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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

A tiny snippet of literary fiction

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Cradled in the Bubble of a Recital.

by Susan Abraham

She seduced the keys of the baby grand like a woman possessed. Her back arched upwards in the direction of the ceiling; her face lay writhed in agony but powerful in her passions. As she raced with Rodney Bennet’s composition titled Excursions, I saw myself swinging down memory lane for the good times with the awe of a sudden gasp and I wept.

She dressed like a cabaret performer would; bearing the voluptuous layers of showy flesh on her tiny body with the tranquil air of the oddly cultured.

It is often hard not to notice the shy pearl of cream that defines complexion and reveals each talented fair-skinned performer as they swan in week after week, to hold a cello, to balance an ambitious violin or blow the trumpet.

I sit watching, mystified.

Today, I am late. I am cautioned at the doors with a shush signal and warned to tiptoe in with perfect silence. The pianist has just begun his second movement and I am advised to let “his fingers settle.”

Concentration becomes the mistress for the moment. I promise to add on dignified grace. The entire audience is held together in quiet rapture. Today, I have been excluded held outside the circumference of this elite bubble where backs are arched forwards; caught in stationery positions like a scene from sleeping beauty.

Could music command even the silence to stop breathing?

I become a reluctant observer, protectively shadowing the performer and his audience. I am the hesitant butterfly that is sad at not being able to spread its wings. I am the fly on the wall; producing a predictable scene. I am the audience watching two performances all at once.

Two ladies quickly get up to go. The daughter slips out with clumsy courage and the blonde mother follows, smilling apologetically. In the eyes of a discreet but disapproving audience, she has committed a grave sin.

I snatch the opportunity, I move forward now, some familiar faces greet me with a welcoming smile. I enter the bubble, taking my place as the new substitute audience with relief. I slide into one of the still warm seats, with the grace of one held spellbound by composition and composure.

I can now join the mute breathtaking scene with gusto. That providing I don't for a moment, brave a sneeze.

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