I have grown sentimental in my old age, or so Holmes tells me each time he flicks through the pages of this journal which, of necessity, is for our eyes alone. I do not correct him because, in moments such as this, when he is playing his Stradivarius and our bees buzz lazily in the roses outside the living room window, I feel that sentiment has much to recommend it.
The composition that accompanies my journaling this afternoon is one of his own, and one that I have particular affection for since it was composed in the first weeks of our acquaintance. In those days I did not recognise the feelings he stirred in me for what they truly were, my sense of self-preservation preventing my conscious thoughts from ever straying in that direction. Holmes, however, with his usual astuteness, recognised what we would come to mean to one another almost at once. I have never asked him if it was chivalry that stilled his tongue at the start, or fear of losing me if I were pressed to admit feelings I was so determined to deny, but either way he never spoke of his affection for me beyond that which was proper.
Which is not to say he didn’t show how he truly felt. He did, but using notes instead of words. This sonata, which he has never named, is filled with light touches, brief caresses, hesitate advances and soulful retreats. As it flows around me now I grasp its meaning as easily as I would were Holmes murmuring words of explanation in my ear. But the first time he played it for me I only knew it spoke to something deep inside my soul that I could not name. Phrases in this work appear in many other pieces he composed before we reached our full and proper knowledge of each other, a theme woven through all that he created which continued to call to the very core of my being, a daily reminder even if I didn’t know then what I was being reminded of.
Yet it was not only his violin playing that gave our daily lives a musical accompaniment. There were visits to the opera, afternoon recitals, oratorios and concerts, in every conceivable venue. He even indulged my far more parochial tastes and accompanied me to several Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, although on the strict understanding that I would never mention his attendance in any of my published works. My musical education was continuous, wonderful and incredibly subtle, expanding the boundaries of my taste week after week until I could even identify a Borodin composition from a Balakirev without ever having realised I was being educated at all.
Of course I will never have the breadth of knowledge my dear Holmes has, unfortunately remaining singularly unimpressed by the music of the Middle Ages and thus utterly failing to appreciate his monograph on the subject that is so highly thought of by those who do understand such things. But I digress; meandering around my subject rather than striking to the heart of the matter.
For it is of the heart I speak. My heart to be specific.
For just as Holmes carefully and considerately opened my eyes to arias, sonatas and symphonies that I hadn’t even conceived existed before he introduced them to me, so it was with my personal proclivities and affections. He taught me to understand my emotions in the same way he taught me to understand music, with a subtlety that belied the importance of what was occurring. I do not say that I never loved Mary but now I see that the love I bore her was but a pale reflection of the love that Holmes and I share. I was little more than enamoured with her but I took it to be the pinnacle of what my emotions could attain because I had never experienced anything more. Never would have, had it not been for Holmes’ gentle fearlessness in showing me what I could have, if I were willing to take the risk of defying convention, just as he was.
I could not go back to such a stunted existence now, any more than I could survive without air. When we are apart both Holmes and I can function perfectly well, sing reasonably sweetly when the world requires, if you will. But together … together our souls soar in a sublime duet that I consider to be unequalled anywhere on earth; he creates the melody and rhythm of our lives and I harmonise without effort.
If Shakespeare spoke the truth and music is indeed the food of love, then my beloved Holmes has never allowed hunger to so much as darken our door. He has, in fact, kept us both very well fed over our years together and I will be forever grateful to him for that.