The Record Player
“Beethoven is glorious,” she said. “Hearing Beethoven fills my heart with such joy. Beethoven is rapturous. Nothing is more beautiful than Beethoven.”
“Do you ever turn on the radio to hear Beethoven?” I asked. “On the classical station?”
“Not really,” she realized.
“Have you considered it?”
“No,” she said.
I looked at her radio.
“But it still works?”
“It should,” she said.
“Why don’t you turn on the radio to hear Beethoven if you adore Beethoven that much?” I asked.
“It’s not the same hearing Beethoven on the radio as listening to it on record,” she said.
I looked around for her record player.
“Where’s your record player?” I asked.
“In the garage,” she said.
“You should get it out of the garage so you can play some Beethoven records,” I said. “Since it fills your heart with so much joy.”
“Maybe I will,” she said.
Months later I returned. I snooped around for the record player. It was still absent. I asked about it. She said it was still out in the garage.
“Why haven’t you gotten it out?”
“Why don’t you retrieve it for me?” she asked.
“You should want to do it for yourself,” I said. “Since you’re the one who adores Beethoven. Since you’re the once that receives such joy from Beethoven.”
“Please. It’s not too much to ask,” she said. “Won’t you fetch it from the garage for me? Along with the box of records? It would be a lovely gesture.”
I complied, though there was no reason she couldn’t and shouldn’t have done it herself.
I brought the record player and box of records inside. I wiped the dust off the record player. I plugged it in. I picked Beethoven’s 5th Symphony from the box of records. I blew the dust off the sleeve. I pulled the record out and placed it on the turntable. I switched on the power. The record turned. I set the needle on it. Beethoven played.
“Lovely,” she said. “So beautiful. Thank you.”
“You remember how the record player works?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“You’re sure?” I asked. “I can show you. Or leave instructions.”
“I’m sure,” she said.
“Then I’ll leave you to Beethoven,” I said.
I returned again some months later. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony was still on the turntable.
I asked if she’d been playing it or anything else.
She said, “No.”
I asked, “Why not?”
“I’ve been waiting for you to return to play it for me,” she said. “Just like before. It was such a lovely gesture.”
Then I realized, as I’d already suspected, I should have left the records and player out in the garage to collect more dust.