The bomb explosion at a Greenwich Village Townhouse left Paul Goldman frightened and distraught and he visits his seventy-year- old grandmother, Natalya Rhinerling, seeking consolation. She feeds him dinner, and after eating, he confesses his unlawful involvement with a violent wing of the antiwar movement. Natalya was aware of his political activism and the alienation of his father, but the things he revealed tonight were extremely disturbing.
When they finished eating, they moved to the living room where Paul sat in his favorite chair. “I feel relaxed whenever I’m in this room, Grandma. It brings back pleasant memories of Grandpa Rhinerling. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone three years. I miss him.”
“No one misses him more than I do,” she sighed, “and my heart is still broken. Now I am worried about you, my dear Paul, -and so are your parents. I decided that now is the time to reveal the shocking secrets your Grandfather and I had kept hidden for over 20 years.”
In the past, Natalya had avoided his probing questions, preferring to discuss her music career or tell stories about her childhood -how she hunted butterflies and rode horses on herfamily’s country estate in Russia. “What kind of secrets could she be referring to?” Paul wondered.
Natalya opened a small, mahogany liquor cabinet that sat in a corner of the living room. She removed a bottle of Courvoisier and filled two pony glasses. “To prepare the senses for what is to come,” she toasted, touching her glass to his. With that bit of theatrics, the talented violinist began the astonishing saga of her life.