Magda was playing Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor in her school’s music room, her teacher; Mrs. Brown, sat to the side watching carefully and nodding as she touched a small golden cross necklace with her wrinkled fingertips. Magda had grown into a quiet thirteen-year-old. She tended to keep to herself and not draw attention her way unlike her siblings who, each in their own way, often caught the curious eyes of others.
There was nothing seemingly different about her from the next girl in her class. She straightened her hair every day and tied it back like Roxy had taught her, she was quiet and kind, and even though her name seemed strange on paper very few people questioned it because she never corrected them when they pronounced it wrong. Since she had lived her entire life in Ohio. She had no accent and her parents had never taught her any Romanian, though Dragos taught her a swear word every once and a while.
The only time people seemed to notice her was when she was meeting her siblings to go home for the day, and then, she was just Roxy’s little sister. Her left fingertips pressed on strings lightly while her right glided the white hairs of her bow across them with ease. She loved playing the violin, it was the only thing Magda knew she was good at. Whenever she played, she felt a sense of peace and calm wash over her like a wave. Her mind was elsewhere, and she was simply herself. Her finger flexed as she ended the song with a vibrato note, withdrawing her bow slowly and looking to Mrs. Brown as she moved her instrument from her chin.
“Beautiful, I can tell you’ve been practicing,” smiled Mrs. Brown, as she adjusted her glasses on the bridge of her nose, which hung around her neck by a string of fake pearls. Magda nodded and stood, beginning to pack up her things. “Next week, I’d love it if you'd select a piece to play.”
“I choose one?”
“Yep, anything you want. It can be Beyonce for all I care. I want you to take a break from all these concert pieces. You’re playing them perfectly right now but if you overdo it you’ll lose the emotion by your performance in two weeks.”
“I don’t know about that,” laughed Magda.
“How long have I been your teacher? Five years, Magda, five years. I know how you play; you play too much, you get bored,and then you get lazy, and lose your sound.”
“Ha fine, I’ll find something else for next week.”
Magda walked to the parking lot, passing by other kids. She didn’t have many friends, not because people didn’t like her but most just didn’t know her. She supposed she didn’t really give them a chance to, and maybe she should. She’d been with the same class of two hundred for most of her life, and out of those two hundred she had known twenty-two since kindergarten. She knew the reason she wasn’t bullied was because her siblings had been. Roxy especially, had taught Magda how to fit in: not pronouncing words like their parents, cutting her hair, straightening it, plucking her eyebrows, wearing the same clothes as other kids, and eating American food. Madga, all on her own, had discovered how to fade in: keeping quiet, not drawing attention, not attending sleepovers or parties, sticking to herself.
Her feet hit the pavement of the parking lot, a lot that was shared between the highschool and the middle school, where Roxy was leaning against her car and talking. It was a dusty looking red Honda accord from the 90s that Mihai had bought for a cheap price off one of his coworkers.
“No, he did not say that, come on!” said Roxy laughing. She had grown into a tall and skinny highschool senior. Her hair was shorter and layered with choppy highlights that made her hair appear light brown, or even, in certain lights, a little blonde. She wore a short denim skirt and bracelets that clinked together every time she moved her hands. Her nails were painted the same as all her friends’, alternating weekly between a chipped red polish and a nude pink color. Her face and neck were a little darker than the rest of her body because of her foundation, and she wore heavy eyeliner with a clumpy mascara and a lip gloss that smelled like cherry. She had stolen it from the local Target.
“Swear to Jesus, Roxy. His face got all red too, it was so funny!” said Mary Grace, who over the years had become Roxy’s best friend. There wasn’t much of a genuine friendship there at all, but they liked to gossip and do each other’s hair and make googly eyes at boys. Even though Mary Grace was kind of a spoiled bitch, Roxy liked being friends with her because all these years later she was still the most popular girl in school, which made Roxy one of the most popular girls in school.
Magda viewed their friendship more like a business deal than a relationship.
“Oh, you’re so mean,” said Roxy, shaking her head with a smile. Mary Grace just giggled.
“Hey,” said Magda, clinging to her backpack strap and standing straight.
“Maria,” said Roxy with a smile. Roxy liked to call Magda that in front of other people, especially people like Mary Grace. Since Magda didn’t correct people that said her name wrong, she didn’t correct Roxy. “How was your lesson?”
“Good, Mrs. Brown thinks I’ll do good at the concert.”
“Did you cut your hair, Maria? I can’t tell with it pulled back like that but it looks a little different,” asked Mary Grace.
“Oh, yea I-” said Magda.
“I convinced her to get some layers. Take your hair down, Maria, show her,” said Roxy, gesturing. Magda nodded and took out her hairband, her hair falling just past her shoulders as she gave an awkward smile and looked at the ground.
“That is too cute,” said Mary Grace, “You know what I think she’d look great with highlights like yours Roxy. Lighten up that dark color you know?”
“Believe me, that’s my next mission,” laughed Roxy.
“Where’s Dragos?” asked Magda.
“Running late, as usual,” said Roxy, picking at her nails.
“So, then I said, it’s okay you can’t compare yourself to me, it’s unfair.” Roxy and Mary Grace looked over, rolling their eyes, as Dragos approached with his friends. Jack, Tommy, and Cameron hadn’t changed much in all those years. Cameron had finally grown a little taller, but it didn’t matter because the other boys had grown too, so he was still shorter than the rest of them. The only thing that had really changed was that Cameron and Dragos were now friends, in fact they were best friends, and usually were cooking up some sort of scheme to the detriment of society. Some of their biggest hits included: the time they covered the principal’s entire office in sticky notes, covering their homeroom teacher’s car in plastic wrap, and breaking into school late at night to fill the hallways with hundreds of cups full of water. Magda thought they were menaces all on their own, and yet together they had a unique talent for not only getting into trouble but actively seeking it out. Their most recent interest was late night drag racing with Cameron’s jacked out 1998 Acura Integra that had an obnoxiously loud muffler.
“Ahhhh, that’s our boy!” said Jack, as he and Tommy pushed Dragos around, hyping him up. Dragos was just a little shorter than his older sister; a height difference he usually compensated for by fluffing up the front of his hair with gel, so he seemed an inch taller.
Now a sophomore in highschool, he walked with oversized knock-off Beats headphones around his neck and a backpack filled with nothing but loose papers and one broken pencil.
“He’s so lame,” said Roxy.
“I think that’s my cue to go love,” said Mary Grace.
“See you,” said Roxy. Mary Grace nodded and walked off, shooting one last distasteful glance at Dragos and his friends before she left. Dragos laughed as he walked up to the car.
“Hey big guy, why are you late again?” said Roxy.
“Woah, Dragos it’s your hot sister,” said Cameron, adjusting his sweatshirt. Tommy cheered a little in agreement, wiping some snot from his nose.
“Ew, don’t say that shit around me,” said Dragos.
“I have stuff to do, could you try to be on time for once in your life?” said Roxy. The guys laughed.
“I…whatever, don't tell me what to do bitch.” An oooo ran through the air. Avein started to pop out of Roxy’s forehead.
“Dumbass,” muttered Magda, shaking her head and opening the passenger side door to the car.
“The fuck did you just call me you little shit?!” said Roxy, grabbing her brother by the ear and pulling him down.
“Eh eh hold on-!”
“Shut up, get in the car asshole.” She dragged him off, he whimpered. His friends laughed and walked off. The car door shut, and Roxy put her key in the ignition starting it up.
Dragos rubbed his ear, “Why you have to do that huh? It’s embarrassing.”
“Don’t call me a bitch in front of people like that,” said Roxy.
“Fine, I’m sorry,” said Dragos, “I won’t do it again. Just don’t yell at me like that you’re gonna ruin my rep.”
“Fine, whatever,” said Roxy.
“Hey, Magda, why do you get shotgun?” said Dragos leaning up.
“Shut up Dragos,” said Roxy and Magda, to which Dragos held up his hands and sat back.
Magda closed the front door at the Adamescu residence, still the same little blue one floored house it had always been. But, now the flower beds at the front and back grew evenly and the lawn was mowed by the same middle aged man that mowed all of the lawns in their neighborhood to the exact same length.
“We’re home!” shouted Dragos. Magda rubbed her ear, irritated by the noise as she took off her shoes by the door, a pair of worn black converse a half size too big that were a hand-me-down from Roxy. They each walked into the kitchen setting down their lunch bags on the counter.
“How was your day?” asked Demetra, taking their bags and beginning to clean containers that had held sandwiches and carrots. There were no Romanian foods because, after many years of complaints, she had given up on packing lunches her children were bullied for. Demetra wore a flower print apron gifted to her by the women from her book club who affectionately referred to her as Demi. Her hair was short and dyed to a reddish-brown color that clashed a little with the still turquoise counter tops in the kitchen that, for years now, she had asked Mihai to paint brown.
“It was good mama, how was yours?” asked Dragos.
“So good, even better now that you are all home,” said Demetra, she smiled, kissing Dragos on the forehead. Magda rolled her eyes a little, Dragos was the favorite child and Madga figured a lot of that had to do with the fact that he was a boy because he wasn’t very good in school and got into trouble often. While this made Magda upset, because out of all of her siblings she was the best in her classes, extracurriculars, and had never gotten so much as a detention, she knew it made Roxy all the more upset.
Roxy worked the hardest for people’s approval and took care of them, something Demetra and Mihai expected but did not appreciate.
She looked over at her sister, who for a moment had a look of pure jealousy in her eyes, a look Magda sometimes felt directed at her as well. The next moment Roxy was leaning against the counter and pulling out her flip phone to text.
“Roxana, how about you?” asked Demetra.
“Fine, mama, and remember it’s Roxy,” she responded, gesturing in annoyance. Demetra threw her hands up innocently with a slight eye roll then looked at Roxy’s phone.
“We got you that phone to share with your brother, have you been taking it all day?”
“She has, mama, I haven’t gotten it at all,” said Dragos pouting. Roxy whacked him on the head lightly.
“Roxana-!” said Demetra.
“He’s a liar mama, anyways all he does is play games on it, it’s not like he’s texting any friends,” said Roxy.
“Ah she’s just saying that because she wants to keep texting her boyfri-” said Dragos, but Roxy whacked him again and again trying to shut him up as he kept sputtering.
“Stop it now!” said Demetra pulling Roxy off him. Roxy puffed some hair out of her face and shot a glare at her brother who grinned.
“Boyfriend? What is this? You’re hiding a boy from me?” said Demetra, folding her arms.
“No, no. Dragos is joking, right?” said Roxy. Her and Dragos looked at each other communicating through their eyes, in that way that only siblings and friends like siblings can do, to make a deal.
“Yes, mama, just a joke. A bad joke” said Dragos.
“Tsk, you need to be nicer to your brother Roxan- Roxy, you are his older sister you can’t be so mean,” said Demetra, going back to the sink to clean.
“Yes, mama,” said Roxy with a robotic tone as she handed Dragos the flip phone, who smiled as he took it from her hands. They all began to walk away.
“Ah, ah, wait,” said Demetra. They turned back slowly. “Remember tonight we skype your grandparents, they can’t call us on Easter because they are visiting with my brother and his family, so they won’t have time. I don’t want anyone on the phone when we call.”
“Yes mama,” said Dragos and Roxy, Magda just nodded.
“Alright, shoo shoo. Dinner will be ready soon when your father is back,” said Demetra waving them off.
Magda was trying to find a song to learn on the desktop computer that sat inside Mihai’s makeshift office. It was a cabinet built into the wall for towels that he had taken a shelf out of and put a spinning chair and his work things. She scrolled through lists of songs on Google with her hand on the mouse, and found her mind drifting to the impending call with her grandparents. Her grandparents only knew a few words of English; so, after her parents had discovered Skype and they would call on birthdays and holidays, Magda never understood what they were saying. It was always strange for her to sit and nod and smile unable to know what was said. In the same way it felt strange when teachers read her name in class or the few times when her mother made Romanian food because her dad had asked for it.
There was a sense of loss she felt, though she wasn’t sure if she could call it loss because it was something she had never had in the first place.
She knew was that something was missing from her life and she assumed it was gone for the same reasons that in photographs from Romania in their albums, Demetra and Mihai smiled while holding their children and the pictures of Magda as a baby showed the only the serious faces of her parents at her baptism. She wondered what kind of music they listened to back then, maybe she should play something like that. She clicked the iTunes app, and amongst a variety of ACDC and Beatles songs she found a few by a woman named Maria Tănase and a variety of other Romanian artist under a playlist entitled Doina.
Doinas are a traditional form of folk music in Romania. The themes of these songs usually surround topics of love, heartache, and belonging. To learn more and hear more examples of Doina music, check out these links:
link to Spotify playlist:
“Dinner!” shouted Demetra. Magda closed the tab slowly and got up, pushing her chair in and heading to the table where the rest of her family already was. She sat down and Demetra began to fill her plate with steak, potatoes, and green beans. Doina, Doina, Doina, what was a Doina?
“You all have good day?” asked Mihai. His hair had begun to go gray now and on top of it laid glasses which he refused to wear unless he was reading, even though the doctor insisted he needed them all the time. Her father’s hands were calloused and rough from gardening and attempts to fix the house for Demetra. His voice still bore a thick accent even after all these years. Mihai’s smile was smaller than it used to be, and the only time Magda saw it was when he spoke to his wife and his children. While once his eyes held a hopeful light in them, they now seemed dim with age.
“I played basketball with my friends after school,” said Dragos.
“Ah, you do well at the basketball?” asked Mihai.
“Yes, you know I do well,” flaunted Dragos.
Mihai smiled and cried out happily “Ah my son do well!”
“Yes, but how’d you do on that math quiz, Dragos? The one mama got you a tutor for?” asked Roxy with a smirk. Dragos faltered a little, coughing and clearing his throat.
“You did well on the quiz, yes?” asked Demetra.
“Ah well you see, lots of material that was on the quiz we actually didn’t cover in class. Everyone was upset about it, so I don’t know,” said Dragos shrugging.
“That seems unfair,” said Demetra.
“American schools mama, they aren’t like the ones that you and Tat-I mean you and dad went to,” said Dragos.
“Well maybe our boy is lucky,” said Mihai. Demetra and Dragos nodded, and Roxy snickered a little.
“Roxy don’t laugh at your brother, you need to encourage him,” said Demetra.
Roxy rolled her eyes a little, “Yes Mama.”
“Hey, do not give me attitude, I’ve had enough of it,” said Demetra.
“I’m not giving you attitude,” said Roxy.
“You know what, I am your mother. I provide for you, I take care of you, I cook your food. You do not give me attitude,” said Demetra.
“I’m not!” said Roxy, looking up.
“You are, you raise your voice!” said Demetra, now raising her own. Magda hated when they fought like this. She looked down in her seat, twiddling her thumbs. It seemed like every year that passed Roxy and Demetra fought more and more, the smallest thing would set them off. When she was younger Roxy would storm off to her room, but as she got older she would stay and fight, and everyone else would go quiet as the two screamed at each other during what was supposed to be a nice family meal. It always made Magda sad, she loved her mother and she loved her sister and she wished they could understand how much they loved each other.
Demetra wanted what was best for Roxana, Roxana just wanted to be Roxy.
“It’s you’re raising your voice,” corrected Roxy, glaring a little.
“So disrespectful!” said Demetra, “You know what-”
“Oh yes, here we go. Roxana, I give up so much for you to come to this country so you have better life and now you disrespect me?!” said Roxy.
“Exactly, exactly, Roxana. So, you will not be rude to me in my home, understand?!” said Demetra.
“It’s my home too!” said Roxy.
“My roof, my rules. You want to yell and be rude you go somewhere else!” said Demetra.
“Well maybe I should!” said Roxy.
“Women, women, enough!” said Mihai, raising his own voice. Everyone fell silent and looked over. His voice lowered but he spoke seriously, “No more arguing, you are family, you love each other, no fight.” Demetra shook her head and started to eat again.
“Yes dad,” said Roxy, sitting back in her chair. Magda looked at her sister’s face, tight and glaring but her eyes were sad. She wanted to comfort her, give her a hug, or tell her it was alright. Magda knew Roxy wouldn’t accept it and Demetra wouldn’t either.
Magda felt like there was this invisible wall between them, like mirrored glass in a police station. She could bang on it, yell and scream, but she’d never be able to see through.
On Skype with Demetra’s parents, Petre and Marta, spoke loudly with smiles, their voices sometimes sputtering out with poor connection. Magda sat, smiled, and nodded. Her shoulder on the left was next to Dragos, who spoke a little Romanian and smiled, and her shoulder on the right was next to Roxy, who sat with folded arms and could speak fluent Romanian but didn’t say much because of her mood. While Magda couldn’t understand what was being said, she gleaned that they were catching up on each other’s lives and talking about their plans for Easter, a holiday that she knew as very important back in Romania but that her family hadn’t properly celebrated in years.
Easter is one of the most important holidays in Romania. The holiday has a long history and many specific traditons for practices, foods, etc. To learn more check out these links:
Living in Ohio, they usually celebrated Easter with the rest of the neighborhood on the Christian calendar, eating pot roasts and chocolate eggs rather than lamb and Cozonac. She found herself wondering about Doina music, what did it mean? She wanted to ask but knew she shouldn’t. Whenever she asked about Romanian things Demetra said she’d talk about it later but never did and Mihai looked like something heavy had just weighed down on him. She’d try to find out more later that night when everyone went to sleep.
So, that was what she did. She waited until everyone was asleep in their rooms. She quietly crept back out to the computer, being careful not to squeak the floorboards as she walked. The bright blue light of the computer turned on and shone on her face, her eyes reflecting back the screen as she went back to her father’s playlist.
“Whacha doing?” said a voice.
Magda jumped back in surprise and turned to see Dragos’s face, putting a hand to her chest and relaxing, “Dragos you scared me.”
“You looking at Dad’s music?”
“Why are you up?”
“Going out to race with some friends.”
“Again? Is that really safe?”
“What’s a Doina?”
Magda looked back at the computer, “I’m not sure really, but dad has a lot of songs on this playlist, and I need to find a song for violin.”
“You’re gonna play a Romanian song?”
“I don’t know, maybe. I like this one, it’s called… Doina munţilor.”
“Cool,” said Dragos with a smile. Magda looked back at him. “I bet Dad would really like it, I’m not sure about Mom, Roxy will probably be mad but don’t worry about her.”
“So, you think I should?”
“Yea, you’re great at the violin Magda.”
Magda smiled, “Thanks Dragos.”
Dragos ruffled her hair a little, “Alright, I’m gonna go. See you in the morning.”
Magda nodded and Dragos opened the door quietly looking around before leaving. She heard the floorboards creak and turned off the computer immediately, sitting in the dark, and trying not to breathe loudly. She stared and saw Roxy walking down the hall. Roxy stopped and adjusted her lipstick, before looking around and going out the front door. Magda stared for a moment, then heard a sigh. She looked over to the kitchen, where the sound had come from, and saw her mother sitting down with a cup of tea. Had she been there the whole time? Why’d she let them leave?
“I know you’re there Magda, don’t lie to me like they do please,” said Demetra without looking over.
Magda stared for a moment then stood up from her chair walking over to her mother, “Sorry Mama.” She sat down next to her.
“Do you want some tea?” asked Demetra. Magda nodded and Demetra stood and started to make another cup. It was quiet for a moment; the only sound was the hot water flowing into its mug and the little splash of a mint tea bag.
“Honey?” asked Demetra.
“Mhm,” said Magda. Demetra stirred some in, the spoon clinking on the edges of the mug before she set it down on the countertop in front of Magda.
“Doina is a kind of Romanian music,” said Demetra.
Magda laughed a little and Demetra looked up, “Sorry mama it’s just the only Romanian song I know is the one you like from 2002.”
“Which one is that?”
“You know Ma-i-a hi, Ma-i-a hu, Ma-i-a ho,Ma-i-a ha-ha,” said Magda, mimicking the song.
Demetra smiled a little and did it with her daughter for a moment, “Ma-i-a hi, Ma-i-a hu, Ma-i-a ho,Ma-i-a ha-ha.” They both laughed. “No this isn’t like that,” said Demetra, “Doina is like a uh a folk music.”
“What’s it about?” asked Magda.
“It’s usually sad songs, sometimes uh ballads, about missing home, or belonging, or heartache. It’s the kind of music that pierces the heart,” said Demetra.
Magda stared for a moment then spoke, “Do you think I can play it on my violin?”
Demetra smiled faintly, putting a gentle hand to her daughter's cheek, “If that’s what you want Magdalena.” Magda smiled as her mother took her hand away, taking a sip of her tea.
Her smile faded a little, “If you were here, why’d you let Dragos and Roxy leave?”
Her mother sighed and set down her teacup, taking a moment of silence before she answered, “You know when we first came to the U.S we thought it was such a good idea. Well, your father did at least. We thought we’d come here, and we’d live the American Dream. Your father, he got a good job, and you were all going to school and learning English and you would have so many more opportunities than we had. And every day I wonder if we made the right decision, being in this place…it always feels so cold. And I know, I know, Dragos and Roxy have felt the same way, so when we fight, or they leave I try to put it behind me. They find their own way to exist here, they know better than me, especially Roxana, so I let them be. I know I’m not always a good mama, so I love, and I let go and I try to provide, that’s all I can do here. Maybe I would’ve been better back home, but I will never know.” Magda stared and stood up, slowly hugging her mother in their dark kitchen.
When she went to bed that night, she thought of the Doina munţilor. She thought of how she might play it on her violin, she wondered if her teacher would be impressed, if she’d be able to play it at the concert. She knew Roxy would probably be mad, but Dragos would cheer like it was a sporting event. She turned over looking at the ceiling of her room, the remnants of glow in the dark stars she had put up at eight years old that had never been fully removed glowing faintly. She wondered where her siblings might be that night, what they were doing at that moment. Roxy was probably with a boy, probably older than her, she’d sneak back in in the early morning. Dragos would do the same, and he’d have to shower because sometimes when he came back he smelled like gasoline from the cars. He’d tell her all about it while she stared at the Ferrari and Porsche posters on his walls. She’d look over to the cheap laptop he’d bought off of a friend from school which would have a page of rip off illegal parts on Craigslist that he was saving up for Cameron’s car. Her eyes slowly closed, and she drifted asleep, the tune of the music still playing in her head.
She went to bed and didn’t wake up when Roxy slipped back in at 3:00am. She only woke up at 6:00 when blue and red lights flickered through the blinds of her window.
She got up and went towards the front door where her parents and Roxy were talking to an officer. She could see Cameron sat in the backseat of a squad car through her window, staring straight forward with some soot on his face not saying a word. She couldn’t hear much of what they said, only a few words: accident, son, condolences. Then she saw her mother drop to the floor sobbing, while the early rain of a spring morning started to come down outside.
In the days that followed, the door to Dragos’s room would close. Magda would not hear a word from any of her family members. She would see plans for Dragos’s funeral, which would take place at a nondenominational church nearby and have only a small guest list. Roxy would not go to school, but Magda would and for the first-time people would be looking at her and her alone as they whispered, and she would hate it even more than she had imagined. She wasn’t sure why she wanted to go to school, but it felt like the only normal thing in her life at the time. She would pass by her brother’s locker and stare for a moment, waiting for him to open it and explain to her the next prank he and Cameron had planned.
She would expect his voice in places she’d never hear it again, and she’d wait to see him walk towards her in the parking lot. Life would resume, people would go about their lives, and Magda would search for Dragos even though she knew he wouldn’t be there.
The morning of the funeral she zipped up the back of the black dress she had borrowed from her mother. Magda had been asked to play a piece on her violin, but ,staring at her case, she wasn’t sure if she could. She wanted to play a Doina for Dragos, she wanted him to hear it if he could. She stared at her reflection, noting dark circles and frizzy hair, going to pick up her hairbrush. With it in her hand she stopped, staring into space, like a statue.
“We don’t have all day,” said Roxy, standing in the doorway with her arms crossed.
Roxy sighed and walked over picking up the hairbrush gently and beginning to fix her sister’s hair, “Sorry I said it like that.”
“No, it’s… it’s not, don’t say it is.”
“Heh, there you go again.”
“...are you okay?”
“No, are you?”
“Well, that’s expected I suppose.” Roxy placed down the brush and tied her sister’s hair back. She sighed, “I don’t really want to go.”
“I just don’t want to go, it’s too- too…”
“Real?” Magda looked in the mirror’s reflection at his sister’s eyes. Roxy’s gaze didn’t meet hers. Her hands paused before tying off her sister’s hair.
“Yeah, I think that’s it.” She looked at Magda in the mirror, “You look beautiful you know.”
“...thanks,” said Magda, softly.
“We should go, heh, don’t want to be late. Mom and Dad will bite my head off for both of us.”
Roxy walked towards the door. Magda looked back as Roxy’s heels clicked on the wood floors. She wanted to take her sister’s hand, unsure if it was to comfort Roxy or herself. But it was too late. Roxy was already gone, the door closing behind her. Magda stared for a moment, sat alone in her room. She looked at her violin case and reached out, grabbing the handle.