An Opus for Arnie Gold


Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about music by David Regenspan.

David Regenspan spent most of his adult life in Upstate New York, USA, and its landscape informs his stories. He is a retired rabbi with a now secular outlook, but Jewish people and themes tend to pop up in his fiction. He enjoys playing piano and serious music listening, being married to a brilliant scholar and poet, and being a father to two fine adults and well as a new grandfather.

David started writing poetry and stories at an early age, but did not become serious about it until he was in his thirties and forties. He learned a good deal about writing craft from the Bread Loaf and Colgate writers’ conferences. He has self-published a novel, has written an as yet unpublished novel, and has published short stories in Amarillo Bay,, The Jewish Literary Journal and Potato Soup Journal.

‘An Opus for Arnie Gold’ follows a man as he finds peace through music.



The blood pressure cuff gripped my upper arm so hard I nearly squealed. Then a macabre thought came over me. I imagined that my sainted father was reaching out from the grave and seizing my arm, as if to say: See, I was right. Life is one crisis after another.

The nurse taking my B.P., innocent of my dark thoughts, mercifully let the air out of the cuff. It sighed like an old man.

‘High this time, Arnie.’

‘Not surprised. I could feel the pounding in my head. Don’t even tell me the numbers.’

‘Okay, but Dr. Roth will be taking it again when she comes in.’

‘I’m sure Eileen will have a lot to say.’

Eileen Roth was my friend as well as my doctor, and I felt free to use her first name. She was my concert companion and, together, we saw most of the orchestras, soloists, choral and chamber music groups that passed through the town and the college. I was grateful for her company − neither my wife nor my daughter has much interest in classical music − and for the discussions we had after each performance. We had a rule on such occasions: never talk about medical matters. The most obvious reason for this was that Eileen wanted to be off duty. But perhaps, in the face of the perfection of a Mozart or a Beethoven or a Brahms, it was almost obscene to talk about the very imperfect art of medicine.

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