In the quiet, secret night she was by herself again. It was not late—yellow squares of light 1)snowed in the windows of the houses along the streets. She walked slow, with her hands in her pockets and her head to one side. For a long time she walked without noticing the direction. Then the houses were far apart from each other and there were yards with big trees in them and black 2)shrubbery. She looked around and saw she was near this house where she had gone so many times in the summer. Her feet had just taken her here without her knowing. When she came to the house she waited to be sure no person could see. Then she went through the side yard.
The radio was on as usual. For a second she stood by the window and watched the people inside. The bald-headed man and the gray-haired lady were playing cards at a table. Mick sat on the ground. This was a very fine and secret place. Close around were thick 3)cedars so that she was completely hidden by herself. The radio was no good tonight—somebody sang popular songs that all ended in the same way. It was like she was empty. She reached in her pockets and felt around with her fingers. There were raisins and a string of beads—one cigarette with matches. She lighted the cigarette and put her arms around her knees. It was like she was so empty there wasn’t even a feeling or thought in her. One program came on after another, and all of them were 4)punk. She didn’t especially care. She smoked and picked a little bunch of grass blades. After a while a new announcer started talking. He mentioned 5)Beethoven. She had read in the library about that musician—his name was pronounced with an A and spelled with double E. He was a German fellow like 6)Mozart. When he was living he spoke in a foreign language and lived in a foreign place—like she wanted to do. The announcer said they were going to play his third symphony. She only halfway listened because she wanted to walk some more and she didn’t care much what they played. Then the music started. Mick raised her head and her fist went up to her throat.
How did it come? For a minute the opening balanced from one side to the other. Like a walk or march. Like God 7)strutting in the night. The outside of her was suddenly frozen and only that first part of the music was hot inside her heart. She could not even hear what sounded after, but she sat there waiting and froze, with her fists tight. After a while the music came again, harder and loud. It didn’t have anything to do with God. This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her—the real 8)plain her.
She could not listen good enough to hear it all. The music boiled inside her. Which? To hang on to certain wonderful parts and think them over so that later she would not forget—or should she let go and listen to each part that came without thinking or trying to remember?9)Golly! The whole world was this music and she could not listen hard enough. Then at last the opening music came again, with all the different instruments 10)bunched together for each note like a hard, tight fist that 11)socked at her heart. And the first part was over.