“Wow, did your pet goldfish die or something, Albert? You look terrible!” Johann shook his head in disapproval as his friend led him through the front door.
Despite himself, Albert had to smile at Johann’s cheerfulness. “Ah, I’m just stuck on a problem and don’t know how to get out of it.” Albert waved his arm as if to brush away his vexation. He was still hiding his mission and didn’t even want his good friend to know what he was pursuing. Albert ushered Johann into the parlor. “My mother thinks taking a break will help. We need to practice for the recital, anyway.”
Used to Albert’s moods, Johann nodded. “Okay, I can practice for an hour. My father needs me at the alehouse to help serve the evening meal.” He wiped his hands on his lederhosen and sat on the wooden piano bench, his legs stuffed under the piano, and shuffled the sheet music on the music stand. Albert had already memorized the piece, so he readied his violin as he stood next to Johann.
After fifteen minutes of stops and starts to refine their duet, the notes sparkled. The music’s sweetness began to seep into Albert’s troubled heart. He closed his eyes and, like fireworks, a burst of triangles within the notes flew in rhythm across his violin. His imagination blossomed and flowed with new ideas as Albert opened to new dimensions inside himself.
After another thirty minutes of playing, Albert had regained a sense of peace—as well as a new enthusiasm for his project. Albert began to fidget with his brow. He urged Johann to his feet and helped him on with his jacket. “It’s good, Johann, we’re ready for our recital,” Albert pronounced, propelling Johann to the door.
Attempting to straighten his jacket amid the hustle, Johann said, “Well, I guess we are ready.” Then Johann dug in his feet and turned to Albert, hiding a grin. “But are you sure you wouldn’t like to practice a few more times? I could stay a couple more minutes...”
“No, no, I am certain we are ready. Hurry up now, I don’t want you to be late for work,” Albert replied, almost slamming the door shut and utterly oblivious to the fact that Johann knew precisely what Albert was up to. On the porch, Johann smiled and shook his head as he turned to walk back to the alehouse. He had grown to love Albert and, truth be told, he was happy that his friend had regained his happiness.
With the breakthrough in awareness he had gained when he and Johann had been playing the Mozart piece, Albert became more confident as he worked over the next days. And with the confidence came serenity. The boy would awaken each morning with awareness of the music of the Pythagorean theorem dancing in his imagination. It was as if he was viewing the mathematics of it in its completeness from high above. And he knew he would find its temporarily elusive proof.
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