Indecent Proposal

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:  

*        *        * 

 *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.

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28 Responses to Indecent Proposal

  1. Linda, I have never heard music, or musical instruments, described so beautifully! And your narrative of the music was perfectly placed before the quiet, but strong, decision by Miranda to stand her ground and not give in to Harry. This was wonderful!

    I know I haven’t been commenting on this story much lately, but I’ve been reading. You are a superb storyteller.

    Hope all is well on the homefront. Debbie forwarded your prayer request and I’ve been praying. Peace and Merry Christmas, Linda

    • Linda says:

      I am overwhelmed by your very generous comment. Thank you.

      I’m writing way ahead of my posts, so I allowed time to listen to Dvorak No. 9 again and again. Anthropomorphising the instruments became so natural, I started to believe it myself! I was a music major my first two years of college and actually performed that piece, but I got hooked on the classics much earlier.

      Thank you for your prayers. The broken hip situation is a huge challenge. But looking back, I can see how God has equipped me for this task not just physically, but he prepared my heart, too. This morning, once I had my loved one showered and dressed for physical therapy, I gave him his cell phone, turned on the shower and the Brahms Cello Concertos with Yo-Yo Ma, and told him to call me only if he needed help. It was pure bliss! So grand to appreciate the small stuff. Hugs to you, Linda… and a blessed Christmas.

  2. Steve Jobs heard Yo-Yo Ma play his cello and said, “Your playing almost convinces me that there is a God.”

    Great music scene.

  3. Debbie says:

    Linda, the care and time you are taking with this is creating a work that is remarkable and unforgettable. As hooked as I am and attached to Miranda, I am equally thrilled for you and how it must feel to be writing like this!!!! :) God bless you and all the plans He has for you. love and prayers!

  4. Linda says:

    Thank you so much. This project has just turned out to be a very good fit for me right now. I love working on it so much. It must be the way dancers feel when they’re dancing.
    Hugs and Merry Christmas! : )

  5. Tod Hennen says:

    Linda, I haven’t commented lately, but I’ve read all of these. This one, with the music comparisons, is really good. Getting glimpses into a lonely and desperate heart, especially at this time of year, is very meaningful to me. Thank you so much for writing, and I hope your Christmas is real and memorable. Thank you for being my friend.

    • Linda says:

      Seriously Tod? I am so flattered. Any questions or for a behind the scenes look, message me any time. I decided I have quite an imagination… the same trait that got Miranda into so much trouble over the years! ; )

      Thank you for being my friend as well. Someday we’ll actually get to meet, whether by plan or serendipity. I hope your heart is less lonely in the new year. Sucks, I know… Hugs to you, Tod… : )

      • Tod Hennen says:

        Ooops! Sorry for the slight misunderstanding. I didn’t mean my heart was lonely – actually, far from it. In fact, I’m wrapped quite snugly in the love of my family :D

        What I meant was that it seems that Miranda’s heart was lonely and desperate at this point in the story, and it’s meaningful to me to get glimpses into that, um, hollow(?) time in her life. Such glimpses seem to take on a little extra meaning around Christmastime.

        Yes, meeting in reality will be a neat thing after years of electronic friendship. It’s something I look forward to but am not in a hurry for. I believe that meeting will be properly timed, but not necessarily planned.

        • Linda says:

          Yes, serendipity. Lots of good things happen that way!

          Y’know, Miranda never once thought that her heart was lonely and desperate. I think that’s how people go around living these wretched, crime filled, drug addicted, murdersome lives and think everything’s A-OK. What if you don’t know the difference? It sure felt normal to me…

          I’m happy all is well in your world. I’m so happy to have my family even with our current challenges because nobody can make me laugh like these guys. And even though it’s tougher now, we are having a ball. I know you get that. Life is good! :)

  6. Ferd says:

    I am stopping by simply to wish you and TC a very happy holiday season!
    I hope he is recovering well, and that you are holding up just as well.
    Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

    I don’t need mistletoe… XXOO!

    • Linda says:

      Hahaha… still enjoying the text! I hope you guys are doing well, too. OMGosh, what a big job this is! TC needs to be more careful because I don’t want to rehab a hip ever again. Maybe you agree.

      A belated Merry Christmas to you both. Things were a little slow around here, but I love the chance to be still and write. All day! If you don’t read at least one page of my story and comment my feelings will be very hurt. I recommend “Indecent Proposal” which was quite well reviewed. Only kidding, but still… : )

      Hugs to you both, and don’t shoot anything I wouldn’t. : )

  7. Theresa says:

    You really are a great storyteller! My heart went out to Miranda. Conflict is so hard…so agonizing. Then we have regrets and the heartaches that accompany them. I am so glad that the Lord works all things (even the heart wrenching things) for good.


    • Linda says:

      Agreed. But what I didn’t know at the time (what Miranda didn’t know at the time) was that God even cares about sinners and wants all of us to turn to Him. It’s like in the book of Esther. She and Mordacai were not exactly devout Jews or they would have gone back to their homeland with the others. Yet God used her to save a whole nation of His people. I love that story…

      I’m learning so much writing this. It’s tough to face your life sometimes, and for the first time I’m beginning to understand. Thanks for reading… I know you’re swamped (but in a good way!) Hugs to you… : )

  8. ann says:

    Thanks for sharing, Linda

    I have been reading from a distance and totally enjoying the pages, but this particular piece was so alive, it was as though I could hear the music in my head :-) Funny enough, I could almost see Miranda’s contribution on an equalizer… rising, then falling, then rising again, stronger and more defined. I agree, you are a great storyteller. I am so enjoying this and I am looking forward to what comes next.

    Hope you had a great Christmas. Wishing you God’s best for 2012.


    • Linda says:

      All the best to you, too, in the new year Ann. You know, I hadn’t even considered an imaginary view of an equalizer. I know what that is, but it’s a little ahead of my time. I picture a lady in a long black dress bobbing and weaving along with the music.

      Thank you for your kind words. A blog is a great place to learn to write, and I’m enjoying it 100%. Thanks for reading! Hugs… : )

  9. Jan says:

    Lovely music, and lovely description. You are such a good writer. Hope you and your loved one had as happy and wonderful a Christmas as we did. Love to you both.

    • Linda says:

      Thanks Jan… same to you. Actually, my husband fell and broke his hip two weeks ago so basically on Christmas day (and all the others) we just gutted it out… trying to follow all the surgeon’s rules, do some exercises, and just keep up. We had Lea Cuisine, but it was our favorite variety and I made a side of vegetables. Sucks, I know. But God willing, we’ll be back in the game next year! I’ve never really taken care of anyone before (Miranda either), so I’m learning alot. I’m so blessed he’s going to be okay. It’s all good! Hugs to you and the little chi-chi’s! : )

  10. Heaven says:

    What a creative way of weaving music into a lively play of emotions and images.

    Like this very much ~

    • Linda says:

      Thanks again… : ) That part of the story was too close for comfort. Brought back alot of memories and made me sad…

      Also, was my comment at your site accepted? I didn’t see it after I entered it. I used Name/URL. Any trouble with that? The poem was beyond words. You are wildly talented…

  11. Ferd says:

    Like others have mentioned, the way you tied your amazing musical description to the story is an exceptional bit of writing! Delicious! :-)

    It beautifully accentuates the importance and the power of Miranda’s decision. Wow!

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