Music When Soft Voices Die

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I’m twirling by myself in the centre of a large white room. Once in a while someone comes into focus. Then it’s all a blur. Dancing. Strobe lights. A strange and beautiful music.

Everyone twirls.

Then Tristan is beside me. I am stunned by his radiance. Was he always this beautiful? He smiles into my face. “Everyone is beautiful at the ballet. And hearts take wing…”

He looks deep into my eyes: “You’re OK now sweetie. You always were.”

I raise my glass and toast to cheap wine and prawn cocktails and cold winds and waves thundering on the shore at midnight and shared confidences and the warm arms of a friend.

And love. Always love.

He dances away and I watch him go without longing, without regret, without the need to hold him back. After all, the ones you love remain with you.

Always.

And the Lady comes into view. “Darling, there are poems in the folds of my skirts, stories in my hair.” I reach out to touch her and butterflies rise from her skin and settle on my heart.

Sweetly, like a smile.

Gently, like sleep.

“Even as the eyes are closing,” she croons. “Do it with a heart wide open.” I know I will write. The words are coursing through my veins. I let them course…

And she twirls away, stars gleaming in her backwash.

The light has turned pink. The air is perfumed. I take great gulps of it. It tastes like butter pecan with hot fudge. It tastes like midnight in Paris when Maya sat beside me under the cold sky and we shared a Coke, chicken sandwich and some fries.

And there he is. Maya. He takes my hand and twirls me around. Angels don’t need to talk. He smiles. An imprint of warmth. Then he is gone. I take a deep breath and wave.

The joy expands. The love deepens.

The light has turned golden. It spills on the floor, turns everyone luminous. My heart is going to jump out of my chest. But this time, I will not turn back. Or turn away. I am no longer afraid of this beauty. I open my arms to embrace it, bring it closer, hug it to my chest.

And then I see Kat. “The beauty is there if you look hard enough. We got fooled by the disguise.”

She smiles at me and I notice that her hair is shining. Then I realise it isn’t her hair. It’s her. She’s glowing. The words curl softly in her tresses. She has been kissed by the Lady. And we’re both awash in butterflies.

She winks: “It’s our little secret”. Hugs me and dances away.

The music changes. It’s Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. I think of Immortal Beloved and bless Nessa. And there she is in front of me. She looks like someone I’ve known for centuries. She feels like family. And she says:

My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine
softer than a sigh
My love is deeper than the deepest ocean
wider than the sky…

And then she’s gone but there is a peculiar warmth in the air. Her warmth. And more butterflies.

I’m in a garden. The grass makes spring’s freshest tints look like shadows. And there are flowers. More perfume. Sweetness. Light spilling from leaves. Bliss creeps in. And I wonder….

The trees here are old friends. I hug them and feel the sap rise in their steady hearts.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I love you.

Thank you.

Then I notice Mark sitting on the grass, strumming his guitar. I sit beside him and listen. I don’t recognise the song but it sounds like he pulled it from one of my deepest and most joyful memories. I don’t know it but I’ve loved it all my life. He takes his time imbuing every note with his own peculiar magic. Then he looks over to me, smiles and nods. I clap and bow my head in appreciation.

Thank you.

I love you.

And I walk away.

And my feet trip gaily of their own accord. I know not where they’re going to take me, but the journey has been joyful, the people beautiful and I am filled with wonder.

There is beauty in transience.

When we demand Eternity from Love, all we get is Disappointment. But maybe if we take the moment for what it has to offer and demand nothing else besides, we get Eternity.

I got Eternity.

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