Short Story (06-05-2007) Soft asgrass by Tran Thuy Mai My guitar instructor Rudolph used to gaze vacantly out at my lawn, overrun with purple snapdragons, each time I played the guitar. His face would appear serious and tense with concentration. Rudolph had a reputation for being demanding. One lesson, when he found me sitting on a stool, Rudolph smiled at me under a chestnut-brown moustache and said in a haughty voice, “Algelique Stuttgart used to sit there.” I felt irrationally angry, disliking being compared to anyone, but I held my tongue. I had wanted to be his pupil for a long time. Algelique Stuttgart, his former student, was now a well-known guitarist who performed tours all over Europe. Her fame had solidified his glowing reputation, and many people wanted to come under his instruction. “There’s no chance he’ll take me,” I had said to myself. He told me to play a piece of music so he could assess my ability. “What piece do you want me to play, Sir?” I asked. “Whatever you like the best,” he replied, staring at the green lawn outside the window. I played a Carulli piece in E major, a piece I had practised endlessly…
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