Yeah? Tell me.” Stirring in the brown sugar.
“And do you know Beethoven? What’s so funny?” He starts to chuckle. “He couldn’t even hear the songs while he was playing them!”
I am so in love with this county’s schools. “Did you know,” I say, “that I was listening to Mozart just last night while I was making the beef stew for dinner?”
“Yup. And there is a CD right over there in Grandma’s CD player that is all Mozart.”
Bug’s eyes widen. “Really?” He slips down from the table and turns on the player. He starts to scroll through the tracks. I finish pouring the hot oatmeal into a container for the car. He listens to bits, chords, the opening swell of Eine Kleine Nachtmusic then moves on. I gather drinks and school bags and keys.
Bug stops at a piano concerto and waits. Suddenly, he bounces up on his toes. “I know this song! I know it!” He lets his hands fall on top of the CD player and he peers into, listening hard. I seize this chance to spray the rat’s nest at the back of his head with detangler and work through the golden knot with a brush. He barely registers my presence. The notes rain down around us.
Halfway through the piece, Bug hits the back button so it begins again. He glances up at me as I shrug into my coat. “I know this one, Mommy,” he says again. His eyes are sober.
“Yes, baby. You do. That’s your song right there.” For a moment, we are both still.
Listen well, kiddo. Keep those ears open. Every song is yours. Every lyric, every splash of color, every rusted cannon, every story. The departed ones passed through this place in a breath and left nothing but their bits and strains. Except for a few, most of the names are gone, too. Now, it is yours. All this world, for you.
The other Mozart: