“Sebastian, do you have all you need? The carriage will be here shortly. Make haste!”
Barbara is flustered and impatient, but it is an impatience enveloped by adoration. Bach sits at the table, his steaming cup of coffee resting next to his Bible. “Patience is a virtue, my love,” he intones with a smile. He is a little unshaven, and tiredness is written on his face but his eyes are brimming with happiness. He turns to regard the run rising through the window, its golden rays descending from the purple and red sky. Birds chirp in trees nearby, and the flower-garden hums with the buzz of bees. It is a lovely morning to be to be in love, Bach thinks to himself, sipping the steaming brew.
“Patience may be a virtue but sloth is a slight,” Barbara responds, standing in his field of view and placing a kiss on his brow. “How I will miss you,” she says softly. Bach places his hand over hers. “And I you,” he responds, brushing a lock of hair from her face. The voices of their children outside are heard. What better thing is there than the playful joy of children?
Sebastian sips some more coffee. “The carriage will be here within an hour,” he says. “If there is sloth, it may be with he who has yet to arrive. An hour is plenty of time! Perhaps I may find inspiration for completing a new partita,” he continues. Walking to a different room, he grips his elbows. “My joints!” he complains. “I feel like an old man,” he laments but Barbara laughs. “Neither of us are as young as when we were married,” she says with a laugh. “But you make me feel as young as the day in the organ loft,” she reminisces wistfully.
“A rascal then and a rascal now!” He kisses her forehead, and picks up his violin which is resting on a nearby desk. “My sadness and displeasure when I received summons from the Prince to accompany him on his journey,” he says softly. After tuning the instrument for a moment and adjusting his strings, he begins to play. The music is tender, soft, but full of grief; his skilled hands grace the strings. After the music is complete, he stands and contemplates the morning sun, the voices of their children, and upcoming journey.
“Lovely, yet sad,” Barbara says after a minute or two. She watches her husband who had once transfixed her with his skill at the organ. While he is a virtuoso of the keyed instrument, it is with the strings that his inner self seems more revealed. “Indeed,” Sebastian agrees. “A faster movement has been completed but I have yet to fully have it in my fingers.”
He contemplates for a few more minutes, and where he has gone in his mind no one can reach him. What does he think of? she wonders. Music? Or an anxiety about the trip? As much as Bach loved traveling, sometimes he could withdraw before departure. She leaves him by the window and busies herself with clearing the table, lighting a candle or two, and tidying the flowers within the kitchen.
Soon enough the neighing of a horse is heard, and the sound of laughing children is turned to curiosity. She looks out the window to the front yard and beholds her children cautiously approaching the giant, brown, maned creature, its tail flicking back and forth. “It likes carrots!” the driver of the carriage says to the children, who pat the face of the horse lightly.
“Sebastian, he is here!” she calls into the other room. Previously where the sound of violin music has been heard, his steps resound. “Ah, so soon?” he complains with a smile on his face. “I have thought of another movement to my partita!” he exclaims. “Well, it is not complete…but to conclude with a simple gigue…there must be more I can think of!”
“Sebastian, you put too much pressure on yourself,” she chides him, cupping his face in her hands. “Inspiration for completing your new partita will be found in one way or another,” she continues. “Have a leisurely time at the spa in Carslbad, not a troubling one.” He contemplates these words for a minute or two before kissing her cheek. His rucksack is over his shoulder and his wig is falling off his head. “My only trouble is to be away from you and the children,” he replies, glancing at the floor. She murmurs something beneath her breath. “I must be off,” he says, and tenderly kisses her on the lips.
“I await your return,” she says while looking into his eyes. “As do I,” he responds. “My least favorite thing about travel is the wait to get to your destination! Why must walking or riding take so long?” he shakes his head, a glint in his eyes.
“Patience is a virtue,” she reminds with a smile, and kisses his cheek once more. He embraces her in a tight hug. “I must be off,” he repeats. “I love you.”
“And I you,” she replies softly, and then he is gone. Out the door, into the sunlight, where the morning fog kisses the grass. Their children gather around him, and he says goodbye to them all. “Goodbye, papa!” they all say gleefully. “Cause little trouble while I’m gone, eh?” he says with a smile. He waves goodbye to them, and goodbye to her through the window. “We must be off! Leopold will be anxious to leave,” he commands the driver, who ascends the carriage.
As Bach closes the door behind him, the driver lets out an exclamation and snaps the reigns. The horse coughs loudly but moves its hoofed feet, and then Bach is off and away. Return home safely, Barbara prays to herself. Return home and I will be here.