Page 21 from the series Before the Pirates Came*
Harry drew close and reached over her shoulder. Miranda closed her eyes and waited for his kiss. How long had it been since she felt his lips against hers… She thought about those romantic mornings… how he kissed her goodbye while she lingered in bed a while longer. With her dockmates yelling and banging around at the crack of dawn, she felt homesick for her old life with Harry.
Instead of an embrace, Harry reached for a CD on the shelf behind her. Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in E min, Op. 95. Harry looked at the CD cover and noted that the Solti/Chicago Symphony recording was especially nice. When he pressed play, the dark, tentative phrasing that introduces the first movement swept through her soul and carried her back in time…
The Palace Theatre had been fully renovated, its domed ceiling painted in muted pastels and gold leaf, the unique chandelier sparkling. Harry prefered the intimacy of his box seats, but on that night he chose to sit among the concert goers in the loge… an opening night celebration, indeed! It was the last time they listened to Dvorak No. 9 together.
Miranda’s gown was stunning– a maze of black straps, by French designer Thierry Mugler. It was the same dress worn by Demi Moore in the movie Indecent Proposal. A gift from a handsome millionaire (played by Robert Redford), he adorned her like a princess, made her feel special, then offered her a generous exchange for her companionship. She said yes, and the aftermath left her bitter and broken. Something about that memory made Miranda feel ill at ease.
The “Adagio-Allegro Molto” begins with a pensive melody that belies the fury just ahead. Without warning, an intense dialogue erupts between the brass, string basses, and timpani, their dominant voices overpowering the gentler flute and oboe. The trombones boldly announce their presence; the French horns, fueled by their orchestral power and prestige carry on. They overestimate their importance, content to drown in their own noise. A long crescendo ensues, beckoning the flute to reply.
She must respond but she is timid. She plays a sweet silver song but doesn’t know her own potential. She is the voice of a girl who is unsure, naive and full of wonder. The clarinet joins her for support, but the trombones scold her, demanding that she submit at once! She feels helpless, the horns are angry! But when there is silence, she quietly, beautifully sings… her courage a foreshadowing of a melody to come…
The flute maintains her position. She is a sparrow in flight, unburdened and happy! Harry listens to the music, sips his coffee.
Then– dissonance in the French horns! Screaming, wailing like beasts! Their demands are cloaked in beautiful but misleading counter-melodies that would seduce the unwary listener. The flute waits. Her song is clear… a flourish, light and free. She can’t believe she is flying! The violins bring harmony and depth, the oboe adds his blessing. The brass chase her but she is already gone.
Miranda lowers her eyes, thinks about the black dress, remembers her view from the top of the world. She dries her tears and tells Harry she’s not coming home.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Dvorak Symphony No. 9, first movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OAXCy3YS54
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*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2011, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.