I couldn’t, I just could not take my eyes off her picture; while the school orchestra
was playing I kept gazing at the photograph. It was as if we had made a date for
this hour of remembrance in the hall, meaning to say something we didn’t yet
know about each other. I had heard our orchestra rehearsing twice, the orchestra
and the choir, and now, in front of your picture, the Bach cantata unexpectedly
took a strong hold on me—that sense of abandonment, that desperate search,
the hope for an answer, for salvation, an appeal to the victorious power of the
Father and the Son. God’s time is the very best time, in the words of the cantata.
How your face suddenly shone, Stella, the face I’d kissed all over, on your
forehead,on your cheeks, on your mouth. Praise and glory unto the Lord, I call
upon Thy names, I am resigned, glory unto Thee. And then that Amen, taken up
like an echo by our orchestra, an echo dying away, growing quieter and quieter,
losing itself most wonderfully in a universe of consolation, the Actus Tragicus
overcome. I stared at your face, I had never before felt a loss so powerfully, which
was strange enough, because I had never before known what it was to have
possessed what was lost.