Passive Echoes

January through May, 1972

UNCSA provided Larry with a rich heritage and tradition to enable him to excel as a composer. Dr. Mennini and Dr. Ward were very nurturing and especially father-like in their dealing with  him. They both provided him with special attention and personal mentoring recognizing that he was a loner and preferred to live off campus that limited his interaction with fellow composition students.    

Despite their efforts, Larry's career as a classical composer was not a particularly promising one because he lacked the necessary commitment and sacrifice, despite having the knowledge and skills.

His fellow composition students were not endowed with more of the "gift' but far exceeded him in their devotion to their craft and work ethic. Larry devoted most of his time to Marcia, rehearsing, and performing with his band rather than honing his craft as a composer.

This too, Marcia put an end to in December, 1971. As stated in the previous chapter, she did not like the club atmosphere, flirtatious women, and his constant on-the-road gigs. It was also seriously interfering with his education. Thus, she gave him an ultimatum, "Me or the band."  

Still, Marcia encouraged and inspired him to remain focused and would often observe and monitor his class attendance. She accomplished this despite her extremely busy schedule during her countless rehearsals for the musical "The King and I".

She drove him to Dr. Ward's home where his composition classes were held and picked him up afterwards. This was done because he abhorred driving and would often be fatigued after all night composing sessions due to the spontaneous nature of his creative process (She still chauffeurs him around today). 


Within weeks, Larry opened the doors of his secret world to allow Marcia in. Even today, she is the only person that he permits to be present when he composes. During his UNCSA days, often while he composed Marcia would faithfully remain at his side until sleep would overshadow her.

Appreciating that one of his favorite composers was the Russian composer Tchaikovsky she also introduced him to the glorious splendor of Sergei Rachmaninoff's music such as his Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. Marcia exposed Larry to incredible beauty and the joys of love every moment they spent together and restored his smile.  

One evening several weeks after their reuniting in September while sitting by the fireplace, Marcia introduced Larry to Donny Hathaway's rendition of songwriter/pianist Leon Russell's "A Song For You". The song is about asking for forgiveness and understanding for past wrongs and neglect. This was most definitely déjà vu, reminding him of her private serenading sessions to him in 1968 on the picnic table near the boys dormitory at NCSA. 


 "Commencing when we were mere teenagers Marcia always enjoyed observing me composing and I loved to watch and listen to her sing and accompany herself on the piano. Throughout the years when I was ill, downhearted, or when sleep evaded my eyes, I would take the prescribed medication. But, I benefited most when Marcia would sing and play for me until I drifted off into a sweet sleep."

On this occasion, with eyes welling with tears, she beautifully sang along with this touching love song as it played in the background while looking deep into his eyes and gently stroking his face.

This was Marcia's way of expressing regret for giving up on their relationship when they first dated and the pain they both inflicted on each other during the previous year of miserable estrangement. It appropriately expressed what they felt about each other and themselves at this important time in their life together.  

Genuine love at times tends to be rather obsessive while rightly demanding complete devotion. Hence, his craft suffered because of love. On the other hand, Marcia thrived. Larry was extremely proud of her performing in her first major role in a production at UNCSA, despite her banning him from rehearsals due to his jealousy when she had to do the love scenes. Although the scenes were quite innocent, no actual kissing and such, it was difficult to control his emotions while observing another man caressing her, even if it was acting.  

Nevertheless, he was more excited and nervous than Marcia on opening night. And when she walked on stage to perform her duets and to speak her lines in the role of the exotic and pulchritudinous "Tuptim" he struggled to hold back the tears of excitement and pride in being the one that she loved and adored above all others.

Especially when she sang the lovely duet "I Have Dreamed", he discreetly wiped a tear from his eye in that he had often dreamed of them being together as they were now, in love and engaged to be married.  

The splendor of her singing reminded him of how he felt the first time he heard her sing as a 14 year-old girl at A&T University. Now as an 18 year-old young woman she was more beautiful, her voice maturer, refined, and exceedingly elegant, and his love for her unfathomable. The words of the song touched the core of his heart because they were the words that best described what they felt as a couple. He knew that she was looking into his eyes and singing only to him.   

The one exception where she began to slacken somewhat was perhaps her academics. The distractions of love did take a slight toll on her grades, from A's to B's, primarily because they were spending extensive time together to the neglect of her studies. Larry never studied and got by on sheer ability, that is, when he decided to attend classes.

Although he was no longer devoted to his craft, or to academics, he was devoted only to the love of his life. He was single-minded and determined to maintain her love this second time around and to live up to her expectations and vision of him. This was his new mission, to make her happy and to be the best husband that he could possibly be.  





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