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Symphony

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Centuries living on this dirt-filled earth can leave a man feeling empty; beauty becomes boring and the exquisite becomes mundane. When Adam hears Monica playing the violin, it isn’t the music that moves him. He attended Mozart’s performances as a child; he has heard with his own ears the kind of music that could make a soul weep.

Yet he remains enraptured with the sight and sound as Monica plays. From the distant look in her eyes as she absorbed the skill to the bright smile of delight on her face as the melody takes shape. Everything in the world is new and beautiful to Monica. She’s young and awestruck in a way that Adam knows he should sneer at - but he can’t do anything but envy her outlook.

It must be so blissful to find one’s ability a gift; it must be a unique pleasure to take such delight in the quirks of evolution. That wonder is long-gone for Adam. The pain of his skin knitting back together is an annoyance rather than a miracle.

With one long stroke of her bow Monica brings the tune to an end and then looks up to catch his eyes. Her smile is broad and her happiness is unpolluted: it makes him ache in a way no gunshot ever could.

He bows his head and claps his hands and then invites her to play him another one - he would listen to her for another century if she would let him, if he could ever find a way to keep that spark of hopeful optimism alive.