Cora Sturgis was a musician. She'd been that as long as she could remember. It was, for her, piano at 3 and then lessons following quickly after. She loved play with the piano at first and then simply doing her lessons and playing the music that was involved with the lessons.
She developed a new musical love, when she reached junior high school. She was introduced to the violin. Her parents, always eager to encourage Cora's interest, bought her a basic violin model and she used it for years to come, only buying herself a first class violin, when she was older and working herself.
But in junior high school, once she'd begun her love affair with the violin, Cora was at an assembly and a man called 'the Fiddleman' gave them all a presentation.
He was dazzling. His name was Simon Neale and he played all different kinds of music on his violin that day. He called it, for some of the presentation, 'a fiddle' and played some blue grass. Cora liked that, the bounciness of it.
Then he changed styles and played some show tunes. Cora was entranced with that also. But she was hardly ready for his ascent into the classical repertory of violin music. Cora was dazzled. She hardly knew, up until then, that such music was real and available.
She began, at that point, a life time love affair with classical music, especially music for the violin.
On that occasion, at the junior high school, Simon joined the junior high school orchestra and gave pointers especially to the violin players.
Cora was really excited and struck up a friendship with the great violinist.
Simon, in those days, was a very busy musician but he did take Cora on as a student. Her parents had only limited means but Cora took an after school job to raise money for her lessons and studied with Simon for a year. It improved her technique and made her quite a good violinist.
As time went on, Simon moved around a great deal and there was no lingering relationship between the two of them but Cora kept tabs on his press releases.
It was only after a great deal of time that Simon seemed to fall out of view and she found no more notices about concerts and presentations by Simon.
Cora was, by then, doing her own advanced education and in the process of becoming a music teacher herself.
It can also be said that Cora Sturgis was a very practical woman. She was clear eyed and didn't tend to kid herself. She knew, almost from the start, that her violin talent was only a mediocre one. She was fine for the local orchestra, with whom she played but she wasn't a virtuoso. She came to grips with that and was fine with it.
In the ensuing years, Cora married and then divorced, as the relationship stalled, got stale and her husband, in mind at least, just kind of wandered off. She took her own name, Sturgis, again and dropped the married name. It had been one of the things that she and best friend Beth Sweeney talked about. It seemed to have the advantage of getting Cora back on track to live her life. It helped. So, then she was Cora Sturgis again, and found that she liked it.
With the constant help of her great friend, Beth, Cora took up her own life style, after the divorce and went on from there.
She and Beth shared an apartment for a number of years, until Beth herself got married, with Cora standing up for her.
Then Cora, job in hand, went on and got her own apartment, and after a bit, her own house. She adopted two kittens from the shelter, naming them Cello and Viola, and began to live a life that was good and full for herself.
She always had her music. She made sure that she had a first class stereo and enjoyed streaming music via the internet. She was constantly busy with her teaching and it was a joy in her life to encounter young musicians such as she had been, when she took lessons from the great Simon Neale.
She would certainly periodically comb the news to see if she could find any notices about Simon but there didn't seem to be any to be had anywhere.
The time of the year was approaching summer. It was getting hot and soon it would be time to turn on the house a/c. Cora was looking forward to her summer. It meant that the orchestra, that she was a member of, would be doing some performing locally. She liked that. She liked the other orchestra members and it was a treat for her to add her own playing to the orchestra's.
Cora, at that point in her life, was 28 years old. She was approaching that stage of beauty in a woman's life that began in the flowering of their late 20's and continued at least until the shades of her 60's were hard upon her. Cora was a beauty. She had sandy blonde hair, and was lithe like a dancer. She had a beautiful physique, well rounded butt and breasts that were not huge but pleasingly large.
It was also true that, following the disaster of her marriage, occurring when she was only 18 years old, Cora had been officially, as she told Beth time and again, 'off men'.
"I don't want to get involved!" Cora said.
"Yes, honey," Beth reasoned, when the two of them were alone, "But you need to get laid!"
That sent the two of them into a spate of giggles and ended with Cora asserting that 'I don't really need to get 'laid' as you so delicately put it."
"Yes," Beth said, "But if I can only judge by my honey, Raymond, getting laid is one of life's great adventures."
Cora joined Beth in another laugh and then said, wistfully: "Well, it wasn't that way with Andy. It just wasn't and doesn't seem to be worth all the fuss."
Beth, a very demonstrative person, simply hugged Cora at that point and said: "Oh, my poor baby!"
"Yes," Cora answered, once the embrace was over, "But I have my music and both Cello and Viola and my home and my life is very fine."
"Well, honey," Beth followed with, "I hope that you at least play with yourself."
"Not going to give you that information, Ms Nosy!" Cora said, grinning.
"Then I'm coming over one night and I'm gonna play with Ms Prissy Cora Sturgis myself!" Beth said with a laugh.
"I'll file that one away!" Cora said, kissing Beth on the cheek.
It was a conversation that they had time after time and always ended in the same way.
Cora took the same route to school everyday. She realized that she could almost drive it automatically. She went onto the James Street bypass and went up to school off of that road.
One of the things that bothered her, while driving that road was the appearance at times, but lately more often, of a ragged and dirty man who stood and begged at the light that led to the James Street on ramp.
It always made Cora shake her head in wonder that someone would let themselves get into that kind of shape. She said as much out loud to herself any number of time, as she passed that light and saw the man, matted hair, long, long unkempt beard, bleary eyes and ragged, dirty clothes, up close.
She even mentioned it to Beth, when they were having tea one day.
Beth simply looked at Cora and said softly: "You mean, you don't know?"
"Don't know what?" Cora said. This was the first time that she'd mentioned that individual to Beth. They hadn't talked about it before.
"Who that is?" Beth said.
"Of course I don't!" Cora said. "Who is it?"
"That's Simon Neale!" Beth said.
Cora was simply struck dumb.
"Beth Sweeney, are you putting me on?" Cora said, trying to contain her surprise.
"No, I mean it," Beth said. "It's Simon Neale. I thought that you knew that and simply wasn't interested, you know."
Cora was shocked and let the subject drop but it was on her mind, indelibly impressed and it rattled around her mind all the rest of the day.
She ruminated about it the next morning, over a cup of coffee. She even talked to Viola about it, who was sitting on the other breakfast table chair and staring at Cora.
(Viola was always there to share cream cheese with Cora at breakfast time. It was almost a ritual with the two of them. Cello wasn't a cream cheese fiend, like her sister Viola!)
"What should I do, Vi?" Cora asked.
Viola made a cat noise and Cora said, "Yes, I've been thinking that too. I just don't know."
Her thoughts, however, pushed her mind back to those days of learning the violin and how great it was. She remembered, as she sat there, the way that Simon Neale played, and then shared his talent with them, especially with her. It sat in her mind and kind of dominated her thinking.
She decided that she'd at least drive out to the James intersection and see if it really, really was Simon Neale.
He was there, as she approached. She looked around and no one else was there at all. She was pleased, and this time she kicked herself for ever not realizing that it was indeed Simon Neale.
Cora Sturgis made a significant decision, as she approached the light at the James Street Bypass ramp. She got to the intersection and stopped the car. Then she opened her window and looked up at him.
The man had a blank look on his face and was wondering what this woman wanted.
"Simon," she said, and then he stared at her even harder. "It's me, Cora Sturgis."
What she said next was, in its effect, earth shaking: "Get in the car, Simon."
She realized right away that he smelled terrible. She didn't try to hide her disgust, and with a 'Whew!' opened the windows.
.... There is more of this story ...