Please note: The main story of Sid and Tylyn begins in Chapter 2. This prologue is the start of four intertwining stories which I have included here as an introduction to the main characters.
The rain was driven against the window in blasts. Slaps of water and wind hitting in a rhythm which made me think of Thor, Odin or Loki. Here I am sitting in the waiting room of a sports psychologist in Denmark who wants to pick my brains while I am here wanting to 'see' if what I have heard through our many phone conversations is real. The gods are playing with us. Puppets and a puppetmaster. The grey scene outside could be a cloud bursting with energy for this scene except for the brightly painted buildings which add some distraction to my eye.
"Miss Kassiopeia von Karajan, to see you sir" the receptionist ushered me into the office. It was kind of as I had imagined it would be. A room with a window, many stacks of books and papers, a laptop on the desk, an empty cup of something, a pair of chairs in one corner which faced the window. Like a god looking down on the world that he had created. I had actually thought about the 14 floors which the elevator had ascended to get here but looking out over the harbor below now.
" February in Copenhagen can be stormy Kassiopeia. Sorry, Peeka." Ture Mikkelsen was as his name and voice suggested. Thor incarnate. A tall man. Yes, broad shouldered but not thick in his stature. Face weathered. Older than I had thought maybe mid thirties. Blondish long hair hung limp around his face. Needs a hair trim rather than a cut. No one looking after him.
" I love weather. It gives one scope to feel." I smile at him and extend my hand. " My pleasure to meet you at long last, Dr Mikkelsen."
"Really the pleasure is mine that you came here at this time of year. Can I offer you a refreshment? Tea? Kaffe?" His voice is deep. A baritone rather than a basso I suspect. Hmmm.
"Herb tea if you have any would be lovely. I have time in my schedule to sing an afternoon of Mozart at the national theatre and tomorrow the university a master class in vocalization of jazz riffs. I like to fit a bit of distraction from the performances. Sopranos are notorious for being high maintenance and I need to burn of some steam."
" Please sit. Our conversations up to now on the techniques of inspiration to high performance athletes have been very interesting to me. I know that you maintain your cox position with the rowing team by finding individual and group visualizations to help push your teams to seemingly breaking limits. The crew in your boats listen to you, follow your commands and believe in you. It is remarkable.
Every time a record is set your crew comes up with another big push and down it goes. What goes on it that boat? Why do they trust you? " He picks a pen fiddles with it.
"That's the question of the day isn't. I get them to believe in themselves. My father is, as you know is a conductor, a director of music. He has taught me from a young age that to be successful I needed to orchestrate the world around me. To take my advantages yes but to take my disadvantages make them my successes. That's what I do in the boat. I find the weakness and turn it into a positive. Fix the problem or change from a problem to an advantage. Look at me. I am 5'2", thin to the point of skinny; I have inherited a voice and a musical intuition which have made me.
What the next diva? But that's not what I want to do. I love to direct. I love to orchestrate. People don't want to see me as my father. They want to see my mother with her pure mesmerizing voice. It is in the boat where I have built my world where people don't see the package of my parents love story and ultimate operatic demise but rather the things I can control. Stroke, pace, angles, timing and heart. It comes down to heart." I don't liking talking about my family but this warrants genuine feeling. My family is a tabloid fodder.
'So like a conductor you play the crew members like a cast of an opera?' Ture is listening to me and hearing what I have to say. Good man. He can think."
"Yes, like an orchestra every man in the boat has a job. The lead sets the pace I give him like the bass line in the music. " I like Ture. He has serious potential. He understands music and that is good.
'How do you get the crew to follow you?" Ture intently watches me play with the cup in my hand as if I were to pick up a baton.
"Timing. "I say looking out to the storm outside again." Like all good stories, time and place is important to set the scene. You have to play god by listening to their prayers and answering them. I usually always get what I want when I set the scene. People, no matter who they are given choices, follow mantra and then look for guidance from something. A learned behavior, a peers, a mentor ….a god." I hope that I haven't gone to far with that last one but like the director I am describing I want him to become entangled in my web. I want him to seek knowledge.
"How do you do this?" He is puzzled. It reads across his face like page out of a script. His hair follows forward, he pushes it back with an impatient thrust and looks at me expectantly.
" Hmmm the best way to do this is to show you….what are you doing this summer?" I ask not so innocently.
" I have athletes at the Olympics in London then back to teach here at the University in the fall. Why what are you suggesting?" His hands are callused. HIS Hands Are Callused.
" You row much?" I ask looking pointedly at his hands.
"Ja, a couple of times per week. Stress relieving for exercise. You know once rowing is in your blood." He shrugs those wide shoulders.
I smile at him. Caught hook, line and sinker.
"When you are in London, we will get together and you can watch me put together a play."
The sun is shining so sitting out side is a amazing considering that this is England. I have to get my stuff together. Harry is out. Thank God. David is coming over in a snit. Not great but coming over. And Ture is coming to visit this afternoon. Yes. The stage is going to be set.
Before I get to far a head of myself I check a few details. Post Olympics Harry and I will head to Canada for our August vacation. As per usual we(read that as I) invite a few friends. This year is my season of love. Don't tell the participants they aren't to know…yet.
David my long time accompanist and friend needs to be wed off. Okay maybe not wed off but rather in a long term relationship. He always is a love em and mope over em for weeks kind of guy. But this time I have found him exactly what he has asked for. Hah! I want him to be happy. I love him so much I need him to be happy. David of course doesn't usually fall for my tricks which is why this is soooo prefect. He thinks that I am setting up everyone else for ""Dr Mikkelsen" to observe which is the Truth. Yes score the truth. Now if David and Ture hit it off, as I am sure they will by being accomplices in deceptions or rather ministrations then okay. A shared adventure. I smile. This is working out great!
The sound of footsteps on the gravel outside alerts me to vistors. I don't need sharp hearing 'cause Harry's pack of mutts sound the alarm. No wait the tenor of the barking changes to yips of delight. David.
"Get off me you hairy mutts." groans David as he pushes through the pack and flops onto the settee beside me." Lovely so see you but really I have been fight crowds in ER , throngs on the byways and now your filthy dogs." He is an ER pediatrician practicing at one of the London area hospitals and we have known each other since I started at Brentwood College. I needed a practice accompanist and he needed well work. Things got complicated when he went into medicine but our friendship was cemented in the early years.
"What are you trying to pull off now? Whose lives are you meddling in? Which damaged soul are you saving? " He narrowed his eyes at me. Balding but with a sweet face, trying to look disgusted with me.
Truth time again.
"Many people really my biggest attempt yet. Let me set the stage for you." I push him backward and pour him a Pim's.
David looks at the Pim's in his hand and says "Going to take this long?"
"Yep " I say smiling "just relax a moment until my other guest arrives".
"Who would that be? Peeka what are you up to?" David is now looking serious.
"Remember the guy the sports psychologist who has been interviewing me. The guy from Denmark? " David nods but studies me. Now for the Oscar winning performance. "Him" I go for innocence.
The pack of dogs save me by thundering down the hall. Barking . Yes well timed.
Now there are three of us sitting in on the porch sipping Pim's. David looking between Ture and me. Of course I did the round of introductions. Doctor to Doctor. Shaking of hands. Now down to the business at hand.
"David, Ture is studying the motivation of high performance athletes. We talked about this remember? " David nods and smiles. "He wants to see the process at work."
'Motivation of a high performance athlete?" David looks incredulous.
My turn to smile.
"Ja, Peeka has liken the process to an opera or a play? I want to see for my self how this works." Ture is looking between David and I. I think he knows David is uncomfortable. Breathe
"This is my plan. Tonight Ture, I will introduce you to three friends. Tylyn, Kendra and Lauren they all play for Canada's field hockey team who just one won gold. They are going to be the basis for our plot. I have been cast in a part of Game of Thrones being filmed in Canada. The director has asked me to coach a couple of guys on their characters. This will work out well. They fit into my plan. " I pause for a sip.
David is so damn quick…"Couple of guys? I know you like balance in all things Peeka so far three girls and a couple of guys. How many guys? Two or three? "
"Two from the show. The third guy, David, I do love balance, is doing a charity thing for me." The men are both looking at me.
"Again how does this work?" Ture asks shaking his head.
"The trick is finding out what everyone wants or needs and then answering their prayers. Kit and Richard are playing young lordlings in this new tv series. They need to act like they have been born to privilege. Harry being Prince Harry will help them.
Kendra is heading off to Scotland for university and wants to have a connection there. Richard Madden is Scottish. She can pick his brain on all Scottish things and maybe a connection. Kit Harrington is sweet and really needs to loosen up to perform his love scenes."
"Ah Hah. Lauren Kelham will do that. Poor guy. Lucky guy she is sexually aggressive." David has cottoned on to my plan. "So Tylyn, what for wee Frodo?"
" What does Tylyn wants? I asked her this before the games started. I asked if they won gold what reward would she like. " I paused. " She wanted life experience. She wanted to be kissed by a boy. You know how sheltered she has been. So I thought why not make it very hockey girls' dream boy." I was cut off by David.
"Not fuck yeah Crosby" He laughed. "I should have guessed with her work ethic, her focus her and sheer determination. But wait you said the last guy was doing charity work. Sidney Crosby is coming to Madrona to do charity work. I am not buying it"
"Not charity work but remember the album we started with famous athletes singing to raise money for under privleged kids for sports equipment?" I winced as I said it.
"How can I forget Steve Nash doing a rap tune about ...what was it. Fishing for hoops? Jesus, Peeka you could talk a sailor into sailing a ship in the desert" David looked at me in disbelief. "Or Clara Hughes singing a lullaby about trains. What does Crosby want? "
"Well, the couple of conversations I have had with him haven't made it to clear. But looking at his life, I think watching three of his team mates marry this summer and a fourth becoming a dad. I think he wants love. So believe it or not in a couple of weeks Sidney Crosby will be at your piano learning to sing about love." I looked at both guys. Ture looked stunned. David looked stunned.
Hook, line and sinker.