Conductor’s Plight

by The Cowl Editor on October 19, 2017


violin with dead flowers
Photo courtesy of

by Dawyn Henriquez ’19


She slipped the wedding band off like it was a long-dreaded hangnail that she was finally able to clip. She couldn’t help but seem delighted in taking it off, as if ridding herself of the husband who often had her come back to me with bruises the color of eggplants and bumps the size of small rotund hills. The golden crown sat on the palm of her hand—the last semblance of any matrimony besides the shared house and the already drawn up divorce papers.

She’ll wear it again later, of course, after we’re done—putting it on like a child puts on their backpack for school in the morning after their bed caressed them into dreams of the sublime. I’ve told her time and time again, “Don’t put the ring back on when you leave,” but she’s never answered, instead, she always wraps her legs around me, shutting me up and turning me on at the same time.

I could see the hope she was holding out for him through her silence. Hope that he’d turn back into the person he was when they first married: a sweet, loving man before he resorted to spending more time with the rims of bottles.

She always placed the ring on the night-stand as if it were the case of a delicate instrument, defying the way she would initially remove it. But, after it was off, a new person emerged, one not concerned with the well-being of what she was playing, but rather more concerned with the music. The shy, reserved woman, who was always composed in the office and focused on her task, gave way to some other sort of person, a prodigy violinist amid an original piece.

This was the woman who could barely utter a word to me at work and yet, somehow, mustered up a different persona, one filled with courage and a cumulus cloud of self-esteem that could never be brought down to be fog. She was soaked with confidence and a
completely different air to her. She writhed around, playing hard to get but knowing damn well that this was happening because a conductor controls the entire orchestra, including the violins.

She was more reserved back when our affair first started, plucking my strings with stage-fright like fear that she wouldn’t be good enough. He did that to her—made her feel insecure about her actions. A couple months of practice, however, changed all that—I brought out the innate talent in her. With time, I had her hauling me into the filing room, pulling my pants down and not caring where we were, devising her own plans for private concerts. But we were in my room then, not having to hold the music back.

Getting her out of her clothes should have been easier, really, but she needed more
convincing of her talents there than anywhere else. Like a proper conductor, I had to start the concerto with a low rumble that would only tease the audience until the full extent of the musical anticipation was evident and then, and only then, would the violins play their sweet song.

I finally tore away the layers that separated our two beings. Her satiny skin draped under mine in backward embrace. The backside of her hands clasped within my palms as the back of her head, decorated with lush black webs of silk, stared at my face with unseeing eyes. And then, just as the symphony was being conceived, just as I, the conductor, with a simple stroke of my right wrist, was going to command the violins to rise and rebel against the quiet sanctity of the orchestra, the phone started ringing—her phone.

I looked over to see her husband’s face plastered on the screen and I cursed every fiber in his goddamn being for interrupting what could have been the grandest of concertos. She left soon after, under-played and soon to be over-worked throughout her busily scheduled day.